How An Informal Nonprofit Employee Champion Program Can Benefit A One-Person Communications Dept. | Beth’s Blog

How An Informal Nonprofit Employee Champion Program Can Benefit A One-Person Communications Dept.

Capacity, Organizational Culture

Are you an one-person communications department?  Perhaps you can relate to this chart from Gerard Matthews, Communications Director of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families.   As a one-person communications department, your workload, which includes doing the social media, is always increasing.  Your most valuable resource, your time, is a finite resource – even if you forgo getting enough sleep which you know doesn’t work to your advantage.    Gerard decided to do just one that dramatically changed his capacity to deliver a robust integrated social media strategy.   He created an informal employee champion program.

Here’s how he did it:

As a one-person communications shop at his nonprofit, Gerard’s plate was full even before he took on creating and managing the organization’s social media presence which was important to the organization’s goals.    Even with a good system in place like an editorial calendar, working in short sprints, re-purposing and optimizing content for social channels, and using scheduling tools, he frequently found himself frazzled trying to keep up with everything.      He hit the pause button and asked, how can I get to less creating and doing on social, and more managing?

The answer was to create an informal employee champion program that was right-sized for his nonprofit.    He approached several staff members and trained them on how to set up a social media presence on platforms like Twitter and provided them with checklists and cheats sheets.   He also introduced them to the editorial calendar, which he maintains in an easy to access google spreadsheet, and made easy to complete assignments and avoid conflicts. Gerard also uses Sprout Social to generate reports on their results and he continually shares results with staff to keep them motivated.

His three-step approach included:

  • Train staff to post their accounts and support them
  • Turn ’em loose
  • Monitor daily and cheer them on!

Did this take a lot of arm twisting and bribery?   Gerard says he no.   He launched the informal employee champions program with a fellow interning at his agency.   He also spent some time one-on-one coaching with staff to help them get comfortable.   Also, since did not always have the capacity to post everything that employees wanted shared about their issue are on social channels, empowering them to use leverage their personal brands to share the information was helpful.     Says Gerard,  “Small concentrated steps are easy to do and get results.   Once staff know how to post and incorporate into their daily routine, it becomes habit.”

What’s been on the impact on this one-person communications department?

Gerard says,  “I can breathe!”   He also said that this simple shift in practice now gives more time for strategic planning and a consistent presence also attracts more engagement and followers.    Gerard also observes that once you get the ball rolling with an informal employee champion plan it inspires more participation.   As Gerard says, “Buy-in begets buy-in.”

Have you stopped one-person social media shop for your nonprofit organization by implementing an employee champion program?  How did you do it?  Share in the comments below.

One Response

  1. […] a case study, written about on Beth’s Blog, about how to create an employee champion program. This really […]

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