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Walton Family Foundation grantee communication program

Walton Family Foundation


Spitfire worked with the Walton Family Foundation to increase the capacity of its environmental grantees to create and deliver tailored messaging to educate policymakers and change their perspective on environmental issues.

The goal of the training program was to help both US-based and international grantees learn how to craft and deliver messages based on the identified values and likely barriers of their priority audiences in a way that connects their specific issues to the current moment. We also wanted to help participants understand where the opportunities are for smart communication and how to take advantage of them.

Spitfire provided a series of three highly interactive virtual training focused on identifying and learning about target audiences, navigating opportunities by understanding the communication ecosystem, and building media engagement and relationships.

We also provided a bank of follow-up coaching hours that participants used to discuss any lingering questions or get feedback and support on the implementation of their strategy.

We began the program process by assessing and working with more than 20 grantees for communication needs. Participants provided a list of skills and activities that would move their strategies forward and a few details about the work required.

Some groups requested coaching that was limited to feedback or reviewing materials, or suggestions and advice on media engagement, digital strategies, creating a pitch deck or messaging. We found that the group engagements that included the executive director and communication manager and eventually the whole staff made the most creative and successful use of the coaching and training.

For example, one larger collaboration among groups requested that Spitfire assist in coordinating communication support to ensure their teams received the training and follow-up support needed to continue their forward momentum. This included developing a communication plan to engage new funders, improve media engagement and begin storytelling for a specific campaign. We held additional staff workshops to ensure the training was put to good use. Spitfire coaches followed up each training with an opportunity for their staff to workshop through the materials provided and align them with their overall strategy.

At the end of the training, all participants were able to consider their communication in the context of the dynamism and change of the pandemic and write and deliver talking points that are appropriate to their priority audiences, match their values, overcome their barriers and persuade their audiences to [take action, increase their involvement, whatever they are trying to persuade them to do].

Spitfire services employed

Communication coaching


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Issues Covered

Climate and Environment