Spitfire Strategies

Learning
Learning

Increasing the Knowledge and Building the Skills of Nonprofit Organizations and Foundations One A-Ha Moment at a Time

In the crowded marketplace of competing ideas, being loud doesn’t mean you’ll be heard. Spitfire believes being smart about who you need to reach and how – and being clear about what separates you from the others – will take you farther every time. That’s why we are dedicated to helping foundations and nonprofits harness the power of communication to create an impact in their efforts to promote positive social change.

Our talented staff of communication professionals has decades of experience – from grassroots advocacy to the halls of Congress. We understand the challenges nonprofits face and we know what works and what doesn’t. We have unique insights into how best to identify and connect with the audiences that have the power to create change. And our favorite thing to do is share what we know and help make a difference.

Training

Spitfire helps nonprofits and foundations be heard.

Spitfire’s tailored training programs offer strategy and skills-building sessions that strengthen participants’ communication expertise from the inside out. Each Spitfire training is custom made to meet the individual needs of our clients. Ranging from half-day sessions to a year-long academy, Spitfire’s trainings offer help to nonprofit executives and organizations, foundation staff, coalitions or to a cross section of any of the above. The common denominator is the need to establish a stronger voice and create a bigger impact. And who couldn’t use a little help with that?

Our Executive Training Program gives nonprofit leaders the opportunity to build the skills they need to more effectively articulate their vision, allocate resources, inspire action and drive their organizations toward their goals.

Spitfire’s Planning to Win™ campaign planning institute is designed to help organizations put winning strategies in place.

Spitfire’s tailored foundation-sponsored grantee trainings are single or multi-day programs specifically geared to meet the unique interests and needs of the participants.

Our Grantmaker Training helps foundation staff members build the communication skills and strategies they need to make their grant dollars go further.

From Big Ideas to Big Change™ helps foundation staff better understand how to integrate strategic communication into their change strategies and communicate with and engage their grantees and other audiences in their change strategies. This training will help you clarify the way your foundation talks about your change strategy (often known as a theory of change) and give you tips and tools to communicate the change strategy to your grantees and beyond.

Spitfire offers skills-building workshops on topics tailored around the specific needs of the training participants. Popular topics include:

  • Audience targeting and messaging: Participants learn how to determine which audiences they need to reach, craft tailored messages that will resonate with these audiences, and how to erase the term “general public” from their vocabulary.
  • Presentation skills: Participants learn how to create strong content and understand the basics of effective presentation design. Spitfire provides participants with a planning tool to take their next PowerPoint to the next level. We also offer executive coaching to help participants overcome their stage fright and become polished speakers.
  • Storytelling: Spitfire helps nonprofits understand and craft stories designed to resonate with media, funders, activists, legislators and other target audiences while creating a storytelling culture. We help nonprofits and foundations use stories effectively and create a story telling culture that supports their goals by ensuring target audiences understand their work.
  • Media relations:  Our media training helps participants think through the strategic goals of media opportunities, focus on their target audience and create and refine their message points, turning forgettable words into memorable sound bites.
  • Policymaker outreach: When it comes to creating positive social change, reaching out to policymakers can be both incredibly important and completely mystifying. The key to success is making sure policymakers on the right committees are well educated on your issue and consider it a priority by understanding how that issue connects to their constituents. Spitfire helps clients navigate their way through this process.

Tools

Smart Chart™ is Spitfire’s signature communication planning tool that offers a practical approach to developing a communication plan by guiding participants through the choices that must be made to put a successful strategy in place. We call it “Smart” because it helps you make smart decisions for high-impact results – every step of the way.

Designed specifically for foundations and nonprofits, the Smart Chart walks you through six logical steps to a truly tailored communication plan. If you have a goal, the Smart Chart can help you build a smart strategy to reach it. And if you don’t have a goal, the Smart Chart will help you get one. It is also available online, so that you can craft a winning communication plan right away!

Discovering the Activation Pointshows how organizations can overcome barriers to taking action and persuade their supporters to actually get involved. Support is great – but real change requires your supporters to get off the sidelines and into the game. Easier said than done, right? Discovering the Activation Point™ is a series of peer-reviewed, field-tested best practices designed to turn passive supporters into active champions. Using this guide, you can:

  • Identify who you need to persuade to reach your goals;
  • Figure out how to get them to act; and
  • Think through when you want them to act.

From Big Ideas to Big Changeexamines gaps in the way foundations integrate their grantees into their strategies for change. It offers resources and best practices from the field to help foundations communicate more clearly with their grantees in order to effectively engage them in their mission. It will help you clarify the way your foundation talks about your change strategy (often known as a theory of change) and give you tips and tools to communicate the change strategy to your grantees and beyond.

The Just Enough Planning Guide™ was developed to help those looking to create winning policy campaigns, issue campaigns, corporate campaigns or public education campaigns. Based on findings from a comprehensive search to find the perfect approach to campaign planning, this unique tool provides organizations and coalitions with just enough of a process for planning successful campaigns. The Interactive Just Enough Planning Guide™ provides users with an online, interactive approach to the planning process. As you work your way through the tool, you’ll have several opportunities to evaluate your answers and ensure you are making the smartest choices. At the end of the process, you will have a fully completed plan that links your organization’s objectives to the many strategic decisions necessary for a successful campaign.

Coaching

Spitfire offers nonprofits and foundations one-on-one coaching to make sure they have the support they need to integrate our strategies and tools into their daily work. From audience targeting to message development to communication planning and implementation, we make sure training participants have the support they need to take the learning home and use it to create an impact.

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