Donovan Group Insights

What Is Gap Identification in Communication?

Most district leaders make a concerted effort to communicate with their stakeholders. However, very few manage to communicate with all of their stakeholders. This leads to gaps in communication, which means some people are getting left out of the loop. District leaders need to conduct regular gap identification to ensure all stakeholders are receiving the appropriate level of communication.

Let’s discuss how to identify and close the gaps in your district’s communication efforts.

The definition of gap identification

Gap identification is the process of uncovering stakeholder groups who are underrepresented in your district’s communication efforts. These stakeholders are typically out of the loop about the latest district news and events. The gap may also include groups you communicate with a little bit, but not as much as you need to.

How to identify gaps in communication

The following tips can help you uncover gaps in your district’s communication efforts:

  • Review communication processes: Take a look at your district’s content. Identify who the target audience is, where the content is published and which stakeholder groups are interacting with it. These analytics will reveal not only who you’re engaging the most, but who you’re engaging the least.
  • Send out stakeholder surveys: Surveys are a great way to get feedback from stakeholders. Ask questions that gauge how satisfied (or not satisfied) certain groups are with your district’s communication efforts. The survey results can tell you who’s not receiving enough communication from the district.
  • See who responds to content: Engaged stakeholders will respond to your communication efforts. Who shows up to PTO meetings? Who likes, shares and comments on the district’s social media posts? Pay attention to the groups that are consistently absent from these interactions.

Steps you can take to close the gaps

After you identify gaps, follow these steps to help close them:

  • Go outside the bubble: District leaders tend to focus primarily on stakeholders within the communication bubble. These are stakeholders directly involved with the district, such as students, teachers, staff and parents. Identify groups that fall outside of the bubble, and find ways to engage them.
  • Create stakeholder focus groups: Remember the surveys mentioned earlier? Use those survey results to identify which groups are receiving the least amount of communication. Then, create focus groups that invite underrepresented stakeholders to speak up about how your district can improve its communication efforts.

District leaders don’t notice the gaps until they go looking for them. That’s why it’s important to stay on top of your district’s communication efforts. Stakeholders won’t always initiate contact with their local district. More often than not, you have to go to them first.

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