Reflecting on my Top Lessons Learned at Prichard

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It’s with heavy fingers that I write my final blog post for Prichard. This fall, I’ll be heading to graduate school at Portland State University for double master’s degrees in Urban Planning and Public Health. My ultimate goal is to work to make livable cities that are healthier, more active and equitable.

It’s hard to put into words how much I’ve learned over the past few years, but I’m going to do my darndest!

The lessons below are ones that I know I’ll continue to carry with me as the next chapters of my life unfold.

It All Begins with Goals
Solid communications programs always begin with clearly defined goals. Do you want to expand your audiences? Increase funding? Recruit volunteers? Defining goals can be thought of as your communications foundation. Strategies and tactics get layered on top, but only after the foundation is laid.

Effective Communications is Hard Work—But Well Worth It!
Prioritizing communications, from running a blog, to social media channels and media outreach takes a chunk of time. But letting others know about the work you’re doing can do wonders! We’ve seen communications open up new funding streams, partnership opportunities, and replication discussions.

 Know Your Audience and Reach Them Where They Are
It’s easy to get caught up in the latest social networks or communications tools. But there’s little reason to jump into a ghost-town social network if nobody is using it. Doing research up front on where your audience spends time can help focus limited resources on things that will truly help advance your goals.

Online Communications Can Break the Ice Offline
Besides simply opening up new communications avenues online, digital communications are a great way to personify organizations and establish personal connections. These connections often carry from the online world to offline. When Facebook or Twitter first came out, few predicted that they could be used as customer service platforms, but that’s exactly what’s happening today.

Never Underestimate the Power of Free
Nonprofits are often on tight budgets, making it even more important to use no-cost solutions for communications efforts. Software like Google Apps for Nonprofits and Talkwalker Alerts perform just as well as their paid counterparts, but are completely free! See our past reporting for more tips on free tools: 1, 2, 3.

Let’s Stay in Touch!
Before my shameless plug asking you to connect with me on LinkedIn and Instagram, I’d like to thank all of my clients and colleagues who have inspired and taught me so much throughout my time at Prichard. It has meant so much.

Now please, stay in touch with me!

David Backes

David Backes, former account manager at Prichard, acted as Prichard's in-house techie nerd. Don't let this fool you though–David has been known to spend time away from his computer screen and enjoys riding his bike around Portland (rain or shine) or working to perfect his caramelized onion recipe. David also races his bike during the cyclocross season at the mildly competitive beginner level.
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