Last month, I climbed back into the hot seat. That is, I temporarily got my old job back. For a few months, I’ll be the part-time, interim Communications Director for a large non-profit while still trying to run my freelance business.
Who was it that said you can never step into the same stream twice? A wise person, obviously. Since I left the area to move to Baltimore in the beginning of 2008, the agency has grown to nearly double its former size in number of staff and revenues. That’s really impressive in this economy. But the Communications Department remained the same size—just one person.
Every day, I struggle to answer the question: how does one person handle the communications needs of 500+ staff running 50+ programs? Not to mention the increased needs of the fundraising department and a young but fast-growing advocacy organization. Oh, and social media has finally came into the picture, too.
It’s hard to give the great staff all of the support they need in terms of literature, media relations, social media, advertising, website copy, signage, and marketing plans. Some of them (though thankfully not all) are running on a shoestring budget. Many are also building new programs and some need to find new revenue streams. All of this calls for enormous creativity in developing successful promotional strategies.
I’ve recently read articles that are critical of the large non-profit consultant “subculture” that seems to be draining precious resources away from important causes. We are not them. We are working our butts off at reasonable prices to get everything from fundraising appeals to billboards, brochures, and email blasts done on time.
I once wrote a blog about regime change in marketing departments and how good writers can ease the pain during a transition. I should have added that you also need experienced designers, project managers, marketing strategists, and social media managers to keep the organization together.
Our team, which includes Métier Marketing Communications and Kerk Communications, has shown me again the importance of choosing the right partners for any job. It always takes a village. I couldn’t do this without them.