Our Equity Story: Communications

CNE initiated a consultant-led communications review in late fall, 2019, to assess CNE’s internal and external communications tactics to determine if the efforts are still relevant, effective, and aligned with the needs of the organization and stakeholders. Staff and the consultant began initial background research and assessment, but that work was suspended in early March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In August, the review work was reinitiated but with a tighter focus and timeline to acknowledge the need for a communications plan in the midst of continued uncertainty and in response to the newly galvanized focus on racial equity and social justice.

With an eye on diversity, equity, and inclusion, CNE conducted research on communication practices and engaged staff and board in a joint discussion on communication goals and tools. Based on this research and engagement, several critical issues emerged including the need to reexamine/revise CNE’s tone and diversity of language and voice to increase inclusiveness and accessibility of CNE communications as well as the need to clearly define purpose/audience/and outcomes for each CNE communication platform.

As a result of this research and engagement focused on our DEI values, CNE developed a communications channel matrix outlining the different CNE communications platforms and the intended audience and outcomes for each. Through that exercise, it became clear that that CNE’s e-Newsletter is the ideal platform to elevate and include diverse perspectives and expertise in our community. In the past 9 months, CNE has sought the wisdom and expertise of community members as guest writers for the bi-weekly newsletter.

  • Thought piece developed by a community member providing mental health resources and support in Fall 2020 in response to the pandemic and social inequities.
  • Including the voice of a Latinx community member to provide a glimpse of Latinx culture during Hispanic Heritage Month.
  • Elevating the perspectives of black community members and their thoughts on being black and proud during Black History Month.
  • A recent newsletter, on the anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, featured a thought piece from a CNE board member outlining a “strategic humanization” framework—focusing on people, communities, and their well-being as the core of community building.

Related resources:

CNE’s FY 21 Communication Channel Matrix (sample)—structure for planning communications across multiple channels

Equity Resources for Nonprofit Communicators & Fundraisers (various resources)—use our platforms to amplify marginalized voices and advance racial justice