Strategic communication management in the non-profit sector: a simplified model


Marlene N. Wiggill, School of Communication Studies, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, Potchefstroom, South Africa.



  • A model for strategic communication management was developed in South Africa on the basis of the excellence study and relationship management theories. This normative, theoretical model has been applied as part of a project in non-profit organisations (NPOs), government institutions and small-to-medium sized companies. However, the operational reality of organisations' communication practices has not been measured against the model. It was therefore the objective of this article to comprehend the participating NPOs' operational and strategic communication management context. It was discovered that although NPOs can theoretically apply the normative Steyn and Puth model, it is not practically feasible, because of the NPOs' unique constraints.
  • Thereafter, the development of a simplified model on the basis of sound theoretical principles for NPOs to implement strategic communication management was carried out, notwithstanding their constraints and limited resources. The steps/actions indicated in the simplified model are aligned to the NPOs' real and current practice, within the requirements of strategic communication management. By simplifying the model, and focusing on what NPOs are already doing, misconceptions about the complexity and feasibility of communication management might be clarified. It is also recommended that staff members of NPOs, who are responsible for communication and relationship management, be trained to strategically manage communication and stakeholder relationships. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.