STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS CERTIFICATE

presented by CWR Academy

UPDATE: The registration deadline has closed for enrollment in the first cohort of the Strategic Communications Certificate.

Strategic communications for religious organizations require understanding long-term and short-term goals of the organization, the audience they are trying to reach, the best methods to reach them, and the nuances necessary to match the organization’s tone and voice. This Strategic Communications Certificate will guide participants through learning those specifics, planning a communications strategy to match them, and conducting ongoing evaluation and analysis of the success of their plan.

THE CERTIFICATE IS OPEN TO BOTH CWR MEMBERS AND NON-MEMBERS:

MEMBER REGISTRATION: $250 | NON-MEMBER REGISTRATION: $625

Save the date for the first class on Wednesday, May 17! The nine courses in three modules include a one-hour recorded presentation and a 30-minute live online class featuring instruction and discussion with instructor and peers. Participants will complete the program with a unique strategic communications plan to implement in their own workplaces.

For questions about the Strategic Communications Certifcate, please contact CWR Education Committee co-chairs Amanda Hackett (ahackett001@csbsju.edu) or Dusty Krikau (dkrikau@csasisters.org).

“Our slate of instructors from within and beyond CWR bring a wealth of knowledge and experience.”

Amanda Hackett
Communications Manager
Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict

Schedule

STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS CERTIFICATE PRESENTED BY CWR ACADEMY
STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS CERTIFICATE PRESENTED BY CWR ACADEMY 
Module 1: Introduction to Strategic CommunicationsRecording Available as ofLive Online Class
1.1: Building the Framework of a Strategic Communication PlanMay 3May 17: 2 ET / 11 PT
1.2: Setting and Achieving Goals and Measuring SuccessMay 17May 31: 2 ET / 11 PT
1.3: Targeting AudiencesMay 30June 13: 2 ET / 11 PT
Module 2: Campaign PlanningRecording Available as of Live Online Class
2.1: Creating an Editorial CalendarJune 13June 27: 2 ET / 11 PT
2.2: Content Creation and MessagingJune 27July 11: 2 ET / 11 PT
2.3: Getting Engagement Outside of Your ChannelsJuly 11July 25: 2 ET / 11 PT
Module 3: Evaluation/Metrics/AnalyticsRecording Available as of Live Online Class
3.1: Analytics and What You Do with ThemJuly 24August 7: 2 ET / 11 PT
3.2: Focus Groups and SurveysAugust 10August 30: 2 ET / 11 PT
3.3: Guided Workshop/Peer Review of Strategic Communication Plan[Live session only]September 7: 2 ET / 11 PT

Certificate Courses

Module 1: Introduction to Strategic Communications

A strategic communications plan is a high-level overview of communications that includes goals, objectives, and tasks. In Module 1, participants will learn how to build the framework of a strategic communications plan, set goals and measure success, and target specific audiences.

Course 1: Building the Framework of a Strategic Communications Plan

Class Schedule

  • Wednesday, May 3
    Recorded session available
  • Wednesday, May 17
    2 p.m. ET | 1 p.m. CT | 11 a.m. PT
    Live online class

Course Description
Are your organization’s communications consistent across all channels and platforms? Are you sending the same message across your website, social media, email, and blog? Are they building your brand or fueling confusion? A strategic communications plan that is built on market research and best practices, utilizes appropriate resources, and sets goals to measure success, can set your organization up for success.

Course Objectives
Participants will:

  • Explore various formats and structures for the creation of a comprehensive strategic communications plan. Templates will be included in the course resources.
  • Learn about the essential elements of a strategic communications plan, such as: goals, objectives, and measures of success; target audiences; and content calendars.

Instructor

Deena Swank

Strategic Communications Consultant/Owner
Deena Swank Strategic Communications
Deena Swank is a seasoned communications strategist and innovator adept at media management, business development, and content creation. She holds a B.A. in professional, technical, business and scientific writing from Carnegie Mellon University and an M.A. in secondary education from Chatham University.

Course 2: Setting and Achieving Goals and Measuring Success

Class Schedule

  • Wednesday, May 17
    Recorded session available
  • Wednesday, May 31
    2 p.m. ET | 1 p.m. CT | 11 a.m. PT
    Live online class

Course Description
What are your organization’s goals and how will communications help achieve them? How will you measure your success? Asking and answering these questions is the first step toward the development of a successful strategic communications plan.

