Every business and non-profit seeks to do two key things; create impact in the communities it serves and raise enough revenue to sustain its operations. Although these two things are clear to most, the one thing people forget to consider is to do these two things; aside from having solid operational systems such as vital human resource, research and development, financial, and operations departments, you can only do that with human engagement. Communication is the driver of human engagement.
Let’s go back to creating impact. For a business to scale from a local store selling simple household goods to growing to a supermarket chain, you need to have a clear strategy. You need to know exactly where you are going, and you need to have an operational model that will help you scale to where you envision.
But to build an operational model and systems, you may automate some concepts, but you will be required to hire staff who can use their expertise to get you to where you need to go.
Even if you have the world’s best employees and the greatest incentives to keep them working for you, if they have no idea what they are doing and the end goal, what will happen is the high achievers will get frustrated and leave. The mediocre employees will stay to build a status quo of operations that stunts the level of impact you intend to make.
So how do you ensure your staff are working in the same direction; it’s all about opening your mouth as leadership and stating it to them. But wait! It is not just saying something; you need to communicate it in a way that is concise, clear and memorable; everyone can internalise it as their own and use it as a motivation for their work.
Not every leader knows how to do that; that’s why you need someone who understands how to do that working with you. That’s where communication comes in. Communication is the fabric that ties the thoughts, intentions and drives of the leadership and the staff together.
If you can’t communicate, forget growing or even making any impact. And if you do, it will be short-lived. So you see, communication is a critical function in staff motivation. It reminds everyone why you are here and why you matter.
This is what constitutes internal communication for organisations.
Now let’s look at growing sustainable revenue for operations. To increase revenue, you need to win over people. You need to find partners who can invest expertise and resources. You also require individuals to purchase your commodities as a business; or as a non-profit to encourage people to join your cause for change.
To do that, that’s where you hear terms like social media, marketing, fundraising, resource mobilisation etc. But what those all boil down to is one key thing, communication. So this can all be termed external communication.
People need to know who you are and why you exist. They need to understand what makes your work unique and worth investing their hard-earned money and resources. They need to know why they should always have you at the top of their mind or build community with you. That is all communication.
Communication is not just a series of tasks, like social media updates and campaigns or press interviews; it is a strategy to target and build relationships with specific groups to ensure your sustenance as a business or non-profit.
Nothing about communication is haphazard. On the contrary, to ensure sustained revenue generation and impact, communication is an essential operational arm of any organisation. And it is something you NEED to invest in.
Communication is a Science
Good communication is about understanding what motivates people. To do that, you need to know how they process information. That’s understanding how their brain works, how environmental factors affect them and what behaviours result from this. So, essentially, I am saying you need to understand human psychology.
Once you have a better grasp of this, you are better placed to understand how to communicate as a business or non-profit to meet your goals.
Communication is Strategic
When people categorise strategic communication as a communication category, I scoff at it. It is ridiculous. Communication by nature is strategic. You don’t just say or do things for the sake; you walk in with a plan of action.
Communication as a business or non-profit requires you to be clear on your message as an organisation unique to yourself and specific to a group of people. Everyone is not a target audience. Because different people care and respond to different things differently, What parents in their 50s care about, thei20-something-year-old children would care less about. How you lure people to your cause is determined by understanding what they care about, their needs, and how your business or non-profit satifies that need.
If you are unclear about your message and have no clue who your target audience is, you will not be sure what communication tools are best. When you get to that point, you turn communication into a task and no longer a strategy for growth and impact.
If you are running a non-profit or business and you have all other systems in place, and you are wondering why you are struggling to raise more revenue or grow your impact, the first place I would suggest you look is your communication.
If you fail to communicate, you fail to grow revenue and your impact.