10 Ways to Make your Materials More Inclusive

These ten steps will help your organization become more inclusive internally and externally. Develop discussion materials that will make your dialogues more inclusive of varying learning styles and literacy levels.

Categories: Strategic Communications 

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Are We There Yet? How to Know Whether Your Communications Are Effective

This article describes the results of a study on current knowledge and practices in evaluating foundation communications. The study consisted of three parts: an online survey of practitioners, a series of in-depth key informant interviews, and an extensive literature review. The study found that while most practitioners agree that evaluating communications is necessary to make decisions about their communication strategy, more than half did not regularly do so. Lack of experience or skills was the second top barrier cited, after lack of human/financial resources. Those who have more experience with evaluation were more likely to feel that it was not Read more

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Communicating for Impact: Strategies for Grantmakers

This publication shows how grantmakers use a “communications lens” to develop strategy, evaluate impact, take advantage of new media technologies, and more.

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Communication That Counts: Lessons From South African Social Investors

This guide offers practical lessons in communicating for impact based on the experiences of funders and others involved in social investment in South Africa. It explores universal themes related to how to communicate with partners, social investors, and grantees; how to identify and achieve communication goals; and how different media can help enhance different messages.

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Getting the Word Out: A Foundation Memoir and Personal Journey

This chapter is a personal reflection by Frank Karel on his years as vice president for communications of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He looks back on the early days, when the Foundation was groping to find an appropriate role for communications, and traces its evolution to the present. Long active in philanthropy, Karel helped many foundations consider how best to use the tools of communications.

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Grey Matter(s): Embracing the Publisher Within

This article reflects on the role that foundations play as publishers of grey literature and on the great potential for improved learning if foundations were to adopt more intentional and shared approaches to this dimension of their work.

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How-To: Content Strategy

This 8-minute read outlines five essential steps to the creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content.

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Internal Communications: Strategies for an Overlooked—But Critical—Communications Channel

This recap of a presentation given at The Communications Network’s 2016 annual conference explains why internal communications are as important and necessary as external communications for the long-term impact and sustainability of your foundation. A framework and suggested activities are offered along with a handout and powerpoint presentation.

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Speak Your Peace: A Communications Strategy for Changing Community Culture

Strategic communications can play a crucial role in advancing tangible community-wide impacts. “Speak Your Peace: The Civility Project” (SYP) was developed by The Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation and the Millennium Group to improve the civility of public discourse, under the premise that this would strengthen community decision making, expand civic engagement, and increase residents’ interest in elected office. The SYP campaign promotes nine principles (or “tools”) adapted from Forni’s book Choosing Civility (e.g., pay attention, take responsibility, apologize, give constructive criticism). City councils, county commissions, and school boards in the region adopted the nine tools as ground rules for Read more

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Strategic Communications for Influence: Lessons From the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Its KIDS COUNT Initiative

This article describes how the Annie E. Casey Foundation is using the KIDS COUNT Network in a new way: as a strategic communications tool in its focused efforts toward policy change, broad social change, and improved conditions for vulnerable children and families. An outcome map illustrates links between this strategy and the intended outcomes. Case illustrations of KIDS COUNT grantee activities surrounding the release of the 2008 KIDS COUNT Data Book describe the efforts of grantees in six states where the quantity and quality of media coverage surrounding the national data book reflected the kind of coverage that Casey believes Read more

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What It Takes: How to Build an Effective, Modern Communications Shop

Communications Network has found that old modes of communication are no longer sufficient on their own, and it’s more important than ever for every member of your team to possess at least a basic knowledge of writing, messaging, branding, etc. They created a guide to help foundations improve their overall communication. There are steps you can take to improve your communications work in this ever-evolving field.

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