Course Objectives
Participants will:

  • Learn how to conduct a communications audit.
  • Discuss the roles of goals, objectives, and tactics and how to create them.
  • Learn how to establish benchmarks for success and report on progress.

Instructor

Deena Swank

Strategic Communications Consultant/Owner
Deena Swank Strategic Communications
Deena Swank is a seasoned communications strategist and innovator adept at media management, business development, and content creation. She holds a B.A. in professional, technical, business and scientific writing from Carnegie Mellon University and an M.A. in secondary education from Chatham University.

Course 3: Targeting Audiences

Class Schedule

  • Tuesday, May 30
    Recorded session available
  • Tuesday, June 13
    2 p.m. ET | 1 p.m. CT | 11 a.m. PT
    Live online class

Course Description
Who are your internal and external audiences? What do you know about them? What do you want them to do? Examining the characteristics of each target audience allows you to tailor messaging and choose the most appropriate communications channels.

Course Objectives
Participants will:

  • Learn how to identify and leverage target audiences.
  • Learn about messaging and content analysis.

Instructor

Dr. David Dault
Assistant Professor of Christian Spirituality
Loyola University Chicago
David Dault is a Chicago-based media producer, writer, and educator. He received an Emmy nomination for his work on the documentary, “Selma at 50: Still Marching,” and has won awards for his media work from the Religion News Service and Religion Communicators Council. David is co-founder of Sandburg Media and host and executive producer of the radio show and podcast, Things Not Seen: Conversations about Culture and Faith. David is an assistant professor of Christian Spirituality at Loyola University Chicago, and since 2020 has served as President of the Society for Comparative Research in Iconic and Performative Texts (SCRIPT).

Module 2: Campaign Planning

In Module 2, participants will learn how to create an editorial calendar, create content for messaging across different channels, and promote engagement outside of their channels.

Course 1: Creating an Editorial Calendar

Class Schedule

  • Tuesday, June 13
    Recorded session available
  • Tuesday, June 27
    2 p.m. ET | 1 p.m. CT | 11 a.m. PT
    Live online class

Course Description
Once the structure of the strategic communications plan is in place and you’ve defined the goals, objectives, and tactics, it’s time to begin high-level planning across all communications channels. This involves creating an editorial calendar for both print and digital media that allows you to track what messages your audiences are receiving, when they are receiving them, and how they are receiving them.

Course Objectives

  • Participants will learn how to create and implement an editorial calendar for digital and print media.

Instructor

Gina Sullivan

Communications Director
Congregation of St. Joseph
Since 2004, Gina Sullivan has served as Director of Communications for the Congregation of St. Joseph, a non-profit religious community of vowed Catholic women, lay associates and partners in mission who live and minister in the U.S. and around the world. Prior to joining the Congregation, she spent 10 years working in marketing and circulation for Penton Media, a trade magazine publisher and multi-media corporation. She holds a B.S. in Journalism from Bowling Green State University and is a member of the board of Communicators for Women Religious (CWR) and a co-chair of the CWR Marketing Committee. She lives and works in Cleveland, Ohio.

Course 2: Content Creation and Messaging

Class Schedule

  • Tuesday, June 27
    Recorded session available
  • Tuesday, July 11
    2 p.m. ET | 1 p.m. CT | 11 a.m. PT
    Live online class

Course Description
You’ve defined your audiences. You’ve created a strategic communications calendar that takes into account all of your goals. Now you get to do what communicators do best — craft the messages and create the content.

Course Objectives

  • Participants will learn how to create content and message across different channels, including social media, email marketing, blogs, and more.

Instructor

Elizabeth Powers

Communications Manager
Congregation of St. Joseph
Elizabeth Powers is the Communications Manager for the Congregation of St. Joseph. She began working for the congregation in 2016 with a focus on electronic and social media content. She now also acts as a co-editor of the congregation magazine, imagineONE, and has helped create and acts as the producer of the new congregation podcast, Beyond the Habit, a podcast which aims to move beyond everyday assumptions of what it means to be Catholic and is hosted by two Catholic sisters. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and works out of the Congregation’s Cleveland office. She lives with her husband Donald and their young daughter.

