Recently, a communicator overseeing employee and external communication for a not-for-profit wrote to me seeking advice. Let us call her ‘Mira’. Here is Mira’s case. Reflect on it and share how you would help her overcome the challenges she faces.
Mira joined a year ago at Secure, a not-for-profit. She leads the responsibility of communicating with 40+ staff located in three cities in India as well as engaging externally with stakeholders such as community partners, corporates and volunteers. She is in charge of induction new staff at her not-for-profit. Mira feels her external marketing is working well although her internal communications isn’t getting much traction. Here is a conversation she has with a peer who has been mentoring her.
Jona: “Hi Mira, you had some questions for me?”
Mira: “Yes, Jona. I am completing a year with Secure and feel that I am unable to do much with internal communications.”
Jona: “Why do you say so? What is it that is not working?”
Mira: “We have just 40 employees although we will expand to about 100+ in a few months – and yet they are not engaging with the communication we send.”
Jona: “How do you currently communicate with them?”
Mira: “We use e-mail (have a newsletter), a social network platform and knowledge sharing among peers. The newsletter has good content – about out work, recognition and success stories among others. Strangely, only 3 out of 40 open and engage on the content we send out. I know it since I use an e-mail tracking software. While all the staff are passionate about what they do, it is concerning they are not interested to read and connect on the content we send out.”
Jona: “Have you checked why they don’t?”
Mira: “I have asked a few people and they are busy with their work. They are also in different locations and mostly on the ground engaging stakeholders. But, not reading the communication impacts what they know about our work and in turn impacts how they deliver to stakeholders. In one of my visits along with a few team members I realized they are not aligned when they speak with stakeholders – they all say different things and it confuses our partners and others. I feel this needs urgent attention.”
Jona: “Hmm. That isn’t a good experience for stakeholders. Do you think having leaders articulate messages will help?”
Mira: “That is an ideal situation. But our leaders are travelling most of the time and therefore we can’t get them to always be briefing our staff.”
Jona: “It is tricky. Do you want to talk it through with some of the leaders?”
Mira nods reluctantly and decides to check with them.
What is your understanding of the issue? How can Mira overcome the challenge she faces with internal communications? Share your views here. I will look forward to them.
Keen to read up a few posts related to communication in not-for-profits and corporate social responsibility? Look them up here: