Making Good on Your Organization’s PR Goals in Three Main Ways
Many nonprofits started the year on a high note, with a fresh set of organizational resolutions. Usually under the terms “strategic planning” and “annual goal setting,” organizations outlined their aspirations for the year through focused meetings and committed them to ink through detailed documents. But, just as when individual people make New Year’s resolutions, nonprofits and companies alike lose often sight of the objectives they outlined months ago.
Yet the stakes may be higher on an organizational basis. After all, a nonprofit must answer to the Board of Directors, executive management, internal clients, external stakeholders and, in many cases, third-party partners and governmental agencies. The pressure to produce results, or to show progress, runs high.
At the same time, the lofty goals, record-topping metrics and pilot innovations that were top of mind at the beginning of the year can fall by wayside when life gets in the way. And, by that, we mean the busyness of daily operations, the focus it takes to maintain the status quo and the occasional crises or rare opportunities that can throw off the equilibrium of development, marketing and event planning teams.
All too often those early-year marketing, PR and event planning goals are not revisited and reevaluated once the wheels are in motion and daily duties are well underway. But that doesn’t mean organizations can’t pause mid-stream to catch their collective breath.
Here’s why a mid-to-late year assessment can be advantageous to organizations’ performance and progress.
Identify talent gaps. Perhaps the only factor that stands between your organization and a goal is learning a new skill. Maybe you set out to elevate your social search rankings, but your team hasn’t received SEO or SEM training recently. Or you need to reinvigorate your department’s content development skills, but your team is still wrapping their heads around AP Style. According to global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company in its “What social-sector leaders need to succeed” article, “There is no deficit of committed, talented people in the social sector. What they lack is training, support and opportunities to grow in their roles.” In reviewing previous goals, organizations should identify talent gaps and include in their plans a process to remedy them – be it investing in staff development or hiring new team members with those competencies. As a result, nonprofits can better plan to beef up existing team members’ expertise, or bring new contributors on board, in ways that dovetail with pre-determined strategic aims.
Celebrate success. As the year takes hold and eventually winds down, it’s likely that your team hasn’t spent enough time recognizing accomplishments. Met a fundraising goal? You’ve earned more than brownie points. Cultivated a hard-earned relationship with a major benefactor? Break out the confetti. Have team members achieved some personal bests? Praise them personally. Fast Company magazine writes: “It’s critical to take time to celebrate the accomplishments—both big and small—within an organization. I know that margin pressures and deadlines don’t make this as simple as we would like, but it is nonetheless imperative.”
Plan next year’s budget. It’s not uncommon that the gulf between stating a goal and achieving it is a matter of resources. Of course, professionals in the social-change and nonprofit space are often accustomed to turning lemons into lemonade – that is, maximizing tight resources and limited bandwidth with great resourcefulness. But the reality is that money does matter. Reviewing your initial goals for the year and comparing them with the budgetary resources allocated to attain them can unearth opportunities to shift buckets next year, or begin developing your case to propose additional funding for specific projects or departmental assets going forward.
How many New Year’s resolutions has your organization achieved so far? Is reviewing goals and evaluating progress a customary part of your team’s routine? How do you make the most of this reflective process? Share with us on The Wakeman Agency’s Facebook community.