Grant strategies to build nonprofit capacity

Hoist the Sail! Let’s Conquer the Seven C’s (of Key Messages!)

HarriettAuthor: Harriett Carter

So what’s the best way to create a catchy, cool collection of communications, conducive to convincing contributions committees to support your cause?

Pull up a chair. Grab some coffee, carrot sticks or cake and let’s explore the Seven C’s of Key Messages.

(Phew, that’s enough alliteration for one day.)

A Key Messages document positions your organisation. It contains simple, easily digestible statements about who your organisation is and what you do. When it comes to grant applications, this document really comes into its own.

Ideally, any member of staff should be able to grab content directly from your Key Messages, plug it into an application and feel safe in the knowledge that they’re using up-to-date and accurate statements. This brings us to the Seven C’s – seven rules of thumb to follow when compiling your Key Messages information.

  • Clear - “Clutter” is not a good C word! Well written key messages deliver clear meaning rather than wordy motherhood statements.
  • Compelling - The reader should want to find out more – give concrete information, statistics and examples that underline your organisation’s point of difference.
  • Concise - Try to keep your descriptions tight. Consider having longer and shorter versions of your key information e.g. your organisational description. This will be so useful for those pesky word limits!
  • Consistent - Consistency is at the heart of this exercise. A Key Messages document will ensure that all staff are giving out the same information about your organisation.
  • Correct - It may seem like Communications 101, but do ensure all your information is accurate!
  • Certified - Make sure your Key Messages have managerial tick-off!
  • Current - Every few months, revisit your Key Messages and make sure all information is up-to-date, particularly those “obvious” details that sometimes get overlooked, like contact details and changes in Board members.