Developing a clear and consistent communications policy for your NGO will contribute to the fulfillment of your annual financial plan. Considering that contacting donors for general enquiry, updates, and day-to-day clarifications is vital to your NGO, it is important that the ways in which members of staff make use of available means of communication is constantly monitored and recorded.
Ideally your office will be provided with a telephone line, fax, and a fast Internet connection. Accordingly, employees and volunteers will make use of said means of communication to carry out their daily activities. A successful policy will ensure that all the communications are made in a cost effective way to cut on unnecessary expenses. Below you will find useful tips to develop your own communications policy.
1) General guidelines. Telephone calls should be limited to your local area. In fact, long-distance calls could be extremely expensive and, often, unnecessary. Instead, state in your policy document that the preferential means of communication shall be considered the e-mail. Donors and potential stakeholders are normally easily reachable via e-mail. In case of long-term working relationships with someone based abroad, make sure to agree with your partner to communicate via e-mails. In doing so, you will ensure that they will consistently check their inbox. If you are interacting with someone living in a different time zone, account for the time gap when sending your e-mail and in order to estimate when is realistic to expect to receive an answer (keep this in mind if you need an urgent answer to your queries). Consider asking to existing partners whether you could contact them via Skype. In fact, it could be quicker to talk to them and, by using Skype you won’t incur in expensive telephone bills.
If you need to contact a potential donor or collaborator, look up for their e-mail address and ask, at the end of your mail, whether they would rather be contacted in other ways to ensure that you are meeting their communications policy. However, always state that your preferential means of communication is electronic.
Fax should be used to send important documents when electronic submissions are not possible. Keep the length of faxes at minimum when possible.
It could be necessary to dispatch parcels with documents or other material for dissemination or advertisement campaigns. Make sure to research your area and to find the cheapest courier. Establish a long-term working relationship with them and ask whether they offer special rates for returning customers.
2) Monitoring and regulation of the access of staff to existing means of communications. Once you clarified the preferential ways in which your NGO shall contact people and institutions make sure to clarify ways in which the office staff will use the office equipment. First of all, it should be made clear that, in general, no private calls shall be made from the office. Prepare a form to be placed near the telephone in which each call must be recorded. In doing so, you will find it easier to monitor the usage of the telephone line and also, private calls shall be highlighted and paid for at the end of the month. If staff needs to make calls when working outside the office, provide them with credit for their mobile phones or pre-paid telephone cards. In doing so, you will ensure that nobody is taking advantage of the NGO financial resources.
It is also important that all the electronic communications relevant to ongoing projects are filed in a shared folder that is made available to everybody in order to keep all the office updated.

Source:  fundsforngos