Wednesday, 8 February 2012
"Do good, maintain a low profile and others will provide." YEAH RIGHT
"Why would an NGO need a communications strategy? Everyone knows they are helping the needy!" That was what one of my friends said to me when I mentioned that I was interested in working for an NGO. Should he be crucified for this high level of ignorance? I guess if he said it to me, there are several who think just like him and difference is, I haven't met them to convince them otherwise.
While in the past, it was viewed as self-serving for non-profit organizations to allocate time and resources to promote understanding and support for their mission and objectives, it is commendable that things are changing. Needless to say, a communication plan is NOT meant for Corporates only...even NGOs need communication plans, which need not be an expensive proposition. Why?
Visibility amongst competition for funds: while sources of funds are getting restricted and diverse, more and more NGOs are seeking funds. Visibility is a critical factor that defines the availability of funds for the projects. there is need for media to reach out to the audience for funds. It is likely that funds disbursement from donors will be dependent on the visibility of the NGO apart from the issues about the nature of their projects and past activities. Ever wonder why so much attention is given to the Kenya Red Cross?
Winning issues: Lobbying has been a tool used by Corporates to influence policy matters. The same can be used by NGOs either independently or collectively in order to bring policy level changes that will strengthen their issues. Change in perception and recognition of the fact that a problem exists is also achieved by using effective and planned communication.
Building credibility: Reinforcing the good work done through the media gives credibility to the NGOs work not only in the eyes of the donors but also in the eyes of the beneficiaries. This raises reputation with the beneficiaries as an organization that understands issues and provides solutions for the issues. Beneficiaries will look at the NGO achievements for their cause leading to a stronger bonding with the not-for-profit organization. It also
Changing stereotypes: Use communication to change stereotype image of the beneficiaries which impacts on the larger society and the cause. You cannot get AIDS/HIV through touching. Help others.