The Ethical Rainmaker
Bringing Community to Communications w Sarah Durham
There have been so many problematic practices we’ve used in nonprofit communications...so how do we start thinking about communications, differently? Well, in this episode, Michelle talks with Sarah Durham founder of Big Duck, a New York-based nonprofit communications firm, podcaster with The Smart Communications podcast and author of two books including Brandraising and The Nonprofit Communications Engine! We talk about the difference between communications, marketing and branding, how Americans are terrible at research, unnecessary urgency as a characteristic of white supremacy in communications, and what we can start doing differently today!
Sarah Durham shares several great resources that we’ve listed below...here are links for content and references mentioned in the show:
References then Definitions:
- Communications: Sarah says, “...in a nonprofit, communications is the practice of creating and sustaining mind share and engagement that advances the mission...communications is not always just about how you communicate with people who are outside of your organization, it can even be about internal communications, how you communicate inside your organization”
- Brand: Sarah says, ”...the best way to understand branding in a nonprofit context is to think of your organization's brand as your organization's voice. And again, your brand is a part of your communications. It's one of three outcomes that a successful communications program can drive. So how does your organization write and design and speak about itself? How do you explain the whole story that is your organization not just a particular program?”
- Marketing: Sarah says, “marketing is actually a slice of communications, but communications isn't even bigger tent than marketing. Marketing is usually about getting a pretty particular group of people to take an action, oftentimes like become a member or come to an event or sign up for something.”
- Great advice to leaders of nonprofits: “...a lot of people who are responsible for directing communications in nonprofits, like an executive director, for instance, or a leadership team, don't have any formal background in marketing or communications. And they probably don't have a budget to hire somebody with deep expertise in marketing and communications... I wrote this book is to encourage an organization and the leader of the organization or leaders to think about what the outcomes you want to achieve are, what communications can actually achieve for your organization or how it can help advance your mission.”
- About throwing volunteers at communications: “...the organizations I've seen use volunteers really well are organizations where there's somebody within the organization who is able to be really clear about the goal of communicating and make sure they've got the right volunteers with the right skill sets and the right expertise who are working in a coordinated way, not just in an ad hoc, choose your own adventure way.”
- Check out this ebook Sarah mentions - available free!
- Hannah Thomas of Big Duck wrote this article that touches on the scarcity!
- Check out Big Duck’s Insights page for so MANY resources that will help you and your nonprofit, navigate some of the transformational moments!
- Gratitude to Trick Candles for our theme song, called “I’m Gold"
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