Communications has a great deal in common with advocacy. Both focus on conveying messages to targeted audiences for the purpose of informing or persuading them. We separate our work on communications from our work on advocacy, however, because we also focus on communications for non-policy goals, such as social marketing for individual behavior change.
As nonprofit communications efforts grow more sophisticated and strategic, particularly with constant advances in digital communications, evaluators are not keeping pace. Evaluators are trying to understand the strategic communications field, including its theories, tactics, and outcomes.
Our aim is to help others learn more about how to evaluate their communications work. Unlike advocacy (for which previous methods and tools did not exist), communications is relatively rich in theory and research tools that can be used for evaluation purposes. We are working on better connecting this work to nonprofits and philanthropy.
Research and Publications
In collaboration with colleagues like Cause Communications, we are conducting research on communications evaluation and publishing briefs and articles on this topic. Resources will include a guide to communications evaluation tools and when to use them, and a guide on evaluating communications capacity building. See our Publications section for communications evaluation resources.