For most people, the word “audit” is a negative term, creating mental images of government bureaucrats and grim-faced accountants.

In the communications and marketing world, the concept is not nearly so dire. In fact, businesses and nonprofits that want to succeed should embrace conducting a messaging or communications audit.

At BWF, we work with universities, health systems, and NGOs to improve and empower their communications and marketing programs. Often, the first step in this process is an assessment, or audit, of their ongoing marketing and communications efforts.

There are a handful of factors that indicate conducting a messaging or communications audit is warranted. These include:

  • When your leadership can’t agree on what your organization’s message is, or should be
  • When you put together your publications and electronic communications from the past year and can’t pinpoint a recurring message or singular graphic identity
  • When you aren’t sure you’re reaching your most important audiences
  • When you can’t decide which of your audiences are most important
  • When your nonprofit isn’t making as large an impact on the communities you serve as you’d like to see
  • When, as a nonprofit, you aren’t sure how best to reach the people you want to help
  • When, as a college or university, you’re not convinced you’re reaching potential donors in a way that is both engaging and reinforcing

Factors in communications audit graphic

If you are presented with any of these indicators—or if you found yourself nodding in agreement as you read them—then it’s time to conduct a messaging or communications audit.

A thorough audit includes talking with your organization’s communications professionals and leadership (and, if appropriate, board members) to gain an understanding of your organization’s key messages. First and foremost, you’ll want to understand how your organization perceives itself and what messages it believes are being communicated to your audiences.

Next, you’ll want to review your communications vehicles in detail. From high-level annual reports to next-level TikTok videos, you need to understand the messages you’re sending to your audiences every day and whether or not you’re being consistent and integrating your efforts. Ideally, you’d then conduct research with your target audiences to determine how effective your efforts are, what they think of your organization, and whether or not what you’re projecting is what they’re receiving.

Equipped with all of the insights from the audit, you’ll be ready to fine-tune and target your messaging to be more effective in reaching your key audiences and improve your storytelling.

BWF is ready to take you through a step-by-step process so you get the information you need to improve your external communications with the audiences that count on you. After all, you’re doing great things for the communities you serve. The stories you tell should reflect the tremendous impact your organization, hospital, school, college, or university is making. At BWF, we’ll provide the third-party perspective and expertise to drive greater engagement with the audiences you need to reach.

And it all starts with the one word we’ve been taught to fear—audit.

Interested in learning more? Reach out today to start the conversation.