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Resources are what organizations invest to achieve their goals. They include dollars (grants, programs, services) and human capital (labor, research, thought leadership).

All organizations are different, of course. Some have deep pockets and the capacity to push big dollars at a problem. Some possess unique knowledge ideal for tackling complex issues. And others are rich with human capital, able to mobilize a skilled staff or a vocal volunteer base quickly into action.

What matters most is that you are clear about your available communication resources and your options for “spending” them to advance your mission.

Just like no foundation can fund every grant request they receive, no community based nonprofit can deliver all the social services they would like to provide, or disseminate every idea they have to share. Our work requires us to make hard choices.

An effective communication strategy demands that you invest your available – and finite – brand resources where they can have the most clear, discernable impact. That might require you to forego producing a printed annual report, or another website refresh, or a timely advertising campaign, in order to stay focused on other tactics with a higher return on investment.

by the numbers


The number of people who told us their CEO or ED believes that communication advances the organization’s goals.


The rank of “lack of staff time” as a barrier to strategic communication across organization type and role type.


Percent of the United States GDP accounted for by the nonprofit sector.

tips and insights

Charitable contributions by individuals, foundations, bequests, and corporations reached $316.23 billion in 2012.

Approximately 25% of Americans over the age of 16 volunteered through or for an organization between September 2009 and September 2013

Individuals gave $228.93 billion in 2012, an increase of 3.9% from 2011.

In 2012 the U.S. was home to 86,192 foundations with $715 billion in assets and $52 billion in giving.