The Opportunity

Communication matters. Organizations that do it well are stronger, smarter, and vastly more effective.

In 2012 The Communications Network board agreed to expand the organization’s membership beyond foundations alone to include the entire social sector: foundations, nonprofits and social entrepreneurs. We committed ourselves to producing more content that would help our expanded membership base make the case that strategic communication plays a central role in advancing lasting social change.

This website is one of many ways that we are delivering on that promise.

Built on a large, and ever-growing, body of evidence collected by our research partners David Brotherton and Cynthia Scheiderer, Communication Matters aggregates a wealth of ideas and opinions, data and evidence, case studies and exemplars collected from hundreds of Network members.

Over the course of 2013-2014, The Network spoke to more than 400 professionals across the social sector to aggregate and build a foundation of knowledge on effective and strategic communications. Roughly half were communication practitioners; the other half included CEOs, executive directors, trustees, program leaders and evaluators. We also collected and reviewed more than 250 discreet documents, including research reports, websites, tool kits, evaluations, presentations, strategic plans, and more.

This site reflects our synthesis and attempt to make meaning from of all this input. It is designed for everyone who aspires to make the world a better place – not just communication practitioners alone. It matters not where you work or what title you hold. If you’re interested in advancing social change, The Communications Network wants to help. In this site we offer:

  • A flexible model designed to help everyone make the case for why communications matters
  • A set of attributes which comprise that model, and detail the components of effective and strategic communication
  • Exemplars and best practices to support each attribute
  • Additional data gathered from online opinion surveys, forums and our broader review of the literature
  • Quotes and insights from peers across the social sector
  • Tips and advice to help organizations integrate smart communications into all the work they do