Designing NPO Communications To Catalyze Change & Digital Activism

All nonprofits have concrete reasons for existing, but many still struggle to receive the attention their mission deserves online. In this episode of the Strategic Nonprofit Podcast, host Trista sits down with Eric Ressler to discuss the importance of designing nonprofit communications in a way that catalyzes change, increases social impact and enhances your digital activism efforts.

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What is meant by “attention economy”?

An attention economy is the collective human capacity to engage with the many aspects of our environments that require mental focus. Overall, an attention economy acknowledges that the human capacity for attention is limited and that the information for that attention exceeds the capacity.

How does “attention economy” impact nonprofit organizations?

In simple terms, so much of our knowledge, communication, and connections happen through digital channels. Now, information has become more easily accessible to more people through these digital channels. The scarcity is no longer access to information. More so, the scarcity is access to our attention and sustained attention.

For example, information overload and overwhelm, especially on mobile devices and other digital devices we use to communicate. This kind of feeling of a very noisy environment has all sorts of implications for our lives as individuals. Not just in terms of our personal or professional lives, but as it relates to social impact organizations.

Designing communications for social impact & digital activism

How can you capture people’s attention? Get your message, story and ask across to them in a way that’s meaningful and sustained over time.

Eric Ressler

At a fundamental level, it’s about having a clear set of values that drive your work, a clear mission and vision for the organization and what you’re doing because everything stems from that. More so, designing communications for your NPO requires thinking deeply about the following several critical elements:

  • Theory of Change: Consider your theory on how you’re actually going to affect change in the problem you see. Then being really clear about that. So that you can explain it to someone outside of the space in a couple of minutes, like an elevator pitch.
  • Brand Identity: To stand out from other nonprofits in the space from a visual standpoint (fonts, colours, logo, imagery), you must develop a cohesive brand identity.
  • Advertising Channels: Whether that’s social advertising, magazine placements, radio commercials or podcasts.

More about Eric Ressler

Eric Ressler is the founder and creative director of Design by Cosmic. Eric has extensive expertise in brand development and digital strategy development and execution for profit-driven companies and social impact organizations. Over the years, he has delivered complex web and brand projects for national, international, and local brands. Overall, he constantly explores new ways to use design and technology to help clients build awareness, increase engagement, get more donations, and reach their goals.

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