Evaluating Your Communication Efforts: Goal Setting

This is the first in a two-part series of blog posts about evaluating your school district’s communications efforts. 

When one of your teachers’ steps into the classroom, their goals are usually very clear. State standards and grade-level targets create specific expectations for what students will be expected to achieve over the course of the school year. Lesson plans help teachers chart a course toward those targets. 

But what about your district communications? When a new school year or initiative begins, do you take time to establish: 

  1. a defined goal; 
  2. a clear-eyed assessment of where things stand in relation to that goal; and 
  3. a path forward to move toward the goal? 

As a district leader, it’s your job to set the standards, targets and expectations for district communications. This will help ensure that your district’s priorities can be clearly and effectively communicated to your audiences. 

Defining a communications goal

So how do we set communications goals? An effective communications goal should focus on a desirable future state of being. You can think of goal-setting for communications as a road trip. The goal is the final destination; where you want to end up. 

Everything else about the journey – the route you choose, the mode of transportation – should support that goal, but none of those things are the goal itself. The goal wouldn’t be “Drive on I-5 for 72 miles”; it would be “Get to Sacramento by 7 p.m.” 

Here are a few examples of what a communications goal is, and is not. 

Yes:  Students will understand the college and career pathways available to them. 

No: Each student will receive a booklet about college and career pathways. 

Why? The end goal isn’t that students will receive booklets; the end goal is that students will receive information. The booklet is just one way of achieving that goal. 

Yes: Parents and guardians will understand school policies and procedures. 

No: Translate all student handbooks into multiple languages. 

Why? Understanding is the goal; translation is just one step toward achieving that goal. 

Whose job is it anyway? 

It’s vital that district leaders have input into communications goals. But when it comes to defining specific communications tactics – like whether to buy an ad, mail a newsletter or launch a social media campaign – that’s where the skills of a communications professional can be most valuable. 

If your communications could use a professional touch, let’s talk about how Nichols Strategies could help. Read more about Nichols Strategies’ Full Service Approach.