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Internal Communications Planning Template

This planning template has been created to aid in the development of internal communications initiatives at the University of Minnesota. While countless similar planning templates are available, this one has been created specifically with the audiences, resources, and communication vehicles at the U of M in mind. For more on this template or to consult about your internal communications needs, please contact Internal Communications, University Relations, at


Develop two to three goals that clearly define your project. These should answer the following kinds of questions:

  • What is the impact?
  • What is the value?
  • How will you measure success?
  • Why should anyone care?


Define your primary and secondary audiences in relation to your goals and objectives. Begin with broad categories: faculty, staff, students, leaders, etc. Next, use the U of M Internal Audience Segments model to refine your list. Finally, answer the following questions about your potential audience:

  • Who are your sponsors, those leaders and people in positions of influence who are supporting your work?
  • Who are your champions and allies, those people who have a vested interest in the success of your project?
  • Who are your early adopters, those people likely to support you in the early stages?
  • Who will be most impacted, positively or negatively, by your project?
  • Who will be most resistant?

Key Messages

Develop two to three key messages. Ensure that key messages are specific to your audiences defined above. You may need different messages for different audiences; however, all messages should be interrelated. 


Develop specific strategies/tactics to meet your objectives. These should clearly define how you plan to communicate with your identified audiences. Utilize existing structures as much as possible. Be sure to consult the Resources for Internal Communications website. Remember the importance of face-to-face consultation as you plan. NOT EVERYTHING CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED THROUGH E-MAIL.

Feedback and Multi-way Communications

Develop mechanisms for feedback and multi-way communications. Who will people be able to contact to share their feedback or to find out more information? Do not automatically rely on a website as your solution. Ensure that people are clearly defined and available to answer questions, respond to concerns, etc.

Timeline/Work Plan

Develop a comprehensive timeline/work plan including tasks, deadlines, person(s) responsible, etc. You may want to create a spreadsheet for this purpose. The final outcome of this stage should be a detailed plan of implementation.


Develop budget. Ensure that your planning is realistic given your budget. Think big, first, and then size down as appropriate.

Measurement and Follow up

Develop plans for measuring the success of you communications and for following up with you key audiences. This phase can take many forms but should at the very least include plans for a final communication with your audiences about the completion of your project. Celebrate wins, thank people for their service and interest, and notify people when/if you will provide additional measurements of success.

Download the document (72 K Word).