A little advance preparation will help you get ready now for any marketing or public relations opportunity that comes along. Spending some time on these items before they are needed will ensure you can respond quickly and professionally when you get a media call, need to whip together a promotional package for an event or project, develop a proposal or speak at a conference.

A key messages document – short 1-3 sentence statements on topics like mission, operations, key projects or services, history, recognition or honors, support from the community.

Biographies – one-page biographies of the executive members, senior personnel, board members.

Head shots – professional quality headshots of key personnel and well as board chairperson.

Organization profiles – short (less than 200 words) and full-page profile on the organization, program and services and geographic area served.

Fact sheet – a bulleted list of relevant statistics and historical information about the organization and key projects.

Logos – organization logos, in black and white and colour, in a variety of formats, e.g. lower resolution .jpg for web use or online, higher resolution like .eps or .tif for print.

Photos – a selection of good quality photos that illustrate the mission in action, with a corresponding caption and identification of people, if applicable.

Lists – gather and update periodically lists of media, political representatives in your area, public service announcements and free community billboards.

Testimonials – maintain a file of compliments and thanks.

Allies and competitors – have a basic understanding of your partners and allied organizations, as well as your competitors.

Contact lists – email, telephone, addresses for staff and board members. Print it out for the days your server goes down! This is guaranteed to happen when you need to get into your database in a hurry.

If you ensure you have these items you’ll never be caught unprepared. The next time an unexpected opportunity comes up, you can spend your time making the most of it instead of doing the eleventh hour dash.

About the Author

Sherri Garrity is a consultant and coach who specializes in helping organizations achieve greater results through better communications from the inside out. She is the president of Make It Count Communications and author of the Ready, Aim, Inspire! blog for nonprofit organizations. www.makeitcountcommunications.com/blog