Catholic organizations, to minister effectively, must be able to communicate with their diverse audience using the many modes of communication available to us today. Particularly during capital campaigns, successful communications are a key driver of success. GP Catholic Services guides Catholic organizations through a comprehensive communications planning process, and helps to craft a compelling case for support.
Research and stakeholder engagement
Working with leadership and communications staff, GP Catholic Services helps define the communication opportunity or problem to be addressed, surfaces possible future alternatives, and researches and defines objectives. Both quantitative and qualitative information are necessary to aid in the discernment process and depending on the circumstances, a range of research approaches may be utilized to gather this data. This includes reviewing past and current efforts as well as conducting focus groups, interviews, and surveys. At the end of the process, GP Catholic Services provides a written report of the research and recommendations for future activity.
Catholic audiences are varied audiences. While the teaching of the Church is the same for all, how that “message” is created and delivered will vary. Successful messaging efforts are rooted in an understanding of the needs and expectations of the intended audiences.
Drawing upon past research and stakeholder engagement efforts, we help develop messages that resonate for distinct groups. At the end of this process, a “messaging map” is presented to the organization.
Communication plan development
Once the audiences and messages that are most likely to resonate are known, GP Catholic Services assists Catholic organizations in developing their actual communication plan. Plans work best when the various components are integrated, aligned, and diverse. For example, an important part of a communication plan is helping the Catholic organization fully utilize and present a common message across three distinct avenues:
- Those it owns, such as a diocesan website
- Those for which it pays, such as radio advertising
- Those it earns, such as positive media stories, which cost nothing but have considerable value
Excellent communication plans include well-stated goals and audience-specific objectives. Additionally, they utilize an appropriate balance of communication mechanisms such as radio, print, web, social media, television, and internal communication tools such as parish bulletins and even the “grapevine.”
Communication plan implementation and assessment
A communication plan is only as good as its implementation. To that end, GP Catholic Services helps Catholic organizations remain focused on schedule and budget during implementation and addresses both challenges and opportunities as they arise.
At the conclusion of a communication campaign, GP Catholic Services assesses the effectiveness of the campaign, identifies what worked well as well as what did not. A final report is prepared with recommendations to help the organization learn and to institutionalize successful practices.