When I joined Convio after 5 years as an event fundraiser, I was first introduced to the Communication Calendar while working with the Event360 and Komen 3-Day Events. It was amazing… and I wished that I’d known about this tool while I was still managing all the communications for my special events!
What’s a Communication Plan?
A Communication Plan is a document containing of all the communications organized by communication channel that your organization (or your fundraising event) is planning to send out during a specified timeframe. This document often lives in a spreadsheet and should be used as guide that is edited or updated as you approach specific milestones. My recommendation (especially for special event communication planning) is that you include all your communication channels in your plan including Print Communications like Save the Date cards or team captain packets, traditional media channels like print advertising or press releases, online channels like email or website and also Social Media channels like Facebook or Twitter.
Check out two sample communication plans in our recently published Social Media Kick Start Guide for P2P Events.
4 Reasons Why Communication Planning is AWESOME
- Right Message / Right Time – It ensures that you are communicating and reinforcing the most important messages at the most important times. Avoid the “How’s the weather?” Facebook post the week of your event and talk about things that are more important to your event’s overall success.
- Reinforce Important Points – It helps you identify areas where you could repurpose content across different communication channels. Marketers often say that a person needs to hear something 7 times before they act on that information. Repurposing content across different channels helps you reinforce the messages, providing message consistency and improving the chances your calls to action will be acted upon.
- Work Smarter – It helps you identify opportunities where you could draft communications early. Things get more hectic as Event Day approaches; these busy times are often when the most important communications should be going out to your participants. Do yourself a favor by drafting as many of these communications in advance as possible. You can always make quick last minute tweaks prior to sending. This is especially true for website updates, emails and blog posts. Social media management tools, like Hootsuite or TweetDeck, can help you schedule those updates in advance.
- What’s Going To Work? TEAM WORK! Recruit volunteers or committee members to help out. Having a clearly documented plan helps you better communicate your expectations and allows you to delegate responsibilities to the trustworthy staff or volunteers within your organization. Be conscious however of how many individuals are involved. It doesn’t take long before you have too many cooks in the kitchen.