Recording: Online Communications: Beyond the Basics, a Four-Part Course

You have a solid website. You send emails to your supporter list and post on social media. What’s next? How do you build on these successes to strengthen your relationships and get better results?

Four 60-minute sessions

In this intermediate-level communications course, we’ll show you how to evaluate your existing communications channels and efforts, gather data to optimize your content, increase your online subscriber and follower lists, and engage more deeply with your biggest supporters. At the end of this course, you’ll know how to develop a successful integrated online communications practice for your organization, measure its success, and develop integrated campaigns to magnify your reach and activate stakeholders.

During this course you’ll:

  • Explore opportunities to strengthen your communications and expand your reach.
  • Learn how to evaluate and use mainstream and emerging communications platforms
  • Learn how to use data to inform your decisions.
  • Find out about social media advertising and search engine advertising.
  • Learn how to schedule and manage your communications efficiently across multiple channels.
  • Understand how to build an integrated online communications campaign focused on awareness-building, advocacy goals, or raising more money.
  • Determine the metrics you need to optimize your efforts and measure success.

Session 1: Evaluating and Optimizing Your Current Communications

Your organization sends out emails, updates social media, and thinks about its communications efforts, but are they working? In this session, we’ll help you step back from your everyday activities and assess what’s working and where opportunities still exist. By the end of this session, you’ll know how to develop strong SMART communications goals, identify existing and emerging communications platforms for your audiences and their interests, gather data to understand audience interests, and consider how your website optimizes your communications. Ahead of this session, please develop at least one SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-bound) communications goal.

Session 2: Building Your Audience

One of the biggest challenges for a communications professional is building an audience—either for a new organization or a new product or service. In this session, we’ll focus on different methods for building an audience, including (but not limited to) inbound content, brand ambassadors, earned media, social media advertising, email nurturing campaigns, and the role of social media.

Session 3: Executing Your Integrated Communications Strategy

Now that we’ve considered your target audience(s), which channels resonate, audience interest, and approaches to audience-building, let’s get our communications out the door! In this session, we’ll focus creating an integrated strategy and executing it, including coordinating messaging and content, A/B testing, audience segmentation, creating an editorial calendar, and managing your social media communications. You’ll leave this session with the knowledge to develop a comprehensive, segmented editorial calendar that works for your organization.

Session 4: Measuring Your Communications and Addressing Roadblocks

Ready to go beyond the everyday? Create a data-based communications practice through measurement and testing. In our final session, we’ll discuss how to measure the effectiveness of your integrated communications (and bring it back to SMART goals). We’ll look at what metrics matter and how to take a data-based approach—including how to build dashboards that show you what’s working and what isn’t. In the second part of the session, we’ll address common roadblocks faced by online communications practitioners, and paths to success around them.

Meet Our Experts

Karen Graham, Director of Education and Outreach, Tech Impact

Karen Graham is a speaker, trainer, writer, and consultant with expertise in technology leadership and innovation, nonprofit software, and digital strategy. She is the Managing Director of Education and Outreach at Tech Impact.

Sarah Beaulieu, Senior Advisor, Greenlight Fund

Sarah Beaulieu has extensive experience in fundraising, communications, strategic partnerships and organizational strategy. She is currently Senior Advisor to the GreenLight Fund, and serves as a coach, consultant, and trainer to leaders and nonprofits.  Previously, Sarah was the Senior Advisor to the Opportunity Nation campaign, leading on strategic partnerships and developing, supporting and executing the campaign’s key priorities. Prior to that, she was the Vice President for Organizational Strategy and Development at Be the Change, Inc. and held senior fundraising positions at University of Massachusetts Foundation, Boston College and Brown University.

Sarah serves on the board of the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, and is a national advocate and voice on the issue of sexual violence. She graduated from Brown University and has an MBA from Boston College. Sarah lives in Boston with her husband and two small children.

Expert Contributor

Special thanks to Lisa Colton of See3, who made a significant contribution to this curriculum. See3 helps nonprofits unleash the power of storytelling to change the world. They strengthen organizations with digital strategies that bust silos, maximize efficiencies and end the reliance on short-term tactical thinking. They make digital strategies real by building websites, producing videos and creating digital tools that carry stories and move people to action.

About Idealware

Idealware is a program of the nonprofit Tech Impact. We are the authoritative source for independent, thoroughly-researched technology resources for the social sector. Our publications, assessments, and training can save you time and money by providing impartial guidance that gives you the knowledge and confidence you need to decide what’s best for your organization. Browse our archives, sign up for our mailing list, or learn more at www.idealware.org