We see it every year in the data from the Nonprofit Communications Trends Report. Nonprofit communications directors want better collaboration internally on how content gets planned, created, and published.
We agree it’s essential. It’s the C in CALM: Collaborative, Agile, Logical, and Methodical. That’s our framework for managing nonprofit communications work for success.
We have tools and ideas to help!
A Process for Solving Collaboration Problems
First, we recommend a four-step process to work through communications collaboration problems:
- Name the problem.
- Help others see it.
- Design simple rules.
- Set personal boundaries.
You can see how we apply these four steps to specific collaboration problems.
- When you can’t get information out of coworkers
- Coworkers who communicate all day, every day
- When you get pulled into other people’s work
Favorite Collaboration Tools and Processes for Communicators
You can also lean hard on tools and communications processes to support your collaborations. We especially encourage the use of the following tools and processes.
- Creative Briefs. Creative briefs are worksheets with questions to answer before you begin a project. Here are five more practical uses for a creative brief.
- Editorial Calendars. We have lots of advice on nonprofit editorial calendars. Or maybe you prefer the term “content calendar.”
- Editorial Meetings. Check out the kinds of meetings communications directors need. It’s also important to have these five strategic conversations within your communications team.
- Big Picture Communications Timelines. The Big Picture Communications Timeline exercise gets everyone on the same page about what’s happening in the life of your organization.
- Ways to Assign Roles and Responsibilities. Yep, you need to define roles and responsibilities on all communications projects to guide and manage collaboration. Here’s another way to think about the different types of roles on a communications team.
- A Streamlined Process for Comms. Here’s what we recommend you include in your content review and approval process.
We also love the collaborative communications strategy process outlined in this guest post.
Ultimately, It’s All About Culture
Sometimes external events can nudge people in the right direction toward rethinking the way you collaborate. Many nonprofits reported, for example, that the pandemic forced more collaboration on content creation. Working remotely also (hopefully) forces some good conversation about how you are going to work together while working apart physically.
Ultimately, collaboration needs to be a part of an organizational culture that supports communications work. We are here to help you do your part to build that kind of culture in your nonprofit.