Next week (on 30 May) I’m off to a Charity Comms workshop on charity communications strategies. It promises to be a very useful event and it’s got me thinking about what I’ve learned over the years from working on charity communication strategies. So I’d like to share the 5 key things that I’ve picked up along the way. You can use these tips whether you’re marketing a service, launching a report or a campaign. (You might want to read them alongside this blog I wrote for Charity Comms last year about charity marketing strategies) :
- Be ambitious with your strategic aims. It goes without saying that your communications strategy should support your organisational strategy and business objectives. But don’t be afraid to think big; your strategy could help turn your organisation’s reputation around or secure that elusive government contract. Just over two years ago I worked on a strategy for a series of events to mark our 25th anniversary at Lasa which aimed to rebuild our reputation after a restructure. It was a bold move that paid off.
- Help your colleagues see how your strategy will benefit them. When working on a new strategy, I always ask the colleagues who I’m working with from other teams, ‘What are you looking to achieve this year?’ By exploring their views of opportunities and threats you’ll learn useful information and help get their buy-in. Remember it’s their strategy as much as yours.
- Integrate, integrate, integrate. This is my motto for 2012. All your marketing, comms and fundraising activities should be closely integrated. It’s the most efficient and effective way to do things.
- Turn negatives into positives. Budgets and resources are being cut. The goalposts are probably changing as you write your strategy, and will change again as you deliver it. This can be frustrating so keep your strategy flexible. Work out what you can do with what you have and focus on what you can control. Whether your budget is thousands, hundreds or nothing, there will be plenty of things that you can still offer, no matter what challenges you face. When money is very tight I focus on press, contradeals, social media and piggybacking off other marketing/ comms activities.
- Get people excited. Never underestimate the value of plain old fashioned enthusiasm when approaching your strategy. It’s infectious and will help motivate you as much as the people you work with. A colleague recently told me that my work had helped ‘galvanise his team.’
I’d love to know your top tips for charity communications strategies. And if you’re going to the Charity Comms workshop next week, do come and say hello.