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Helping Content Strategy: What Technical Communicators Can Do for Non-Profits

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Purpose: Contemporary non-profit organizations must reach a variety of audiences in order to sustain themselves and must compel these audiences to take action on behalf of a specific cause. At the same time, past research has indicated that non- profit professionals often lack the necessary training and expertise to leverage digital technologies for effective communication. This research study explores how technical communicators can assist non-profits by helping them develop effective content strategies.
Method: This report of research findings is based on an ongoing Participatory Action Research (PAR) project, which included a series of focus groups with representatives of thirteen different organizations as well as interventions with several other organizations. The goal has been to learn about and help improve non-profit content strategy in the community of Greenville, North Carolina.
Results: We found that while non-profits do rely on a variety of media to fulfill their goals, they prefer pre-digital media. Our participants also defined audiences in a very loose manner, used content in a non-targeted way, and favored existing organizational processes over content strategy best practices.
Conclusions: Ultimately, we provide several ways technical communicators can assist non-profits through low-cost or free consulting and the development of educational materials. We hope that fellow professionals will engage in this necessary work because non-profits in the United States form an important "third sector" of the economy that provides essential services to countless individuals.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2022

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  • Technical Communication, the Society's journal, publishes articles about the practical application of technical communication theory and serves as a common arena for discussion by practitioners. Technical Communication includes both quantitative and qualitative research while showcasing the work of some of the field's most noteworthy writers. Among its most popular features are the helpful book reviews. Technical Communication is published quarterly and is free with membership.
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