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Successful messaging requires clarity and consistency. Good messages also must align with the interests and concerns most important to your audience.

All too often, social change organizations forget that the recipients of our communications are busy individuals with complicated lives and access to limitless volumes of information. We think of them as bottomless receptacles, or we mistakenly believe that if we throw enough data and information at the conversation our “truth” will win out.

The best messages are those that align with an audience’s value system. They are simple, yet resonant. Factual, but not overly complex. Provocative, without being preachy.

The issues of social change are complicated. No debate there. Climate change, poverty, health care, education, immigration reform, economic justice. None of these are easily explained or succinctly communicated. But resist the temptation to over explain. Identify the values that sit at the core of the change you are seeking and zero in on them as crisply and succinctly as possible. You are trying to educate, not lecture.

Finally, effective messaging demands more than words alone. Images can be much more powerful than words, and often tap more deeply into our emotions. Give careful consideration to the visual design of your messages and the pictures you use to tell your story.