November 10, 2023

How to Level Up Your Social Impact Communications in 2023

Kicking off Q1 means shifting from high-level strategy discussion to bringing your social impact plans to life.  Whether you’re on the nonprofit or corporate side of things, it’s critical to consider your communications strategy as you get set to execute your 2023 playbook. After all, it’s one thing to have a solid social impact infrastructure but effectively packaging it and getting that message out in the world is a different challenge.

That’s why we’ve got you covered with our top five tips for leveling up your social impact communications in 2023:

Tip 1: Give Your Audience a Megaphone

  • Clearly illustrating your impact: Get them informed and on-board by making social impact metrics and testimonials engaging, emotional and succinct.
  • Making it easy to take action: Have clear CTAs with clear timeframes. Most people respond better to campaigns that have an immediate call to action vs. long term campaigns.

Example Snapshot: The Trevor Project does a great job of highlighting impactful statistics that demonstrate urgency while also presenting opportunities for audience engagement. Knowing that their audience is no stranger to social media, they utilize the channel to provide clear CTAs that spark action. An example is their 2023 resolution post stating their commitment to defeating anti-LGBTQ bills which opens with a key statistic demonstrating the power of LGBTQ advocates and allies and provides multiple ways for their audience to get involved themselves.

Leverage your organization’s employees, fans, partners, and influencers with regular news and examples of impact. How can you do this? Arm them with ready-to-use social content that can be customized. 

Have limited resources? Test what resonates best with your audience in terms of content style, length, and format. Base your efforts around the kinds of content that you find perform better and focus in on them with your unique brand spin. 

Why it’s worth the lift: It helps the bottom line. At the end of the day, people are more effectively influenced by their peers, so using your audience to engage their networks will bring greater attention to your impact work and it will be rewarded. Individuals are more likely to reward companies with their business when their work is linked to purpose, and they’ll spread the word. In fact, 78% of consumers say they would tell others to buy from a purpose-driven company. Why would you let that power go untapped? Empower your audiences by…

Tip 2: Make 2023 Your Year To Be Authentically You

Communicate your goals and impacts with passion, transparency, and authentically in a consistent cadence. In other words, showcase your unique personality and lean into what makes your organization different.  Don’t be afraid to use visually compelling graphics that will be memorable and make sure  to identify and communicate your key differentiators.  Afterall, you don’t want to look or be like every other organization. If Walmart used similar branding to Target, it would be highly confusing for consumers the next time they make a shopping trip. 

Why it’s worth the lift? Being bold can be done without being aggressive or offensive. It is an approach to help your organization stay top of mind with current and potential donors and build a unique narrative around your brand that stands out from others in the space. It offers an effective way to attract a community of like-minded thinkers and doers to propel your organization's success. We encourage social impact communicators to become a bit more bold in 2023. You’ll be surprised how showing up proudly as yourself can lead to new opportunities for fundraising, help you gain more supporters, and enhance the communication of your unique impact.

Example Snapshot: Dave's Killer Bread is a brand that bakes boldly, asserting they have “the Best Bread in the Universe”. They stand out on shelves and in minds with a unique brand look, audacious tone, and a social impact approach that is seemingly synonymous with their product. Their Second Chance Employment program is born out of the founder, Dave Dahl’s own experience in prison and subsequent founding of the company. The unique model creates win-win-win scenarios for the company, the individual, and the local community while reducing recidivism. They state it simply but boldly: “We believe that bread doesn’t have to be boring. That you don’t have to sacrifice taste to get organic, whole grain nutrition. And we believe that people are capable of greatness.”

Tip 3: (Not So) Secret Sauce

Ensure the marketing team is aligned with senior leadership (and vice versa) about primary messages that discuss the what, why, value, and impact of a cause, program, service or product. Once these stars align, this is when the real magic happens. Now these messages will be delivered with enthusiasm and passion - the energy behind these important words are more likely to be noticed and duplicated. 

Why it’s worth the lift? This alignment encourages others to support your vision. More so, by having consistent messages, your audience will more easily understand your offering, value, and impact. This eliminates any second guessing associated with building affinity with your cause or brand and helps cultivate a distinct point of view that will stand out from others. 

Example Snapshots:  Ben & Jerry's is leading the way for social impact. We know, we know- you already knew that. But they are the gold standard for a reason. By being consistent with their social impact and values messaging, they’ve built a brand known for social justice, not just in fleeting moments, but over time through consistency and authenticity. 

Tip 4: Be Fast Yet Effective!

Did you know that the average person has an attention span of 8 seconds? Keep reading!

Given this small time frame of opportunity, it’s critical to keep all messaging consistent, brief, and state them over and over. When it comes to social impact, we know the issues and impact reporting are often nuanced. It’s important to guide your communications by honing in on key messages that align with your organization objectives. With this understanding, you can create more concise and digestible messaging for your audiences. Don’t be afraid to repeat your key messages as it’s hard for people to miss what you are conveying when they’ve seen it on a regular basis. 

Avoid using fancy words but use language that is familiar and accessible to increase the message’s clarity. 

Why it’s worth the lift? This approach forces you to get to the heart of your work, enforces your own familiarity with your messaging, and can serve as a template for future communication. Editing  and refining messaging can be time consuming but once you’ve done it, it will become second nature. 

Example Snapshot: U.K.-based drink maker innocent drinks’ communication  approach  mirrors their product offering: less is more. By using simple yet conversational language that gets straight to the point, they create a consistent tone that is highly memorable.. Their Big Rewild climate action program also uses succinct language. In their witty words, “The plan is to restore 2 million hectares of land by 2025. (That’s the size of Wales, if you’re asking.) The country, not those big whistling things that live in the sea."

Tip 5: Pass The Mic To Your Employees

Employees represent an audience that can truly stand behind your mission. You can harness that power by mobilizing them to become brand ambassadors of your organization or company. 

These advocates naturally embody your cause or company each day, making them one of the biggest and best assets to propel your messages further and with authenticity. Give these natural champions key messages, updates about campaigns, and special news to share with their networks. 

Why it’s worth the lift? By partnering with this impassioned group, it provides one of the most effective ways to communicate with virtually no cost. They can positively influence in various ways such as,  fundraising, workplace culture and shape the public perception of the organization. Be sure to recognize these cheerleaders by acknowledging their important work which may encourage others to follow. 

Example Snapshot: Arm, a semiconductor and software design company, has built a diverse network of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to help them inform and inspire social impact. By leveraging ERGs they have made creating impact even easier for their workforce. Arm provides their ERGs with resources such as ready-to-use content (just like in Tip 1) and vetted nonprofits so that they can easily and confidently engage in campaigns around the issues that matter most to them.

We'd love to chat! Drop us a line.
Jenn Debarge-goonan
Senior Vice President



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Ph: (978) 790-6225
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