/writing/ Communications And Accountability

IN OUR ON-GOING effort to collectively build the value of our work, let’s look at communications as a means to build accountability within an organization.

Reporting is an unquestionable, external accountability mechanism: we spend the client’s money, so we show how the resources are used.

But what about other communications products? Isn’t the design, production, and dissemination process valuable as well?

And beyond demonstrating it to external groups, what about building accountability within our organizations?

Perhaps an investment in communications – and all of the accompanying creative tensions that it creates – makes us a better organization from within.

A one-minute radio advertisement to farmers requires us to research and develop detailed profiles of our end-users / beneficiaries / constituents.

A high-level conference with notable government officials tests our organization’s influence and ability to mobilize national-level policy makers.

A business development campaign roll-out forces us to refine our messaging and strategically assess and position our organization within the broader marketplace.

An updated website ensures that we develop an effective content development structure.

A press release to national media outlets is built on months of fostering relationships with journalists and understanding current news trends.

We tend to focus on the final products, but let’s not undervalue the process.

Designing, packaging, and delivering materials for an outside world forces us to better understand ourselves. A stronger sense of organizational-self ultimately helps drive more sophisticated areas of development: organizational learning, relationship management, strategic positioning, influence, resource mobilization, etc.

As communications mangers, the question to our directors, donors, and supervisors: are you all willing to make this investment?

The questions to ourselves as communications managers: how do we build the case for that investment?

Thanks for reading.

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