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Your editorial, review, and approval processes?

  • 1.  Your editorial, review, and approval processes?

    Posted Feb 26, 2018 14:19

    How does your organization develop, review, and approve digital and print communications? Do you have a formal policy and/or process that works? I'm especially curious:

    • What does the approval process look like on paper and in practice?
    • Which communications go through the process? What communications fall outside of the process?
    • In what ways does it work or not work well?
    We're looking to codify our policy and revise our process, which works well but may be person-dependent and thus at risk as we experience leadership transition and bring on new staff. Thanks in advance for sharing.

    Anna Marshall
    Digital media director
    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline

  • 2.  RE: Your editorial, review, and approval processes?

    Posted Feb 27, 2018 18:36
    Hi Anna,
    I am a huge advocate of doing this, and talk about it in my new "CALM not BUSY" book. I am happy to chat with you about it if you don't get a lot of feedback here (or even if you do).

    Kivi Leroux Miller
    Founder & CEO
    Nonprofit Marketing Guide

    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline

  • 3.  RE: Your editorial, review, and approval processes?

    Posted Feb 28, 2018 09:09
    Great question, Anna!​​

    I've worked at organizations that have tightly constrained policies with clear chains of approval and strict brand guidelines ... and I've worked in three-man shops where autonomy was absolute and new projects could be completed in an afternoon. There are benefits to both but I think most of us live somewhere in the middle.

    Things to think about what looking at your policy:

    1. Experience level
    To what degree can you trust content and creative staff to manage projects through approval? Are they internal/accessible or hard to reach? Have they been working with you a long time and understand your internal processes well? For example, you might feel confident giving final edits to an internal designer you've known for years and say when the edits are made, they can send the art to print without final approval from you. You might not do the same with a new ad vendor who failed to notice a date mistake in previous copy.

    2. Care factor
    Of course, we all want every ad, letter, blog and social post you be perfect but the reality is that we all compromise when we need something fast, cheap or both. The truth is that a one-time discount code coupon that goes inside a card for 20 people is less important than a billboard facing the Interstate. I think it's important to empower and train staff to be able to manage their own design and creative needs where appropriate. That means offering tools and templates to guide them (I'm thinking especially about presentation slides here) and letting go of some projects. Maybe it means the coupons don't have brand-approved fonts. Is that acceptable?

    3. Reviewer skill and capacity
    How many people are on your review team? Are they all in charge of reviewing everything or do they have specialties? If you asked them all to review one project for the same things, would they return wildly different recommendations? And if you answered that last question in the affirmative, what training or resources would get them on the same page?

    4. Flexibility and pace
    A policy is only a good one if it can be implemented and supported. In practice, you might find that a first draft is too rigid and it's holding up projects, or too loose so your $250,000 billboard has a typo. Keep in mind the projects - big and small - that will be affected, and weigh the risk of mistakes against the risk of delay.

    Hope it helps! Keep us in the loop and good luck.

    Lyndal Cairns
    Membership and Engagement Director
    Nonprofit Technology Network

    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline