You know you need more help with your nonprofit’s communications work. You always feel rushed and rarely strategic. The workload always grows with little to nothing coming off the list.  You can see how you’ll burn out eventually if you aren’t approaching that point already.

And yet, it’s often really hard to articulate to people who don’t do communications work for a living why you need help — or why you need “more communications capacity” in the nonprofit lingo. (“Can’t you see my hair is on fire?!?” should be enough, but isn’t, unfortunately.)

Here are three ways to talk in more concrete terms about communications capacity: (1) number of channels being managed, (2) frequency of communications in those channels, and (3) skill level in producing and sophistication level of the content.

We know these three levers are essential to communications capacity questions based on our annual Nonprofit Communications Trends Report research and on our personal experiences in coaching nonprofit communications teams through both communications team growth and right-sizing their marketing strategies.

How Many Communications Channels Are You Managing?

As teams grow, they frequently add more channels, especially a social media channel or two beyond Facebook. Are you trying to share content in too many places right now given your staffing? What would you add if you did have more help?

How Frequently Are You Sharing Content in Those Channels?

Team growth also leads to more consistent and frequent posting of content. So if you are overworked, you might need to back down your posting schedule until you have the capacity to meet the best practices in how often to post content.  If you are growing your team, consider if that means moving from monthly to weekly, or weekly to several times a week, or even to daily.

What is the Skill or Sophistication Level of the Content?

This factor — the sophistication of the content — may be even more important that the other two given our current media environment. Do you have the capacity you need to produce highly visual content with great photography and video? Video is time-consuming and requires more skill and practice than other forms of content.

Think about all three of these together. Where are you strongest and what needs to give?

You are probably familiar with the project management triangle of Time, Budget, and Quality, and how you can only have two of those under normal circumstances. So if you want it fast and cheap, quality goes down. If you have the budget for high-quality work, it takes time.

The same applies here . . . How will you balance the number of channels you are managing, the frequency with which you are posting, and the sophistication of that content? As you wrestle with capacity issues, know which two are most important to you.

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