Wednesday, October 10, 2012

How to Create an Editorial Calendar



Nonprofit organizations need to communicate with donors and other supporters all year round. Does the idea of finding content to share on a regular basis stress you out?  Don't worry, it doesn't have to.  Not if you create an editorial calendar.  Start thinking now about creating one for 2013. 

You have many communication channels to work with. Sending out a newsletter is one way. It's up to your organization whether to use a print or email newsletter. Other methods include email updates, your website, social media, and mailings.

As you put together your editorial calendar, think about how you will use each channel. You may only send out direct mail a few times a year, but send out a newsletter once a month and communicate by social media several times a week.

Remember, the information you share should be audience-centered and emphasize how you are making a difference for the people you serve and in the community.

Here are some categories for your editorial calendar. Some items will be time sensitive and others won't be.

Events
Does your organization hold any events?  Besides your events, are there other events in your community that would be of interest to your supporters?  This is a great thing to share on social media.

Legislation
Advocacy alerts are a wonderful way to engage with your supporters. Be on the lookout for any federal or state legislation that's relevant to your organization.  Encourage people to contact their legislators about an issue or a bill. Report back to them with any updates, and thank them for getting involved.   

Time of year
Is there something going on during a particular month that is pertinent to your organization?  Perhaps it's homelessness or foster care awareness month.

Thanksgiving, the holidays, and winter can be a difficult time for some people.  How can you weave that into your work?

News stories
You won't be able to predict news stories in advance.  However, as something newsworthy comes up, see if that is something you could share.

Fundraising and recruitment
Be sure to add your annual appeal and other fundraising drives to your editorial calendar.  You want to promote these, and at the same time not inundate your supporters with a lot of other information at that time.

If your organization has specific times it needs to recruit volunteers, add that to your editorial calendar, as well.  

Ongoing content
If you are making a difference, you have stories to tell.  Share your clients' success stories. You could also profile a board member or volunteer.

Put together a collection of stories and profiles to use in your newsletter or website throughout the year. If you are profiling board members or volunteers, highlight what motivated them to serve on your board or volunteer with your organization.  Keep it focused on your mission.

Keep it up
As you hear about other relevant information, add it to your calendar, so you will always have good content to share with your supporters.

Here is more information to help you create an editorial calendar.



2 comments:

  1. Good tips, Ann, thank you. Calendars are also a great way to ensure brand and message consistency across channels. Creating the newsletter, blog, and social media version of a story at the same time adds a QA check against going off message.

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  2. Being able to advertise to the outside world that money-handling procedures are in place, and can be audited, is closer to the ideal. In other words, money-handling procedures add to the integrity of the organization. Duties should be separated.

    501c non profit organization

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