About Smart Chart

About Smart Chart

Smart Chart was born in 2002 out of Spitfire's desire to help nonprofits spend less time worrying about communications and more time implementing effective strategies. Years later, we couldn’t be more excited about all that Smart Chart has helped change makers achieve! 

This interactive tool was designed to consolidate decades of strategic know-how, best practices, and lessons learned into an easy-to-use format. Over the years we have regularly updated Smart Chart to reflect new research and our own experiences on what makes for powerful communications that can change hearts and minds. We hope you’ll find Smart Chart as valuable as the thousands of other nonprofits that have used it during the last decade!


Smart Chart is for nonprofit changemakers who want and need to leverage communications to achieve their goals. Whether you are an experienced communications professional looking for an easy tool in which to organize your thinking or a novice trying to find your path, Smart Chart can help you maximize your impact. 


Communications are crucial to almost any nonprofit strategy. Effectively articulating the problems, solutions, and asks can make all the difference in achieving the change you seek. But, it’s not easy to keep track of best practices, research, and new trends. What’s more, crafting a strategy that you can actually implement can be an insurmountable hurdle in the day-to-day operation of a busy nonprofit. Smart Chart is your solution!


Smart Chart breaks down the planning process into 6 clear steps:

  1. Program Decisions. Identify what you want to achieve and which decision maker you need to convince to take action.
  2. Context. Figure out where you stand internally and what’s happening in the world so you can determine the landscape you need to navigate to achieve your win. 
  3. Strategic Choices. Walk through a series of key decision points as you determine which audiences you’ll need to reach and how best to engage them. 
  4. Communications Activities. With your foundation in place, you’ll dive into the tactics and timeline you’ll need to employ in order to make it all come together. 
  5. Measurements of Success. Know what success looks like so you can ensure your implementation is on track.
  6. Final Reality Check. Now that you’ve done the hard work, it’s time to review and confirm that your strategy is good to go!

We provide the prompts, background, and guidance. You provide the specifics and use the tool to customize your blueprint to communications success. The best part? Smart Chart isn’t just an effective process for organizing your thinking, it is an implementation tool you can refer to regularly as your plan turns into reality.