This section focuses on how to plan your communications and promotions strategy.

This will be informed by areas so far covered in the toolkit; your original project idea; products and services, market research & community needs assessment, theory of change and financial planning.

For not-for-profit organisations and projects communications can be more complex that a straight forward retail business. For example, your target audiences for your communications can vary from potential commissioners and investors to academics and partners as well as the people you want to use your services and products.

Download the Communications plan document which can help you think about the key messages for your communications, the outcomes you want and the communications routes you will use. There are various communication tools you can choose to use, read on to find out more about them. Understanding your target audiences will help you identify the best promotional tools to reach them (see Defining the Need section).

Promotional tools

Point of Sale

A form of promotion or marketing campaign that typically takes place at the point a transaction occurs, in order to increase the number of purchases.  For example, signs or board with promotional material, signage on a vehicles, A boards, uniforms, banners.

Point of sale promotion maximises your communications at the point where you meet people accessing your services.  The main considerations are costs and longevity.


Digital promotion includes your website, social media accounts including Facebook, Instagram, X/Twitter, Linked In, Pinterest, TikTok, YouTube, as well as blogs and newsletters. These can be very low cost depending upon the resources used to maintain them – ideally an internal member of staff or volunteer, although regular time should be committed to maintaining digital communications to ensure these routes are kept up to date and maintain a permanent presence.  As well as promoting your project, they can also help retain a sense of community, and can also be measured e.g. number of visits to a website or number of likes on a post, so the impact of digital campaigns can be easily evaluated.

It is helpful to have a digital communications plan, even if this is simple, in order to have the desired impact. Top tips include avoiding too much automation, posting regularly but avoid ‘post overload’ and post ‘ghost town’, sticking to your own ‘brand’ and values, and engaging in conversations that relate to your aims.

High quality photographs are really valuable for promotion, so it is good to include a photograph collection as part of your communications plan. You might take them regularly during project activity or stage them.

Digital Newsletters can be effective communication tools, as they can promote projects and events, share success, share valuable information that might reflect your organisational aims and support your beneficiaries, and they can reach broad audiences.

Printed resources

These include posters, flyers, brochures, information packs and reports. These are usually expensive to print and can have low impact unless they are targeted. Their impact can be measured if you use QR codes or return slips. Project reports that capture impact can be valuable for very targeted audiences, but consider if these need to be printed.

Paid for advertising

This includes radio, adverts in press, and targeted digital advertising on different channels. This can be an expensive form of promotion, so you need to be sure this is effective at reaching your target audience. This may be effective for reaching large numbers of residents.  Digital advertising can be more flexible and have shorter lead time than traditional printed forms of advertising.

In person

Meeting people in person and talking about your project is a useful way to spread the word. This includes networking opportunities, outreach work, attending events and launches, and taking part in press releases and interviews. For social purposed projects these routes can be particularly effective for attracting partners or funding and can be an effective way to share impact reports as described above. See the elevator pitch described below.

National & themed campaigns and events

Aligning your communications strategy with national campaigns can help you demonstrate your values and aims as well as amplify those campaigns that you care about. You can work with partners or others in your network to amplify a particular campaign area or National Day of Celebration.

Measuring your communications impact

When developing a communications plan, include a plan for collecting the impact of your communications. This could be through various routes e.g. digital data, feedback and evaluation forms, interviews and focus groups, asking new members/service users how they heard about your project.

Other areas to consider


The goal of branding is to earn space in the minds of the target audience. Brands are an effective way for organisations & projects to communicate their vision. It clarifies what the project stands for and why. A brand also refers to the overall experience a person has when interacting with the project.

  • Branding is the process of creating a brand identity. This process also delivers materials that support the brand, like a logo, tagline/ strapline, visual design, or tone of voice.
  • In Branding is the process of researching, developing, and applying a distinctive feature or set of features to your organisation so that project users can begin to associate your brand with your products or services.
  • Organisations that create strong brands know that their brand identity needs to live everywhere. They know their name extends far beyond the label and can attract partners, investors as well as service users when their brand is linked to a good reputation. 
  • Branding is the identity of a company, and promotion includes the tactics and strategies which communicate that vision to target customers/members and investors.


  • A logo is a symbol made up of text and/or images that helps us to identify brands we like.
  • It is part of a brand used in branding and promotion.
  • A good logo is the cornerstone of the brand. It helps service users understand what you do, who you are and what you value. Spending time to develop a logo which is eye catching and communicates your brand is important.

Elevator pitch

  • An elevator pitch is a brief, persuasive speech that you can use to spark interest in what your organization does. You can also use them to create interest in a project, idea, or product – or in yourself. A good elevator pitch should last no longer than a short elevator ride of 20 to 30 seconds, hence the name.
  • They should be interesting, memorable, and succinct. They also need to explain what makes you – or your organisation, project, product, or idea – unique.

Download the communications plan.

Good Food Enterprise: Working to provide food that is good for people and the planet, and support local production playing a part in community beyond trading.


Definitions of key terms used in this toolkit.

Open glossary

Support our charity

Donate to enhance the health and welfare of people, animals and the planet.


The Green House
244-254 Cambridge Heath Road
London E2 9DA

020 3559 6777

Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.

© Sustain 2024
Registered charity (no. 1018643)
Data privacy & cookies