Spitfire Strategies

Spitfire’s SmartScan™: A New Communication Tool for Nonprofits and Foundations

At Spitfire, we know how to help organizations boost their communication to advance their social change goals.

With generous support from the Ford Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Spitfire developed the SmartScan. This free, online tool helps assess where an organization is poised to be a communication powerhouse and where it has room to improve.

Users answer a series of questions about their organization’s current practices and receive a tailored report detailing where they can focus attention to improve their communication.

The SmartScan features four modules. An organization can take them all at once to get an overarching assessment of its communication assets and needs, or focus on one area at a time. The modules include:

  • Identity: An organization with a strong brand understands and lives its identity – who it is and what it stands for – and knows how to communicate that brand to others and embed it in everything it does. This module assesses a nonprofit’s brand strength and integration.
  • Planning: Too often, organizations focus on bright and shiny tactics – press outreach, events, social media, etc. – before putting a strategy in place. Here, nonprofits find out if they have a strong plan, clear audiences and compelling messages – all the basics needed for strong communication efforts.
  • Best Practices: To communicate effectively, organizations must integrate effective communication into their daily operations. This module assesses how an organization is doing when it comes to implementing best practices in critical communication areas (e.g., media relations, storytelling, digital strategy, etc.). It also notes whether the nonprofit is a learning organization and how well it stays up-to-date on new communication best practices.
  • Results: Above all, an organization’s communication activities must lead to progress. This module offers a way to determine whether an organization has the right systems in place for tracking results and the discipline to act on what they discover.

The SmartScan also gives foundations a clear view of their grantees’ materials and systems, and a way to engage with them in the process. The payoff is a clear understanding of what they are doing well and should keep doing – and where more communication capacity or resources will enable them to create a bigger impact.

Do you want to make sure your organization has what it takes to communicate effectively? Or are you considering how to help your grantees integrate communication best practices? Check out the SmartScan at http://spitfiresmartscan.org/ or contact Spitfire to schedule a private online demo of the tool.

“This truly is the gold standard of executive training.  I have benefited greatly.”

- Roland Stringfellow, Director of Ministerial Outreach, Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies

Decolonizing Narratives and Communicating Justice: Spitfire at ComNet19

Mike Carter-Conneen

By Mike Carter-Conneen

  At the Communications Network Annual Conference in Austin, Texas, Spitfire Strategies was proud to host a breakout session called “Decolonizing Narratives: Authentic Messaging, Ceding Control and Reckoning with Reality.” The panel, moderated by Spitfire Director Nima Shirazi, explored the blind spots of communication professionals, the problematic choices we can… (read more)

Spitfire’s 17th Season: Leading an Evolution

Kristen Grimm

By Kristen Grimm

  2002. It was a big year. George W. Bush came up with the term “Axis of Evil.” Serena Williams won her first single’s title at Wimbledon. American Idol premiered and MTV unleashed “The Osbournes” reality show. I also started my own reality series – Spitfire Strategies. It is in… (read more)

Making Your Pitches Count: Tips for Top-Notch Media Pitching Part Three

Hannah Ross

By Hannah Ross
Senior Account Executive

  Communication professionals are no strangers to the challenges that journalists are facing today, from the demands of the 24-hour news cycle to budget shortfalls and understaffed newsrooms. We respect them for their tenacity and commitment to uncovering the truth, and we value being able to build relationships with them… (read more)

Sign up to receive Spitfire Sparks

You’ll receive our latest smarts on the causes you care about and updates on our free tools.