Communication is personal. It's unique to the leader of an organization and it shapes the culture of an organization. Here are three tips to keep in mind when communicating to volunteers, leaders, and your community in the context of creating a thriving culture.
- Micro vs. macro. There are three layers to nonprofit communication and it’s important to include your key stakeholders in the early stages of any message and identify your early adopters. Your key leadership team should be the first to hear your vision, hear of new campaigns, and learn about big events on the calendar. Secondly, the broader team of volunteers and team leaders need to hear the vision frequently, be reminded of core values, and understand what defines a win. This layer of leaders can handle a challenge to elevate their growth and commitment. Third, the final layer is what gets communicated to everyone connected with your organization. Messaging is broad in this category to reach a variety of recipients, but still aligned with vision and values.
- Establish your culture. Regardless of your team being made of paid staff, volunteers, or everyone in between, it’s crucial to establish your culture early and often. Your culture of communication integrates your personal style with social norms. This includes everything from printed materials to social media to face-to-face conversations and presentations. Options are constantly evolving and choosing a consistent method will help reinforce your message.
- Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Little explanation is needed for this. Those serving with you in any capacity (paid or volunteer) do not carry the vision as deeply as it is planted in your heart. Repeating vision, values, strategy, and measures is necessary to bring people along with you. Never assume you have over-communicated.
Create accountability and get feedback from those around you at all levels to guide you in your communication as a leader. You'll benefit from what you hear and will move closer to the culture you want to create.