Content Strategy Partnership, Winter 2021

Build Your Nonprofit’s Capacity to Create, Manage, Promote, and Measure Digital Content

Photo of Participants in the 2016 DePaul MA in WRD Digital Content Partnership
 Students and nonprofit partners from a prior Content Strategy Partnership. Partners included Chicago Youth Programs, the Rauner Family YMCA, Art on Sedgwick, and Lincoln Park Community Shelter.

If your nonprofit organization needs a content strategy—a plan to guide how you create, maintain, and assess the performance of your online content—consider applying for a free service-learning partnership offered by Professor Lisa Dush of DePaul University.  This partnership will connect you with a team of graduate students in a Content Strategy course offered by DePaul’s Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse, with whom you will develop a content strategy for your organization.

The partnership will run from mid-January to mid-March 2021. Two organizations will be selected to partner with the course.

What Will Our Organization Get From this Partnership?

The primary benefits of the partnership are the time, coaching, and instruction it will provide you, so that you can develop a content strategy appropriate to your organization.

Your team of 7-8 students, with your input, will complete tasks such as the following:

  • Audit your organization’s website, social media accounts, and other digital content to determine the consistency and relevance of this content, given your key audiences and organizational goals
  • Conduct a peer/competitor analysis, to determine content norms and best practice among organizations with missions similar to yours
  • Run user testing and interview users of your content, to learn better how they experience your content
  • Create personas of key content audiences, to guide future content development
  • Lead a group activity with a small group of your organization’s key stakeholders, to determine messaging language to guide future content development
  • Create an annual communication calendar, that helps you to plan content development
  • Codify recommended forms of content and their specifications into templates and editorial guidelines
  • Identify metrics and design reasonable measurement routines to assess the effectiveness of your content

Your team’s work will be collated into a report to guide your organization’s future content strategy. We are also often able to connect partner organizations with a DePaul intern after the course, to continue the work that has begun.

What Time Commitment is Required by this Partnership?

Your organization should assign 1-3 people to this partnership, each familiar with the organization’s communication and marketing efforts (more than one participant is ideal, to the end of building capacity). In prior partnerships, participants have included staff members and, occasionally, board members.

Organizations should plan to devote an average of 1-3 hours per week to the partnership, from mid-January through mid-March.

The total time commitment and key dates for participating organizations are as follows:

  • ASAP: Email Prof. Dush at ldush@depaul.edu to express your interest in the partnership.
  • By Jan. 4: Submit a Partnership Interest Form. After receiving the form, Prof. Dush will connect to schedule a phone call to discuss whether your organization is a good fit for this partnership.
  • Tu Jan. 26, 6–7:30 pm or 7:30-9:00 pm: Attend Prof. Dush’s class via Zoom to meet the students and discuss content priorities and plan of work.
  • W Jan. 27–Tu Mar. 12: Participants spend approximately 1-3 hrs/wk learning about content strategy, connecting students to users and stakeholders, and giving feedback on draft documents.
  • Tu Feb. 23, 6–7:30 pm or 7:30-9:00 pm: Attend Prof. Dush’s class on Zoom to hear team’s progress report and plan final deliverables.

How Do We Sign Up?

If your organization is interested in this partnership, please email Prof. Lisa Dush at ldush@depaul.edu. After you express your interest via email, you can complete the Partnership Interest Form and arrange a time to talk by phone with Prof. Dush.

Additional details about past nonprofit partnership courses are available online at http://lisadush.com/stories-at-work/.