Course 3: Getting Engagement Outside of Your Channels

Class Schedule

  • Tuesday, July 11
    Recorded session available
  • Tuesday, July 25
    2 p.m. ET | 1 p.m. CT | 11 a.m. PT
    Live online class

Course Description
Strategic use of media relations can increase your organization’s reach and help build brand awareness. Building opportunities for pitches and placements into the strategic communications plan moves an organization from a reactive to a proactive approach.

Course Objectives
Participants will:

  • Learn how to make effective media pitches.
  • Learn how to make strategic media placements.

Instructor

Kristen Whitney Daniels

Associate Director
U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph
Kristen Whitney-Daniels is the Associate Director of the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, where she focuses on communications and justice. Prior to working at the Federation, she was an intern for the National Catholic Reporter, where she cultivated her award-winning reporting on the death penalty. Kristen is also a fierce healthcare advocate and is the co-lead of T1International’s Federal Working Group, an organization that advocates for affordable and equitable access to insulin and healthcare. Her testimonies have been featured at the Connecticut capitol and the U.S. Senate floor. In 2020, she attended the Presidential State of the Union as a guest of U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro. She has been featured in and/or written for: BBC, Berlingske, CBS Evening News, Global Sisters Report, Financial Times, NPR, U.S. Catholic Magazine, and more. Kristen is a proud graduate of Quinnipiac University and member of the St. Joseph Worker community.

Module 3: Evaluation/Metrics/Analytics

In Module 3, participants will learn how to gather analytics and use them to propel forward the goals they set in their strategic communications plans. This module wraps up the Strategic Communications Certificate and will end with a guided workshop and peer review of the plans participants have developed throughout the course of this program.

Course 1: Analytics and What You Do with Them (Quantitative)

Class Schedule

  • Monday, July 24
    Recorded session available
  • Monday, August 7
    2 p.m. ET | 1 p.m. CT | 11 a.m. PT
    Live online class

Course Description
There are many tools available to track analytics, but how do you know which ones to use? What analytics make sense for your organization, and how will you leverage them?

Course Objectives

  • Participants will learn how to gather quantitative analytics, conduct surveys, and respond to analytics.

Instructor

Alice Black

Director of Communications and Mission Advancement
Dominican Sisters of Peace

Course 2: Focus Groups and Surveys (Qualitative)

Class Schedule

  • Thursday, August 10
    Recorded session available
  • Wednesday, August 30*
    2 p.m. ET | 1 p.m. CT | 11 a.m. PT
    Live online class

* – Session rescheduled from August 24

Course Description
Once target audiences have been identified, they can be useful resources for evaluation of your communications processes. Surveys and focus groups can help you test the waters before launching a new initiative or building on an existing one.

Course Objectives

  • Participants will learn how to gather qualitative data through focus groups and surveys and how to respond to it.

Instructor

Alice Black

Director of Communications and Mission Advancement
Dominican Sisters of Peace

Course 3: Guided Workshop/Peer Review of Strategic Communications Plan

Class Schedule

  • Thursday, September 7
    2 p.m. ET | 1 p.m. CT | 11 a.m. PT
    Live online class*

* – Course 3.3 includes a single 90-minute live instruction / discussion session. No recorded presentation is included.

Course Description
This guided workshop will incorporate all of the elements and techniques learned throughout the certificate program, giving attendees the opportunity to get feedback from instructors and peers on the strategic plan they have developed.

Course Objectives

  • Participants will complete a guided workshop and peer review of the strategic communications plan they have developed throughout the course of this program.

Instructor

Siobhan O’Neill Meluso
Communications Coordinator
Benedictine Sisters of Chicago
Siobhan O’Neill Meluso has a MA from the National University of Ireland, Galway in Drama and Theatre Studies, and a BA in English from St. Mary’s College of California. A former High School Campus Minister, Siobhan found herself as a grassroots social media champion of tools and technologies through her work with TrueQuest Communications (Publisher of VISION Vocation Guide) and as a Social Media Strategist for the Divine Word Missionaries prior to her current position as the Communications Coordinator of the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago. Additionally, she continues to consult for many non-profits regarding communications best practices, especially in the field of social media and website curation. Siobhan especially enjoys the addition of amateur photography to her skill set for events, social media purposes, and for friends and family. Siobhan currently serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of Communicators for Women Religious (CWR). In addition, Siobhan is Co-Chair of the CWR Membership Committee and also serves on the 2023 CWR Conference Planning Committee after Co-Chairing the 2022 Conference.