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Changing practices INSIDE your organization

February 8th, 2018                         Hanna Lentz-Harry

 

Look around you...the phone sitting next to you, the shirt you are wearing, the mug of coffee on the table...if you purchased them there is a reason why you chose that phone, that shirt, even that coffee. You were influenced by marketing - images, messages, and ideas that led you to make the choice to buy that specific item. Internal marketing is similar, only you focus on employee behaviorsThe behavior is not driving a purchase, it is for staff to start doing something new or differently. With internal marketing you take best practices from the business world and repurpose them to influence the behavior of people inside your organization. 

This blog is the second in a three part series focused on changing practices inside nonprofit organizations. The first blog in this series explored Diffusion of Innovation, (DOI) or “how new ideas or practices spread”. Understanding DOI is important when driving change but how you actually roll out an initiative can make or break your success, and that is what internal marketing is all about. 


Getting Started

While there are many things to consider when building an internal marketing plan, a few core activities will get you started:

  1. Create a team
  2. Set short and long-term goals
  3. Understand your target audience
  4. Map out a benefits exchange
  5. Choose communication channels
  6. Get creative and go!

In this blog we focus on activities 1 – 4. The next and last blog in this series will take you through 5 and 6, and help you bring it all together into a strong internal marketing plan. 


Build Your Internal Marketing Plan

1. Create a Team

Trying to change practices inside your organization alone just won’t work. You need a team – colleagues who share your passion and interests, who can contribute their skills, and whose diversity of ideas will help you build a strong internal marketing campaign. If you don’t already have a team, build one.

FOR EXAMPLE - In Part 1 of this series we highlighted two Case Studies from organizations trying to change staff practices. Here are a few examples of teams from these conservation and animal welfare organizations:

 
climate CHANGE .jpg

Case One: Mid-sized conservation organization in the U.S....

A “small group” had already been created to support the roll out of new project plans. This included two Program Directors, as well as three coordinators from those Directors’ teams. Upon review, they added additional Program staff so that each program area was represented on the team, bringing the total to 8.

street dog DOI blog.jpg
 

Case 2: Small community animal welfare organization in Mexico...

The Director hadn’t yet formed a team, so she asked one of the managers, and three staff members to join. The manager was well liked by staff, and the three field staff had already shown an interest in helping their colleagues implement better practices. One staff member declined because they felt two busy, but the others were happy to join.

 

ACTION FOR YOU

  • Begin by listing out the individuals you think would be interested in your change initiative. Be sure to consider engaging a team that is not only passionate about your change initiative, but who also understand different aspects of your organization's work and culture.  Set up individual meetings with each one so you can explain your idea, listen to their ideas, and decide together if they would like to be part of the internal marketing team.
  • If you DO have a team, take the time to review who is on it. Are you missing anyone that might bring critical skills, connections, or perspectives?  Does your team reflect a diversity of ideas, experiences, or organizational roles? Set up a meeting where you and your team members discuss each individual’s role, skills, and the experiences they bring to the table.

2. Set Short and Long-Term Goals

The first step for internal marketing is really the first step in any good planning process – set SMART goals. By following the SMART framework your goals will be: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Make sure there are goals for the short and long term. 

Setting goals is essential. They help you align all of your internal marketing activities towards a common end point and time period, and they ensure your whole team understands what you are trying to accomplish.  Take your time and develop goals that are meaningful for your and your team.

FOR EXAMPLE - In Part 1 of this series we highlighted two Case Studies from organizations trying to change staff practices. Here are a few examples of SMART goals from these conservation and animal welfare organizations:

 
climate CHANGE .jpg

Case One: Mid-sized conservation organization in the U.S....

  • By Nov 2018, all Program staff will report that they have a clear understanding of how to fill out new project templates.

  • By June 2019, 90% of submitted project plans will be accurately completed.

street dog DOI blog.jpg

Case 2: Small community animal welfare organization in Mexico...

  • By July 2018, all staff interacting with the public will report “improved skills” after attending an internal training on community interaction.

  • By the end of 2019, complaints of staff behavior towards the public will have decreased by 50%.

 

ACTION FOR YOU

  • Bring your team together for a goal-setting meeting. Give everyone 5-10 minutes to work on their own and brainstorm SMART goals. Each goal should reflect only one behavior you wish to influence. Think about tying a specific behavior to a specific goal. Be sure to consider goals in the short and long term.
  • Come together to compare and contrast the different goals. Combine or refine where relevant. Gain consensus on which goals will be relevant, logical and meaningful. Ensure they are SMART!

3. Understand Your Target Audience

Your colleagues will be more or less open to new practices depending on where they fall relative to others on the Diffusion of Innovation curve.  But as you are designing an internal marketing campaign, you have to explore other characteristics too.  

