Are you using the right medium for your development communications?

By Jenny Lei Ravelo 22 March 2016

The joy of this mother hearing the heartbeat of her child using an ultrasound helps to communicate the importance of the professional service she receives at this grass-roots community clinic, photographer Crystaline Randazzo shared with Devex. Fresh from the field, how do you identify the right tool to communicate your organization's message to a wider public? Photo credit: ©2014 Crystaline Randazzo Photograpy, LLC

After a visit to Ethiopia to observe El Nino mitigation efforts, a development communications officer will face the tricky task of deciding how to disseminate news of their organization’s work to the wider public. Will a targeted press release be most effective? Maybe a two-minute video?

Development communications professionals play a critical role in nonprofit work, from raising awareness about an issue and building a brand to raising funds. Most continue to use traditional media such as press releases to share the efforts of their organizations, but photography and video are increasingly becoming part of the communications landscape.

Identifying the right medium to share the material gathered in the field, though, remains a challenge.

Strong quotes or sound bites often lend themselves to press releases, especially if reporters are the intended audience, a few communications professionals shared with Devex. This is often the case with emergencies, as press releases are quick and can generate media interest.

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About the author

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Jenny Lei Ravelo@JennyLeiRavelo

Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex senior reporter based in Manila. Since 2011, she has covered a wide range of development and humanitarian aid issues, from leadership and policy changes at DfID to the logistical and security impediments faced by international and local aid responders in disaster-prone and conflict-affected countries in Africa and Asia. Her interests include global health and the analysis of aid challenges and trends in sub-Saharan Africa.

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