🗂️ Managing communications for small schools can be overwhelming! With limited resources and bandwidth, it's crucial to have a well-organized and strategic approach to ensure effective communication with your audience. A comprehensive communications calendar is one of the most valuable tools for achieving this.
Creating a communications calendar doesn't have to be complicated.
📊 To start, utilize a simple Google spreadsheet, as it offers an easily accessible platform to begin mapping out your communication plans.
🗓️ Begin by listing all the major initiatives and important event dates that are relevant to your school month by month. This step alone can provide clarity and serve as a starting point for building your calendar.
💌 Once you have the framework in place, it's time to delve into the details of each communication. Take, for example, the annual fund campaign. Break it down into its components, such as the solicitation letter, emails, and other promotional materials.
⏰ Determine when each piece needs to be drafted, reviewed, and finalized, and then work backward from the campaign launch date to establish deadlines for each step.
🤝 Throughout this process, it's essential to identify all the stakeholders involved in the approval process. Who needs to review and sign off on the communication? Note these individuals' names and the deadlines for their input on the calendar to avoid any bottlenecks in the process.
🌈 In addition to the basic information, consider including color-coding to distinguish between different types of communications or categorizing tasks by department. This approach can help everyone on your team quickly identify their responsibilities and stay on track.
📆 While creating your initial calendar, you may encounter uncertainties about specific dates or details. Don't let this deter you. Instead, use placeholders or default to the first day of the month, highlighting areas needing further clarification. This allows you to keep the momentum going while providing a visual cue to revisit and finalize these details at a later date.
📬 Moreover, take the opportunity to plan ahead for recurring communications, like weekly email newsletters. Make a note to include relevant events or initiatives in these newsletters so that you can ensure they reach your target audience effectively.
🏢 If your school has multiple departments involved in the communications process, consider creating separate sheets or sections for each department. This way, team members can easily access and manage their responsibilities without confusion.
On the communications calendar, it's essential to include all aspects of your school's communication efforts, not just the emails or newsletters being sent out.
📹 📸 🎉 When planning for the annual fund, you may realize that you need to produce videos showcasing why people love the school. These videos are valuable assets that can be used not only in the fundraising campaign but also for your social media and other promotional activities. Therefore, they should be incorporated into your communications calendar.
📷 ✉️ 🖨️ Beyond videos, there are numerous other tasks and components that need to be captured and accounted for on the calendar. Photos of events and school life should be taken and organized, and signage for events and campaigns must be designed and printed. Invitations for fundraising events need to be ordered and sent out on time. All of these tasks are crucial elements of your communications efforts and deserve a spot on the calendar.
📌📋 To ensure that everything stays on track, consider using a project management system alongside your calendar. This will help you delegate tasks, assign responsibilities to team members, and set deadlines. Effective collaboration is key to making sure that people submit the necessary content when you need it. This way, you can avoid any last-minute rushes or delays and keep your communications efforts running smoothly.
🧩 Having everything in one place and clearly outlined on the communications calendar helps your team visualize the bigger picture and understand the timeline and interconnectedness of all communication-related tasks. It allows everyone involved to stay organized and be accountable for their contributions.
A well-organized communications calendar goes beyond just sending messages; it also helps capture and create content for successful campaigns and engagement efforts. By utilizing a comprehensive approach and tagging team members, you can maintain consistency and avoid last-minute stress. 🚀 #CommunicationCalendar #SchoolSuccess #StayOrganized
This blog came from one of our Small School Solutions live monthly training sessions. The ideas came not only from our expert but from a collaboration with all of the participants. If you think you would be interested in a program like this check out our Small School Solutions page. Or join us for our FREE Small School Leaders monthly meetups. It's a good way to get a feeling for our team and how we work.