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Communication Audit

Korey M. Butler
Hallie Dean
Casey Moore
Lindsey Sullivan
April 18, 2016

Table of Contents
Executive Summary .................................................................... 3
Introduction .............................................................................. 5
Methodology ......................................................................... 7
Conclusions & Recommendations ............................................. 8
SWOT Analysis 10

Executive Summary
Voices is a 130-member chorus that performs concerts biannually in Chapel Hill. It is a
well-versed organization that is familiar with putting on a show and entertaining crowds. Voices
is currently celebrating its 35th season together. Due to its longevity as a program, the board
members feel that various changes could be made in order to revamp the organization. Our team
sat down with Patrick Tang and Darin Knapp (members of the board as well as singers in the
choir) in order to discuss options moving forward. We concluded that we wanted to increase
ticket sales, track and record where people hear about their concerts, increase diversity among
members in the chorus, and increase donations.
Our team worked vigorously to increase the PR of Voices within the community. We had
one member of our team, Lindsey, working the social media sites associated with Voices.
Lindsey posted on the Facebook and created events reminding followers of the two upcoming
concerts in May. Lindsey was also in charge of going through the boards list of websites and
media outlets that have calendars. Lindsey took the existing list from the board and expanded it
in order to put the two concerts on every calendar we could think of in the greater area.
We also wanted to reach out to other media outlets in the area, such as radio stations.
Because Voices is a nonprofit, we understand that these stations have the ability to publically
play PSAs about their concerts to those listening free of charge to our organization. One of our
group members sent out emails 3 weeks in advance of the concerts to each local radio station and
some TV stations. In these emails she included a press release and a poster with detailed
information about the concert. She plans to do a follow-up email in time.
We have also had a team member that has gone through all of the templates of Voices and
edited them in order to revamp them and make them better. She has also taken the time to create

a plan for a fundraiser that will happen sometime in the near future. The board members were not
ready to commit to that yet but they have graciously accepted her plans and they have decided to
save them for next season to implement them in order to increase donors, as Voices desperately
needs. Our recommendations to the Voices team is to utilize their listserv more efficiently to get
their key messaging out to various demographics. Perhaps, having multiple templates for the
various ages and musical backgrounds would allow for easier consumption of information. Also,
heavy utilization of local community calendars will allow for Voices to cross market their
concerts to more than one community and more than one key public. Recommendations of
enhancement to social media were also made to the Voices staff. New media is the wave of the
new age and Voices wants to attract a younger crowd. Thus, they must start utilizing social
media, with interactive opportunities, with their audience. We believe the utilization of new
media will have great long-term benefits.
After meeting with Voices a few times throughout the semester and getting to know
Patrick, we feel that we have greatly contributed to the organization and gained experience in
return. We understand the effort that goes into representing an organization and attempting to
improve its financial donations and membership. We have valued our time with Voices and we
hope that we have been of assistance to them as well.

Voices is one of the North Carolinas oldest and most-respected choral groups. In its 35th
season, Voices continues to grow as a member-governed and multi-faceted singing group. It is
currently home to 115 members and supports a select smaller team, Cantari. Voices performs in
the Chapel Hill area, but had its Fall 2015 concert at the Carolina Theatre of Durham. As listed
on the official website, Voices mission is to foster and share the art and joy of choral music,
enriching and educating the community through excellent performances of music from diverse
cultural and historical periods.
In conjunction with APPLES Service- Learning, we were invited to conduct a
communication audit for Voices. Though Voices already has aggressive public relations efforts in
place, choral leaders were aware of three problem areas. The first was a concern with concert
attendance. The company maintains a good reputation around Chapel Hill, and the twice-annual
concerts boast consistent attendance around 500. That said, many of their ticket sales come from
friends and family members. The story is similar with their donors. The group relies heavily on a
select few donors, with whom some of the singers have personal connections. Lastly, the
ensemble exhibits a lack of diversity. Leaders expressed that the average age range of performers
is middle-aged to seniors, and that members are mainly white.
The goal of this communication audit is to seek facts and perceptions of Voices and to
assess the effectiveness of current communication efforts. Though the company already has
established public relations practices, they welcomed evaluation to see where improvements
could be made. This act is commendable, as Voices is open to change going forward.
In this report, our group analyzed the current public relations and marketing mechanisms
of Voices. This includes an examination of the reach of the materials, an examination of current

group contacts and an examination of posters and online content. After doing this, we determined
which strategies were best appropriate to accomplish the three identified goals: increased concert
attendance, further sponsorship, and greater diversity within the choral group. We conclude with
providing recommendations on how to improve public relations and communication for Voices
and its stakeholders.

