Adeela Warley, CEO at CharityComms

In our latest interview with a charity leader doing brilliant work with digital during COVID-19, we were thrilled to speak to Adeela Warley, CEO at CharityComms. 

1.How can the new Who Cares? book help charities?

2020 has been a very challenging year. The latest nfpSynergy tracker on public attitudes and behaviours shows the very real challenges charities face and the need to up our game if we are to win hearts and minds and engage people in our work.

Who Cares? Is designed as a practical guide to help anyone out there who is serious about putting their audiences at the heart of everything they do.

Adopting an audience centric approach has never been more needed. Understanding our audiences and finding ways to empower them to act and to control their own experiences with the causes they feel passionate about is essential if charities are to bounce back and thri

ve in the longer term.

In partnership with Eden Stanley, our new book Who Cares? Building audience-centred engagement strategies in the non-profit sector  is rooted in the reality of working in the non-profit world, it challenges us to do better but also provides solutions – with practical ideas, processes and resources to respond, as well as case studies from both large and small UK non-profits. It’s an essential read for anyone trying to engage people in positive change.

Find out more on our dedicated page here: https://bit.ly/2U0YUGA

Available to buy from Amazon: https://amzn.to/3etTxt8

2.Who Cares? is about how charities can build audience centred engagement strategies. What are your top tips on doing that during the pandemic and what role does digital play? 

My top tips are:

  • Start with what you have – review your organisational strategy, your values and purpose and target audiences and use these as your decision- making tool. 
  • Put aside business as usual and really align activity with delivering benefit to your audiences in the most efficient and meaningful way
  • Be brave –foster a culture of continuous learning
  • Be flexible and responsive 
  • Use minimal viable products to speed up, test and learn 

 3.How has Charitycomms’ use of digital changed during lockdown? 

We brought our entire face to face events programme of over 70 events online –  a massive transformation and steep learning curve

We took the opportunity of our events going online to make them even more accessible by using Otter AI transcription. We also launched Mighty Networks – our online community platform to ensure members are able to support and learn from each other in a timely and responsive way.

We refreshed our website to make it easier to access our evergreen quality content and promote new resources responding to our members most pressing needs https://www.charitycomms.org.uk/. It’s led to testing a new “On demand” service to help maximise the value of our event content to increase access and create a new income stream.We also relaunched the CharityComms Podcastas a platform for telling the personal stories of amazing charity communicators.

 4. As 2020 draws to a close, what do you see as the big lessons for charity leaders about digital from  this year? 

Leaders need to invest in developing skills and competencies and recruit with digital in mind.They should empower their teams to try new approaches, and to test and learn! 

Involving stakeholders and beneficiaries in product development from the start is a good lesson from this year. To this well we all need to commit to acting on data insights and using digital to put people in charge of their own experiences. Listen regularly and often to what people want 

Finally, remember digital is here to stay so keep in mind all the digital products/ fundraising initiatives you are putting in place now are likely to become part of long-term strategy. 

You can see lots of great examples of how charities have used digital for impact this year: 

https://www.charitycomms.org.uk/events/digital-conference-november-2020

5. What are your digital resolutions for 2021? 

I have 4 new year resolutions: I’m going to: 

  1. Schedule and keep to regular digital detox time  
  2. Make space for others to have a voice
  3. Share and celebrate digital excellence 
  4. Learn from my team – they are awesome digital natives