Do You Hear Us Now?
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Finally, look at communications from a much broader perspective. It's not simply written or electronic publications, verbal messages or media relations.
- Involves customer service, beginning with the receptionist at the front door who answers the phone or greets the visitor -- often the first contact an individual will have with your organization;
- Includes the programs/functions area staff that interacts with volunteers;
- Involves the development staff that makes calls on potential or current donors;
- Includes what is written into case statements, what is told to media contacts, and how the stories of your successes and failures are shared;
- Is implicit in how you thank your donors, and when and how you tell them how their money is being used; and
- Is embedded in your annual reports and financial disclosures.
Most of all, communications is vital to the position you enjoy in your community because the majority of people who know about your organization only know you through what is spoken, what is read, what is viewed and what is heard.
The next time donors implicitly ask your organization, "Do you hear us now?" how will you and your organization respond?
Donna M. Finley, CFRE, is senior manager, Greater Washington, D.C., region, for Graham-Pelton Consulting Inc. Reach her at 202.756.2240 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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