Published on February 28, 2014
Charity comms on a budget Fen Bagias, Communications & Campaigns Manager ERIC (Education and Resources for Improving Childhood Continence)
Key areas to consider How can effective organisational strategies help you focus your energy and resources? How can partnership working across the third, public and private sectors help you save comms costs and enable you to work more efficiently? How can you empower other team members to engage with comms activities such as the website, social media and the charity’s brand? How can new technology enable you to do things faster, more efficiently or present information/ideas in more effective ways? I will outline some insights in this presentation in relation to strategy, brand, website, PR/social and campaigning…
Strategy Are your communications strategies and plans clearly linked with organisational strategy and outcomes? Could teams be structured differently to improve teamworking across comms, fundraising and campaigning? Understand the ‘theory of change’ model – be clear on difference between outputs and outcomes Maximise opportunities to measure impact – and communicate outcomes/your success externally
Brand Definition: ‘A way of building your reputation to persuade people to act in certain ways that benefit your organisation’ Brand re-development doesn’t have to cost a fortune. ERIC will be developing a new website – a new visual identity will evolve from the design of the site. Other brand development activity has been managed internally, including staff and stakeholder audits Brand audits – regularly review how your beneficiaries/users feel about your work, communications and levels of customer service. For example run your own website or Survey Monkey polls, ask corporate partners to include questions about your charity within their research Do you have brand guidelines or an approvals process? This could help to support team members and ensure communications are consistent in terms of visual brand and messaging According to NFP Synergy emotions will become a measurement currency for charities – understand how to connect with your audiences’ emotions, and which emotions lead to action
Website Is your website your charity’s central marketing tool? Do all teams in your charity have a clear stake in an organisation-wide web development strategy? Consider skilling up members of your team – using the content management system, Google Analytics, Google Ads (free for charities) SEO Constantly review your web stats, keep tweaking and improving content. Aim to add 3,000 words of new content through the site every month to support SEO Focus on stories – people want to know about people, not the charity itself
PR & social Focus on targeting media rather than ‘blanket approaches’ – link back to your organisational strategy, key audiences and outcomes Develop a multimedia toolkit for presenting information, data and visuals using free or low cost providers – Piktochart, Prezi, Bubbl, Flickr, iStock Utilise free journalist request services Join the online conversation. Commentate on blogs, articles Time saving technology – eg Hootsuite/Tweetdeck
Campaigning Can you improve your charity’s campaign planning process? Resources such as ‘The Good Guide to Campaigning and Influencing’, by Brian Lamb (NCVO publication) can help with strategy development, mapping of issues/the PEST environment and evaluation. Are your campaigns integrated in their messaging, eg do they include fundraising call to actions? Together we’re stronger – maximise partnerships and alliances across the sector to achieve your campaigning goals Are you using all available data to support your campaigning? Eg new research, latest hospital admissions data Know your targets and what motivates them Seek pro bono support from public affairs / campaigning experts
What else… Relationship building – meeting in person with journalists or stakeholders can leave a lasting impact. Volunteers – could you use extra support? Place free ads through local charity networks, universities and colleges. Mentoring services across the sector – could someone in another charity help you skill up in a particular area, eg website development or public affairs? Go through personal or professional networks or the Small Charities Coalition. Do you have a coverage monitoring service? If not, sign up to Google Alerts and you could ask corporate partners to support you with monitoring/evaluation for specific campaigns. They can also help with access to services like Red Pages (celebrity contacts). Look at free/low cost training. NCVO, Knowhownonprofit, Media Trust, local charity networks eg Voscur in Bristol.
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