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Ohio State University Extension


Communicating Your Organization’s Message

Community Development
Kenzie Johnston, Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources/Community Development, Ohio State University Extension, Delaware County

Why are you here? What purpose do you serve? What difference do you make? Every organization should ask these key questions. It is equally important, however, for the organization’s members to be aware of answers to these questions. When every member of an organization and its stakeholders, supporters, customers, and funders understand how the organization impacts their lives and their communities, they can capitalize on opportunities to communicate its purpose and value.

Creating such an awareness requires effective communication and enables others to communicate messages efficiently and effectively (Gisler 2018), reinforcing the organization’s vision and focus, clarifying its purpose, and demonstrating relevance. The ability to effectively communicate is a valuable skill that is key to success (Impey 2020).

Benefits for the Organization

Most organizations have a general understanding of why they exist, but their members may not be able to effectively respond when asked the questions above. Their responses would likely vary widely. According to Schulenklopper & Rommes (2016), “The information that’s relevant changes with every audience and occasion.” To cultivate awareness and the ability to act when needed, it is critical for organizations to, “deliver one clear, concise, consistent message over a long period of time” (Stenitzer n.d.).

Focusing attention on the organization’s ability to communicate its message helps clarify an organization’s purpose and enables its members to share its message effectively and efficiently with others. Communicating the organization’s message aids in reinforcing its purpose and establishing its relevance in ways that cultivate commitment among the organization’s members and stakeholders.

Your Approach

What you are about should be at the core of all your organization’s communications. Yet “clarity can be one of the most challenging things to achieve when writing” (Gisler 2018). The goal is to create a simple and inspiring message that is easy to relate to and understand. It must be easy to clearly communicate as well. "Effective communication means adapting the message to the audience, speaking their language, and selecting only the relevant information and presenting it accessibly,” (Schulenklopper & Rommes 2016).

 Directional sign with arrows labeled “clear,” “concise,” “complete,” and “correct” pointing in different directions.To create an organizational message, begin with the following questions:

  1. What are the key ideas you want to convey?
  2. What audience(s) are you trying to reach? What language and wording will best resonate with them?
  3. What are the three most important things you want your audience to take away from your communication efforts?

As you begin to think through the prompts above, be sure to factor in these additional considerations:

  1. Are you using common language? Will your target audience relate?
  2. How can you be more concise? Push yourself to identify and focus on why your organization exists.
  3. In what context will you share your message? Work through how, when and where you will communicate your message. Strategize for opportunities to engage stakeholders and others.
  4. Are their different messages for different audiences? Review, reflect, and refine as needed.

Message Map Framework

To help you identify the essence of your message, you may want to work through a message map tool to help you organize your thoughts.

  1. What do we do?
  2. How do we do it?
  3. Who do we do it for?
  4. What value do we bring?

Our attention span can be short—as short as 8.25 seconds according to the Statistic Brain Research Institute. To help focus your message, try working through the opening questions above within these three boundaries:

  1. twenty-seven words
  2. that can be shared in nine seconds
  3. covering three main points

This framework requires you to use simple language that resonates with your audience.


Whether communicating in person or in writing, an organization needs to know and effectively communicate the organization’s purpose to stakeholders to demonstrate the difference it makes in the lives of the people it serves. Effectively communicating your organization message is possible with practice. Doing so clarifies and reinforces the organization’s purpose and demonstrates its relevance.


Impey, Corinne. 2020. “Clear, Concise, Consistent—The Three Cs of Effective Communication.” Chartered Professional Accountants British Columbia (CPABC), January 24, 2020, pg. 40.

Gisler, Fritz. 2018. “Clear, Concise, Consistent—The Three Fundamentals of Good Writing (and Communication).” LinkedIn, November 26, 2018.

Stenitzer, George. n.d. “Break Through: Keep Your Message Short and Sweet.” Crystal Clear Communications Blog, Accessed January 11, 2022.

Schulenklopper, Jochem, and Eelco Rommes. 2016. “Why They Just Don't Get It: Communicating about Architecture with Business Stakeholders.” IEEE Software Volume 33, Issue 3: 13–19. doi: 10.1109/MS.2016.67.

Statistic Brain Research Institute. 2021. Average Human Attention Span.

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Originally posted Jan 18, 2022.