The Six Stages: Communication Planning for Purpose-driven Organizations

Image of a wooden staircase leading to lake

Communication plans often include these six key components:

  1. Communication goals and objectives
  2. Target audiences
  3. Communication strategies
  4. Tactics and/or activities
  5. Evaluation tactics
  6. Budget, materials, timetable and/or task list

Here we’ve customized the basic outline of a communication plan
for purpose-driven organizations.

And, we’ve included a central question that each component should be able to answer. Here we go… Number 1 through 6…. (If you prefer a PDF version, download a copy here.)

#1: Communication Goals and Objectives

  • Should be consistent with organization’s mission (i.e.,purpose)
  • Should be limited to three to five statements; although one may be enough
  • Should consider desired outcome
  • Examples: Increase awareness, change perception, take action
  • Use verbs to indicate activity
  • Should describe end result; not process
  • Should be a measurable outcome, specific to each target audience and include timeframe

What does success look like?

#2: Target Audiences

  • Should include groups your organization needs to communicate to, and also listen to
  • Should consider internal and external stakeholder needs and interests
  • Should consider whose support the organization needs
  • Should consider who the organization supports

Who are our target audiences and why are they important to our organization?

#3: Communication Strategies

  • How will you work toward reaching each separate goal?
  • What existing resources can you use to achieve each goal?
  • Should include key messages for each goal; and be specific to each target audience
  • Key messages can also have sub-messages
  • Key messages should have proof points
  • Should outline several strategies for each goal; some strategies may repeat

What themes or appeals will you use to reach your objectives?

#4: Tactics and/or Activities

  • Should outline what communication activity will be used
  • Should describe which communication tactic (vehicles or channels) will be used

How will we do the work to reach our objectives?

#5: Evaluation Tactics

  • Should consider if objectives are being met
  • Should include measurements, observations, opinions and audience feedback

What needs to change?

#6: Budget, Materials, Timetable and/or Task List

  • Should consider what resources are needed to meet objectives
  • Should consider out-of-pocket costs, employee time, materials, etc.
  • Should apply timetable to tactics, activities and/or tasks

How best to manage this project?

What communication challenges does your organization face? What do you think of this communication planning model for purpose-driven organizations? Please comment or reach out to me; I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Good luck!

The image is from one of our favourite stock photography websites: and is by Philipp Reiner.

K. Barker

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