How to build a communications toolkit from scratch

IFAD COM team assembles communications toolkits.

When I sat down at the computer to write this blog, I had to admit to myself that I’m not an experienced blogger. I didn’t really know how to start. Then I remembered that the new Toolkit for IFAD communications includes a whole section on writing a memorable blog post! Following the tips offered in the toolkit – which will be rolled out at IFAD today –  I started to type. And with that my story unfolds.

When I was asked to coordinate development of the toolkit, I jumped at the opportunity. Little did I know what a learning curve I was in for.

How do you build a communications toolkit from scratch? I wasn’t sure, but my first thought was simply to start with a vision. As the person in the Communications Division who takes care of the budget and other corporate processes, I’m aware of all the areas of expertise that COM has to offer, but I’m not an expert in any of them. So I decided that what we needed was a practical guide for non-experts like me who want and need to know how to use communications more effectively.

With that vision in mind, my next step was to collect tips, best practices and guidelines from my colleagues, the communications professionals. I turned to the COM team to share their many years of collective knowledge and expertise. Their contributions were then compiled into a living document, which can be updated on the basis of changing needs and feedback from toolkit users.

The toolkit is a practical guide for
effective communications.
That all sounds simple, right? Not really. Coordinating a publication such as the Toolkit for IFAD communications involves receiving and reviewing content, then working with writers to put it all in context and editors to give it a consistent voice. Tracking the edited versions and keeping up with the most current documents can be downright dizzying. When all the written pieces start to fall into place, the design process begins. So many questions! What will the cover look like? How will the pages be laid out? And how will the contents be visually organized? No sooner are these design questions answered than the toolkit goes into production, with multiple rounds of proofreading to check every word, comma, link and reference. Finally, it goes to the printer.

At the end of this process, I took a deep breath and felt a sense of great satisfaction.

Of course, developing the toolkit has been very much a team effort. As I worked on the project, I shared my vision and ideas with colleagues, both at IFAD headquarters and in the field, who provided valuable feedback. Their enthusiasm kept me motivated at times when it all seemed overwhelming. Now that the toolkit is ready to roll out, I want to thank all those who helped in so many different ways. You know who you are.

And to anyone at IFAD who is faced with a communications dilemma: Help and support are always available from COM, but if you just don’t know where to begin, you can also reach for your copy of the Toolkit for IFAD communications. May all your visions come true!

Download IFAD communications toolkit