Editor's Note: The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy (IUPUI) and The Patterson Foundation are partnering on "The Future of the Philanthropic Sector," a special topics course for the school's students during the spring 2020 semester. The course has connected students to The Patterson Foundation's innovative approach to philanthropy and nonprofits in the Sarasota area engaged in the Foundation's initiatives through interactive online experiences.
On Monday, March 19, 2020, all 12 of the study away course members met with The Patterson Foundation and its communications team to have a communications workshop led by Sam Stern and Roxanne Joffe from MagnifyGood. They discussed strategic communications, defining it as "the purposeful use of communication by an organization to fulfill its mission."
We started our workshop by saying if we have been strategic communicators. I knew I had been at some point, but I was not sure when it would have been. Pamela Clark, director of Student Services and Admissions for IUPUI, said that she strategically communicates with current and potential students during recruitment and advising appointments at our school. I talk to current students a lot with my job in student services and also speak with prospective students when I give them a tour of the campus or work at career fairs that IUPUI admissions holds.
MagnifyGood said in this presentation that "social sector organizations assume everyone knows about them and their mission," which leads them to fail to make communication a true priority. Stern and Joffe then went over The Patterson Foundation's 2019 metrics on their social media. The foundation has a solid following, and is very active on its Twitter and Facebook accounts, while also publishing blog posts every week.
MagnifyGood also wanted to show us its communications plan for #GivingTuesday and how they hope that DeSoto, Sarasota, Manatee, and Charlotte Counties have a 100% response rate on the 2020 Census. The firm established calls to action, such as visit a nonprofit's website and make a donation, tell a friend, and complete the Census. They had to create a motivator to make individuals want to donate and take the Census. The motivator was based around knowing that their donations were going to make a difference in the four counties. A video was also shown to us on how we can establish our own motivators.
Then, MagnifyGood showed a video that talked about a person or an organization's "Why."
Why should people care?
Why should people donate?
Why is this important?
You have to find your why before people are going to care and understand what you are working toward. Then you have to decide how you are going to reach them. There are four different areas of media, and I learned that you want to be in the middle of each. The first one is earned media, second is paid media, third is owned media, and fourth is shared media. However, communication can happen everywhere, and it does not have to be paid for. Instead, it is all about mindset.
This was a really interesting presentation because I never thought of coming up with a "Why" statement. The "Why" can help me in anything I do and can relate to assignments, internships, and jobs.
Overall, this was an amazing presentation, and I am very thankful that MagnifyGood shared with us what communication is and how to communicate well. I will use the knowledge gained from this presentation on how to communicate effectively in my personal and work life for many years ahead.