Published in an edition of the Food and Society Update, the electronic newsletter for the Foundation’s Food and Society initiative, here are 10 reasons to have a communication plan.
Importance of Communication Plans
- To clarify your agency’s goals and objectives: Think of your plan as your roadmap; you know where you want to go, but you need a route to get there. The plan is your route.
- To clarify the relationships between audiences, messages, channels, activities, and materials: Going through the communications planning process will help you identify who you need to reach, tell them what you want them to know, and how you will reach them. You will find that each of your audiences has unique characteristics, needs, and motivations. Through planning, you will discover the most effective ways to communicate with them.
- To identify and implement a variety of communications activities: There are many different ways to spread your message. This will help you to settle on which activities you will engage in so that you aren’t continuously pulled in different directions.
- To clarify staff members’, stakeholders’ and others’ roles in the process: People need to know what they will be contributing to the organization and what they are responsible for. A plan will help manage people and their responsibilities.
- To develop creativity and camaraderie among your team: Involving many people in the planning process will bring in different perspectives and diversity of thought. Bring in staff, stakeholders, constituents, interns, and junior staff members.
- To help your staff members and stakeholders get on the “same page.”: A well-articulated plan will help people get on the same page and articulate a consistent message.
- To include stakeholder input in the communications process: These people are important to your organization, and this will show them how much you do value their input.
- To ensure that you’re reaching out to your stakeholders and constituencies effectively: This is an extension of the previous point: when you go through the process and identify strategies to reach stakeholders from the start, you will communicate with them more effectively. This will also create a scenario in which they’re willing to give you honest feedback so that you can adjust your strategy accordingly.
- To allow everyone on your team to have a stake in your success: Getting involved in the process and integrating participants’ opinions brings a sense of ownership.
- To gauge your plan’s success and areas in need of strengthening: Organizations will often do a mid-course review to determine strengths, weaknesses, and obstacles and then create and implement new approaches. You can develop a unique, tailored evaluation strategy that will gather the information you need to improve your plan.