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Training Makes Way for Message Overhaul

Performing Arts Workshop

Almost immediately after he attended training in 2007, Performing Arts Workshop Executive Director Thomas DeCaigny increased his communications budget and hired some help. “If you asked me before training if we’d spend thirty thousand dollars on a messaging consultant, I would have laughed,” he said. “Having done the work, I’m even more convinced of its value.”

DeCaigny described himself at the time of training as “in a beginner communications stage, both in terms of planning and implementation. One of my big takeaways was understanding communications’ potential impact to drive our organization and also to drive the mission itself.” He credited the training with “realizing our core value of educational justice.”

With help from a communications consultant, Performing Arts Workshop conducted audience research and strategic message planning. “We tested our message of educational equality and this read better with people than messages about arts education specifically,” said DeCaigny. “We realized we were more about equality in education, which shaped the strategy and messages for our work in terms of educational justice and fairness… this even affected our program design.”

The consultant experience, said DeCaigny, was especially valuable because “we went into it having thought about who our audiences were. This enabled us to work more effectively.” After intensive message training, the organization’s board and staff became “good at stating what we do. They cut and paste our messages all the time… I see them in emails, everywhere.”

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