Communicating across Collaboration
Strong Foundations For Our Youngest Children

Communicating Across Collaboration

These tools, strategies and examples ensure support for planning and implementation of communication across all levels of the collaboration and community. The communication includes both internal and external communication to engage the public in the work.


  1. Developing a Communication Plan – This guide covers the steps of developing a communication plan, starting with figuring out the aim of the communication plan, developing objectives, acknowledging key messages as well as a target audience, planning tasks, and timelines for evaluating the communication plan.
  2. Planning Before You Communicate – This set of worksheets is a step by step primer on the basics of communication and why it is critical. These worksheets include prompting questions to guide the focus of the communications needed, relating these to specific projects and connecting to data. One worksheet breaks down the types of communication (email, print, elevator speech, etc) and how each may be implemented.
  3. Communication and Engagement Workbook – This workbook outlines a five-step process for a communications campaign and includes fillable forms to support utilizing the process. The forms support identifying characteristics of key audiences, crafting different levels of messages, and outlining milestones, or key activities, to delivering the communications plan and messages.
  4. Communications Committee Descriptions – This resource includes a description on the work and responsibilities of a committee dedicated to marketing and communication work, within a collaboration structure.
  5. Communications Templates
    1. Executive Summary Communication Template – This tool is an outline of the content areas to be covered in a brief, executive summary, giving an overview of the work of the collaboration. Each field includes guidance on the information to cover related to the targeted audience.
    2. Bridgespan Template - This tool focuses on communication content and approach specific to the implementation of a new strategic plan, or action plan, across multiple audiences.
    3. Communication Product Action Plan – This tool focuses on distribution of specific pieces of communication, outreach or education. Sample products covered include a brochure and a kindergarten readiness calendar.
    4. Communication and Outreach Plan – This sample outlines a strategic communication and outreach plan for annual use including target audience, action steps, timelines and actual deliverable tracking.
    5. Collaborative Newsletter –This sample template covers fields to include in a collaborative newsletter.
    6. Sample Newsletter – This newsletter is a sample from a community collaboration.
  6. Spreading the word: 40+ ways to reach people – This resource lists a number of creative ways to reach the target population.
  7. How to Hold a Press Conference – This tool covers detailed information on the hosting of a press conference. The tool assists in making decisions about the information to present, how to present it, who will present it, as well as how to engage the press.
  8. Community Description Worksheet – The worksheet lists questions/criteria to include in providing an overview of the member organization and/or overall partnership.
    1. Sample Description – Santa Barbara Collective Impact Collaboration
    2. Sample Description – This one page fact sheet for city based collaboration communicates the focus and approach of the collaboration, including ways for the reader to get involved.
    3. Sample Description – Example from Michigan demonstrating how to use data to communicate about community need.
    4. Sample Description – Example fact sheet from North Carolina partnership outlining the impact and need for early childhood.
  9. Tips for Conducting Interviews and Focus Groups – Provides tips for approaching interviews and focus groups as part of collaboration work.
  10. Conducting Focus Groups – This resource provides information on how and when to use focus groups and includes a bibliography of focus group resources.
  11. Conducting Public Forums and Listening Sessions – Provides information on when and how to use public forums and listening sessions.
  12. Crisis Communication Plan: Nonprofit Toolkit – This toolkit includes detailed, step-by-step advice and checklists to manage crisis communications. The general information within is intended to be used as a template for nonprofits to adapt and implement.
  13. Meeting and Agenda Reporting Tool - This tool provides a template that can be used when developing meeting agendas and reporting on the outcomes of meetings, with a focus on using meetings to accomplish goals.
  14. Meeting Summary Template – This tool provides a standard format that can be used to develop consistent meeting summaries.
  15. Communication Strategies to Build Collaboration – This tool covers communication strategies that can be used by individuals to work collaboratively in group settings. The strategies are designed to build individual capacity and skills with examples to assist in implementing the various communication techniques.
  16. Parent Coalitions Communication – These resources include an introduction letter for parents and a one pager designed to answer parent questions about engaging in the collaboration through the parent leadership coalition.