I don’t even want to think about how much time I spend on the web, reading about communications. There is so much great material out there on communications in general, then nonprofit communications in particular — and even more specifically, social change communications. But many folks I know who are working with grassroots groups still don’t know where to begin.

Here are the five web-based resources I refer to the most often when I have a question about communications, or when someone asks me for an online resource. They’re in alphabetical order because I like each of them so much, I can’t bear to rank them. Sign up for their email, bookmark them — these are all great gateways to what’s out there for people interested in effective communications.

Netcentric Campaigns fka Green Media Toolshed — They’re focused on serving the communications needs of the enviro community, but their materials are useful no matter what issue you’re working on. You get even more online resources if you’re a member — including access to online workshops. Example of a great short post: Bigger Networks are not always Better.

Kivi Leroux Miller — Kivi has an easy-to-follow training style, and is an engaging writer. I’ve attended a bunch of her online workshops, and she does a great job seeing the trends in what nonprofits tend to do wrong, and how we can improve what we’re doing by working on the basics. When I can’t make it to one of her workshops, I find she often has published something related on her website for free. Great example of her genius: Who’s Your Target Audience? Please Not the General Public

Progressive Communicators Network Toolbox — When I’m looking for something that’s more about social change communications than general nonprofit communications, I search the PCN Toolbox. The toolbox has links to a mix of tutorials, articles and samples of documents for social change communicators. Great example of why I keep going back: How To Tell and Sell Your Story, A Guide to Developing Effective Messages and Good Stories about Your Work (disclosure: I’m a proud PCN Board member and a frequent contributor to the toolbox).

Progressive Exchange — The online archive from their super-high-volume listserv is very handy — especially for info about what’s new and hot in online organizing and advocacy work. If you want to participate in fast-breaking, extensive and detailed online discussions about online communications, you will love their list, and I encourage you to sign up. Unfortunately, I can’t link to any samples — it’s all behind a password-protected system. But get yourself an account and dive in!

SPIN Project — they have great samples of materials like media alerts, and they wrote the book on some essential parts of social change communications planning (which they will sell you). Their Tutorials page has a great selection of how-to documents.

There are of course, more resources out there, and these sites are connected to many of them. This is just to get you started. Enjoy!

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