Strategic communications for international development organisations

Categories: CommunicationsPublished On: 14th April, 2020664 words3.3 min read

Strategic communications for international development organisations

Categories: CommunicationsPublished On: 14th April, 202030.2 min read

Developing a strategy for your communications is a great way to help you stay on track and keep your communications focused, so that they are always helping you to work towards your overall organisational objectives.

A comms strategy sets out how you plan to use different communications tools, such as social media, blogs, press releases, your website and email marketing to work towards achieving your goals. It’s used so that all people working within your organisation are aware of how comms will work for you.

Here’s a short list of how you can develop and implement a communications strategy for your organisation:

Create a statement of purpose

In order for comms to help you achieve your goals, it helps to set out in one paragraph what it is your organisation is looking to achieve by creating a comms strategy. By clearly setting this out in the document, you have something to refer back to when developing ideas, and serves as a reminder for others in your team who may be assisting with communications in future.

Outline your organisational objectives

By clearly outlining your organisational goals, you will then be able to suggest how comms will help you achieve these. As part of this section, think about 4-5 key messages that you would want to convey about your organisation’s goals, purpose and activities, and refer back to these in all your comms activity.

Work out who you are speaking to

You may be looking to connect with a wide range of people through your comms – other organisations, partners, the public, politicians and public figures, or institutions. Once you have mapped out the different audiences you want to connect with, think about and set out what messages you want to send to them.

Work out where you are speaking to them

It’s worth thinking about and setting out how you plan to connect with these different audiences through different comms streams. For example, will you be looking to speak to partners through email marketing, and the general public through PR? You can then add this to your plan, so it is clear to you who you are speaking to, what you are saying to them, and where you are connecting with them.

Plan out how you will use each comms channel in more detail

You’ll have already thought about who you are targeting with each comms channel, but set out in more detail here how you plan to use them. For example, is email and web going to be your primary channel? Will you only use PR when you have a really big event, or will you try and think of other ways to get into the press across the year?

Create a calendar

As part of your plan, map out all your key dates for the next six months to a year, looking at your internal milestones and key dates as well as any relevant external ones, such as World Health Day, or Christmas. Set out where and when you will have spikes of comms activity, and any recurring dates, such as monthly email bulletins, along with a rough idea of where you’ll be allocating any comms budget.


It’s very important to include evaluation in your comms plan – what does success look like, and what objectives do you want to meet for the year? Setting out what you want to achieve, and how you will monitor and evaluate your activity against these objectives, is key to ensuring you are working towards your goals. This could be simple (setting the number of email opens you’d like to achieve for the year) or complex (have you raised your organisations profile by being featured in certain publications?). Include here how often you are going to check in on progress, whether that’s weekly, monthly or quarterly.

If you would like to discuss any specific communications needs or arrange for some tailored communications support, please email: