Introduction: Foundations and Communication

Communications is more than just publicity: it’s all the ways a foundation advances its own programs and the work of its grantees by connecting with clients, community leaders, the press, donors, peer organizations, funders, and other constituencies. But it’s not always seen that way. “I came to the foundation from a community organizing background,” recalled one grantmaker. “And I remember being startled by the [foundation’s] tendency to think about communications as one-way. It seemed to be about getting people to do what we wanted them to do.” Communications is not just strategic or part of strategy: communications is strategy, and the questions begin as far upstream as they do with any carefully considered grantmaking. “I try to avoid using the word ‘strategic,’ as in ‘strategic communications,’” said a communications advisor. “All communications should be strategic.”

Takeaways are critical, bite-sized resources either excerpted from our guides or written by Candid Learning for Funders using the guide's research data or themes post-publication. Attribution is given if the takeaway is a quotation.

This takeaway was derived from Communicating For Impact.