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Key messages are key to great outcomes

2 min read

The need to co-ordinate messages can sometimes be forgotten while associations are busy ensuring membership is growing, events are successful, and committee and lobbying groups are effective.

By creating a strong connection between policy objectives and day-to-day work, the key message of an organisation becomes much clearer for all stakeholders, both internally and externally. Co-ordinating messages gives organisations a stronger voice and ensures everyone at the organisation is delivering the same key message or ‘singing from the same song-sheet’.

Stakeholders in not-for-profit (NFP) organisations wear many hats. In the right forum, members can be excellent advocates; government policy makers engaged in taskforce activities can become engaged partners; and online member information forums can turn into outstanding membership recruitment tools. These things will only happen, however, if stakeholders know what everyone is doing and how they are doing it.

By connecting your organisation’s policy goals with your event and communications program, stakeholders can develop a new appreciation of the organisation’s role and members’ issues, understand how to become more involved, and policy outcomes will be easier to achieve.

Here are some simple ways to ensure your organisation’s key messages are effectively communicated:

1. Build strong relationships between your event team and policy or advocate roles in your organisation to facilitate regular and proactive information exchange

2. Develop an elevator pitch summarising the key issues your members need addressed, making sure it aligns with the key messages of your lobbying team

3. Develop communication strategies that apply to research, publications, events, political representations, online and media activities to ensure overlapping and complementary key messages

4. Ensure guest speakers are well briefed so they can relay your key messages at events

5. Deliver the key message through many voices. For example, design your events to create platforms for policy makers to hear stories from your members

6. Identify and build independent advocates (organisations or individuals that are like-minded, and share similar key messages)

7. Provide opportunities for your members to be thought leaders so they can spread your organisation’s key messages to a wider audience. This can be done by participating in policy debates and supporting other lobbying groups

8. Encourage external policy makers to draw on your organisation when communicating to your industry

9. Understand what drives your sponsors and provide platforms to allow them to progress outcomes that complement your own key messages

10. Know who you are delivering your key message to and identify their key drivers. It should include policy makers, political leaders, political influencers, media, members, target members and possible partner organisations.

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