Getting the message across in an increasingly crowded information jungle is one of the greatest challenges facing association and charity executives. Such organisations at the upper end of the scale have the ability to engage specialist staff or contractors to communicate professionally. The majority of NFP entities can be hard pressed to meet the demands of busy readers with limited attention spans.  To make the break-through, demands special consideration.

Everybody likes a good story to give meaning to advice, requests for assistance, and calls for action and benefit from examples to give it credibility.  Every good story starts with good preparation and there are five essential elements in all communications to make them effective.


  1. You the communicator

What is your relationship with the subject and the recipient or your audience?

How do they know and recognise you?  What are your credentials?


  1. Them, the targets of you message

Who are they?  What interests them?

What is their preferred style and channel of communication?


  1. The message

What is your introduction?

Can it be distilled down into three sentences if necessary?


  1. The objective

What do you want the recipient or your audience to do?

How do you want them to react?


  1. Outcome

What do you hope to achieve?

How do you expect your recipients to reply?


The relationship between the five elements can be explained in the following examples:

  • Requesting funding for a new project
  • Recruiting for a vacant position
  • Delivering a difficult message involving compromise
  • Achieving performance and time specific action


You need to cover the What and the Why? The message has to align the interests of A and B.  What is in it for them to make it happen?


In the final analysis keep your communication as short and simple as possible. And when everything fails, pick up the telephone to request action. The over reliance on email accounts for much wasted effort in communication, with increasing evidence that a return to snail mail succeeds where digital text delivery fails. Most of us frequently overlook an email item, but never fail to open a letter. The advice given here equally applies to both media.

NZARC welcomes enquiries from subscribers concerning any subject carried herein for further information and assistance in the implementation of any advice forming part of it, which can be directed to the NZARC on Tel 419-0042 during office hours or via email


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