Our team sat down with board members Patrick Tang and Darin Knapp to discuss Voices
overall communication initiatives. From our initial discussion, we understood that many
channels are currently utilized by Voices to communicate to key, identified publics and on a
systematic schedule both internally and externally. However, for the sake of this audit, our
team focused primarily on external communication efforts.
Voices external communication efforts carry on throughout the year; however, they ramp
up preceding the two seasonal concerts. Currently, Voices utilizes local high school newspapers,
radio advertising spots, mailers, promotional flyers, social media and community outreach events
to promote the organization and upcoming concerts. In addition, Voices uses earned media
coverage from Governors Living magazine and The News and Observer.
Our group utilized several research methods to conduct the external communication
audit. First, we focused on document review which allowed an evaluation of current material and
messaging. Second, immense participant observation from each team member determined the
flow of communication development and allowed each of the team members to identify
communication opportunities, weaknesses and strengths. Third, our team conducted 20- to-30
minute interviews with three Voices board members that provided a rich qualitative sense of how
communication practices are received outside Voices and how the organization interacts with its
stakeholders. Fourth, Voices board members were asked to participate in a critical incident
analysis. This analysis, which was conducted in the form of a verbal questionnaire, allowed
board members to describe specific effective and ineffective experiences with their external
communication efforts. This process allowed our team to identify best situational practices for
Voices. Last, if possible, additional surveys will be created to gauge target audience members,
listserv subscribers and youth choral workshop participants.

Conclusions and Recommendations

In order to develop further relationships with donors, an immediate concern is organizing
the listserv to include donors on monthly updates about Voices. Additionally, because donors are
essential to the success of the organization, a system must be put in place that makes sure each
donor is included in the program distributed during Voices concerts. Suggestions have been made
to Voices web staff for ways to implement a more efficient listserv process for communicating
calendar events or special announcements.
In terms of additional recommendations to be completed in the near future, our team
came up with various materials to help spread the word about Voices and expand and diversify
its program. While the current advertising systems in place are bountiful and helpful to the
organization, Voices should utilize university students in order to expand its advertising
campaign and reach both a younger and more diverse audience, both to drive up ticket sales and
potentially recruit new members. Local online and print calendars will be notified of the
upcoming May concerts of both Voices and Cantari. High school chorus directors will be
contacted about Voices workshops as an opportunity to show the students how professional
choral groups work closer to the date of the concert. The UNC music department will be
contacted and teachers will be notified about the upcoming concerts which will raise awareness
and hopefully translate into sales. Additionally, college students who may not have a flexible
schedule for on-campus acapella groups may be interested in joining a more professional and
experienced group such as Voices or Cantari. In order to introduce university students more to
the organization, a future plan was suggested to showcase the groups talents in the Pit in front
of the Student Stores. This plan could certainly showcase Voices, while also appealing to
potential members.

When time and money allow, Voices will hope to expand its advertising in various local
publications. In the meantime, both furthering relationships with donors and becoming more
visible to the Chapel Hill community, with a focus on younger members and their families is a
top priority.


SWOT Website Analysis

After completing the SWOT analysis for the Voices website, the immediate
communication challenge is garnering additional traffic to the website, driven by listserv
subscription communication, community outreach efforts and social media. Initially, the Voices
staff could approach this challenge by updating its current 1,200-member listserv. The listserv is
outdated and is not used as frequently as it could be due to lack of time to organize the list. This
listserv update is vital to communicating strategically and systematically with the many people
who have shown an interest in learning more about the organization. Strategically coordinating
information, not just on the landing page but also the other site pages, will allow visitors to
navigate through the website to gather specific information needed. Second, opportunities with
raffles or surveys could incentivize audience members to visit the website to retrieve their reward
after attending a seasonal concert or community outreach event. Social media is also a great way
to gain brand awareness and drive traffic to the website. Currently, Voices only utilizes Facebook
to communicate to choral members, but has plans to develop Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram
accounts to appeal to various audiences.