However aggressive your early grade reading communications efforts, you will need to clearly identify your target audience (the group that can most impact your early grade reading success), your key message, your strategies for delivering that message (like social media) and your tactics for executing against that strategy (like a Twitter campaign).
You will need a communications plan for each phase of the communications effort (and life cycle of the coalition) listed here. The plan helps you think through which communications channels and tactics might work best for you and how to target your key messages to segmented audiences. Although you may think a communications plan should be ‘owned’ by the marketing staff that is not correct. Cross-functional work can uncover and leverage existing opportunities, aligning messages and moving your communications from a disjointed, ad hoc set of messages to a thoughtful “story line” that pulls people in and makes them want to join you. Download a sample communications planning tool here. Your Resource Development managers probably have great relationships with companies and can, through their employee campaign coordinators, gain access to internal company communications as a great way to get your message out.
You will need to decide how many resources – time, talent or money – to put into which target audiences. Typically, nonprofits want to communicate to everyone, but should be more targeted in their approach. Consider one key question: who is your #1 target audience for Phase 1 of the communications effort? What do they know about early grade reading? How can you tailor your fodder – reports about strategies, or community-based efforts, or progress – to your target audience?