  • What are the INTERESTS of your target audience? When you really get to know and understand the staff in your organization, you are going to be able to develop a marketing campaign that genuinely resonates with them. This means putting yourself in their shoes, and getting to know: what they like, what they don’t like, and what motivates them. Your strategy and tactics should directly reflect the types of things that will resonate with staff.
  • What BARRIERS might prevent your target audience from adopting the behavior? Good intentions and great ideas just aren’t enough. Sometimes things can actually stop people from taking up a new practice and you must think about how to relieve that barrier. For examples, check out this article.
  • Who are the KEY INFLUENCERS? Determine who are the trusted individuals that influence the behaviors of your colleagues. Maybe there is a very charismatic team member or a powerful boss? Key influencers already have the attention of your target audience(s) and you will want to leverage them as part of your plan.

FOR EXAMPLE - In Part 1 of this series we highlighted two Case Studies from organizations trying to change staff practices. Here are a few examples of the audiences these organizations were trying to target:

 
 
climate CHANGE .jpg

Case One: Mid-sized conservation organization in the U.S....

Target Audience: Program managers and their teams.  

These individuals don’t like to be bothered with bureaucracy. They want planning to be simple and efficient.  They also want to secure bigger budgets for their work. They are influenced by one long-time Director, as well as the CEO. They don’t feel like they have time for more training, and that templates and planning processes are changing all the time so there is no point in putting effort into something new.

street dog DOI blog.jpg
 

Case 2: Small community animal welfare organization in Mexico...

Target audience: Field staff interacting with the community.

These individuals love animals and are very proud of their community, but want people take better care of their pets.  They don’t want to have to work overtime and put in long hours. They are influenced by a long-time staff member who is a “guru” with dogs, as well as the local veterinarian. They see suffering every day and are tired telling community members the same things over and over, so it is easy to lose patience and not invest in every little interaction.

 

ACTION FOR YOU

  • Once you have set SMART goals, bring your team together for a meeting to define your target audience(s). List out the group(s) of individuals you are trying to influence in your organization.
  • Identify one or two individuals in each group and set up a brief interview to better understand why they may or may not be doing your desired behavior.  Use your interviews to be able to characterize your target audience by:
    • How they are/are not experiencing the new behavior.
    • What they enjoy or care about in and out of the office.
    • What the barriers or motivators are for doing the new behavior.
    • What usually motivates them to take action?
    • What would make the new behavior REALLY easy for them to do?
  • Brainstorm what might stop your audience from changing.  Avoid things like “they are stubborn” or “they just don’t want to”. Really consider why your audience is not/not able to implement the change.  Maybe they are short on time, patience, or support.
  • Consider which individuals are influential to your target audience. Who do they admire or trust in the office or community, or who has success in influencing the things they do?  List out the key influencers for your target audience(s). 

4. Map Out a Benefits Exchange

Now that you have a much better understanding of your audience, you need to map out how your new practice will benefit your target audience(s). This is called a “benefits exchange”, and it helps you communicate the benefits of the new practice to your target audience by allowing you to tailor and target your messaging and tactics. Whether you are talking to your team or the Executive Director, these messages will help you be as effective as possible with your messaging.

FOR EXAMPLE - In Part 1 of this series we highlighted two Case Studies from organizations trying to change staff practices. Here is an example benefits exchange for target audiences in these organizations.

 
climate CHANGE .jpg

Case One: Mid-sized conservation organization in the U.S....

Target Audience: Program managers

  • Will be able to make a strong case for increased budgets.

  • Better able to monitor outcomes and report on progress.

  • Will clearly understand what the Director’s expect in the plans.

street dog DOI blog.jpg
 

Case 2: Small community animal welfare organization in Mexico...

Target audience: Field staff interacting with the community.

  • Will be more likely to change someone’s pet care habits.

  • Share the consistent messaging with your peers.

  • Feel less stressed by negative interactions.

 

ACTION FOR YOU

  • Once you have your SMART goals and have captured the critical details about your target audience, bring your team together to map out a benefits exchange.
  • Create a table where you list the target audience(s) along the top. Go through each audience one by one, and brainstorm how they would benefit from the change. What’s important is that you think about it from their perspective. Remember what matters to them!
  • Next map out the specific barriers to the change.  What and how can you remove those barriers to make the benefits outweigh the barriers?

What comes next?

If you’ve completed steps 1-4 you’ve made great headway on developing an internal marketing plan, but the planning isn’t done!  Keep an eye out for the next blog in this series where we help you bring it all together. The final blog will cover communications channels, and will help you merge all components into a solid plan you can use right now.

In the meantime, feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or want to learn more about changing practices inside your organization!