Looking for a communication strategist? Here are the twin skill-sets you want to look for:
If you're looking to find someone to help you with nonprofit or advocacy communication, ideally you find someone with three skill sets: a knowledge to think strategically - either politically or organizationally, someone with a sense for research and data, and last you need someone with a grasp of all the things people expect communications consultants to have a handle on: Can you tell stories? Do you know how to engage the news media? What's your experience with social media?
But the entire enterprise of strategic communications is anchored in strategy - campaign strategy or strategic organizational goals.
Then come your communication tools: your stories, your framing, your dissemination strategies. Research is an often overlooked and potentially meaningful piece of the puzzle. What information could you quickly and easily get that would strengthen your case - whether it’s data about the conditions you're trying to change or the audience you're trying to persuade? It doesn’t have to be crazy-time-consuming or expensive.
In my consultation with young or grassroots nonprofits, I’ve begun to work with the worksheet attached here. It starts with your organizational goals. They can be one year, two year, three-year goals, but regardless of the timeline, that’s your starting place. From there, articulate strategies to help you reach those goals, and then and only then do you think about how communications could support your efforts.
Got thoughts about the worksheet? Let me know!