Develop a communication strategy to inform clients, staff and other stake holders about the relocation of a community service organization to a nearby suburb. The new location is well served by public transportation, as it is close to a major shopping center, but staff parking will be limited. 

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A communication strategy that targets employees, customers/clients, and others about the pending relocation of a community service organization is relatively simple, especially in the era of electronic communications (email, for example). A modified version of the same basic bulletin can be applied to each category, and the message targeting employees...

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can be the simplest.

Communicating to staff the planned relocation of the community service organization at which they are employed should be done as soon as practicable, as it may necessitate serious decisions among staff regarding the possible need to relocate residences or, given restrictions on staff parking space availability, changes to the way individual staffers commute to and from work. The message should lay out the facts—the organization is moving to a new location that offers convenient mass transit options that may be needed given limitations on parking spaces. The message should convey a sense of empathy for the staff who will be inconvenienced by the move but qualify that empathy with an emphasis on the positive aspects of the relocation (for example, the new location may be near a shopping mall that offers more lunch options and mass transit). The dates on which preparations for the move and the final relocation of personnel and equipment will be made should be included.

The communication strategy should be modified for customers by excluding staff-specific information, such as the lunch opportunities provided by a location near a shopping mall, but should include information intended to allay any concerns among clients anxious about change. The message should emphasize the benefits to clients of the relocation, such as the mass transit options available. (This is useful for clients without personal transportation and the elderly, who might be nervous about driving to new locations.) The ways in which the new location is better for clientele should be emphasized. Whereas messages to staff can be conveyed via email, messages to clients should be made via postal service. Hard copies of important bulletins are more reliable and personal than blast emails.

Regarding “other stakeholders,” modifications to the basic message may need to be tailored to specific individuals or organizations. This category of recipient should more closely mirror the message sent to clients, as it would be more formal. It should explain the rationale for the relocation and emphasize the benefits while noting that the move might involve inconveniences for some.

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A communications strategy is designed to convey your organization's objectives and goals clearly to all stakeholders. The communication strategy usually begins with a statement of purpose--in other words, why you are producing the strategy. In this case, you could write that you want to convey to stakeholders why you are relocating the community service organization. 

You would then likely include an analysis of the current state of your organization, including a SWOT analysis. This involves looking at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to your organization. In this case, you could analyze what your organization is doing well (serving clients), as well as what your organization needs to achieve (which might include making your organization more accessible to clients). Your organization now has the opportunity to move to be more accessible to certain types of clients (such as those who need public transportation). The threat is that clients aren't perhaps coming to your current organization, as it's not well served by transportation. Another threat is that the new location doesn't include sufficient parking for staff.

You can then discuss your organization's objectives, or goals and how the communications department can help achieve those goals. For example, your goal could be to improve the accessibility of the organization to clients. To achieve this goal, the communications staff will reach out to potential clients by posting ads in the nearby shopping mall or through the media, explaining how the organization can help these clients and how accessible the new location will be for clients. The communications strategy should then identify key stakeholders, such as clients, staff, the board of trustees, grant organizations, etc., and discuss how you will reach them. For example, the communications department might want to provide success stories to the grant organizations and board of trustees to encourage them to continue to support the organization. 

The communications strategy should also develop the message it wants to deliver, as well as the method and plans for doing so. For example, if the message is that the new organization is more accessible to clients, who are visiting the nearby shopping mall and using public transportation, the message might include the convenience of the organization and how it can help clients in an efficient way. The message could be delivered through ads in the mall, designed by a publicity firm. Finally, the communications strategy should develop the means to evaluate how effective it has been. How will the organization know it has met its goals? Will it, for example, evaluate success based on the number of new clients that come to the new location in one year?

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