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Making the case for comms in your organisation

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Julie Kangisser, director, Think Communications

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Making the case for comms in your organisation

  1. 1. Making comms indispensable Julie Kangisser 10th July 2019
  2. 2. Intro
  3. 3. WARNING - DON’T WAIT FOR A STRATEGIC REVIEW TO HAPPEN TO YOU
  4. 4. THE PROBLEM MAY BE BIGGER THAN YOU THINK Our CEO values comms 85% Our organisation respects comms 59% Our trustees understand the value of comms 54% [Charity Comms Comms Benchmark 2017]
  5. 5. MAKING THE CASE – TALKING BUSINESS SOLVING PROBLEMS FOR THE ORGANISATION CREATING NEW OPPORTUNITIES STRENGTHENING RELATIONSHIPS CHANGING ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIOURS WIN THE ARGUMENT IN PRINCIPLE DATA CAN FOLLOW
  6. 6. Small Charity Leaders Insight Report 18/19
  7. 7. Big organisational challenges Ensuring we comply with new legislation and best practice 71.39% Struggling to recruit for a key role 37.46% Setting up a new partnership 34.22% Major IT upgrades and IT failures 32.74% Restructuring of organisation 32.74% Withdrawal of major funding source 26.25% Rationalising and reorganising property and sites 17.99% Making staff redundancies 17.11% High staff turnover 15.34% Closing services 12.39% Exploring or completing a merger 9.73% None of the above 6.78% Criticism in the media, including social media 5.90%
  8. 8. Getting inside your CEO’s head Rise Same Fall 0.00% 10.00% 20.00% 30.00% 40.00% 50.00% Do you expect your charity’s income to rise or fall next year compared to this year? Responses
  9. 9. Do you feel there is more uncertainty in your operating environment than in previous years? Much more uncertainty More uncertainty Same uncertainty Less uncertainty 0.00% 5.00% 10.00% 15.00% 20.00% 25.00% 30.00% 35.00% 40.00% 45.00% Responses
  10. 10. Collaboration other small charities large charities private sector organisations local government 0.00% 10.00% 20.00% 30.00% 40.00% 50.00% 60.00% 70.00% Very well Well Poorly Very poorly
  11. 11. Stakeholder support local people local businesses local government central government 0.00% 10.00% 20.00% 30.00% 40.00% 50.00% 60.00% 70.00% 80.00% Level of support Excellent. We get the support we need. Good. But we need more. We don’t get the support we need. N/A we don't need their support
  12. 12. It’s not all about the money work for us volunteer for us skills pro bono ambassadors fundraisers 0.00% 10.00% 20.00% 30.00% 40.00% 50.00% 60.00% 70.00% 80.00% 90.00% Aside from money, what are you currently looking for from local people (choose all that apply)? Responses
  13. 13. Which skillsets would your charity most benefit from? Fundraising 57.23% Building partnerships with the commercial sector 51.33% Branding and communications 38.35% IT and digital 38.05% Strategy development 24.19% Staff development and performance management 21.24% Legal 14.45% Building partnerships within the not for profit sector 14.16% Governance 14.16% Financial 13.27% Estates and facilities management 8.55% Expertise in organisational mergers 2.95% None of the above 0.88%
  14. 14. Activity 1: Solving organisational problems SOLVING PROBLEMS FOR THE ORGANISATION CREATING NEW OPPORTUNITIES STRENGTHENING RELATIONSHIPS CHANGING ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIOURS • What are your organisation’s biggest problems now and longer-term? • Is/should your charity exploring new ways of working e.g. new partners; new funding streams; new services; different geography? • Which of your charity’s stakeholders are the most critical? Are these relationships actively stewarded? • Does your charity seek to change attitudes and behaviour (even if you’re not a public campaigning charity)? BETTER COMMUNICATION CAN HELP BY:
  15. 15. ORGANISATIONAL PITFALLS 1. Expected to do everything 2. Too internally focused 3. Narrow view of comms 4. Failing to get senior buy in 5. Disintegrated comms
  16. 16. 1. Selective to be effective • Danger of getting pulled into marketing support for lots of individual streams of work. • Recommend communications team focus on key audiences – perhaps do one properly before moving on e.g. local authorities; prisons. • Flagship approach – range of programmes is quite large. Identify the one that you wish to be known for. Other programmes to benefit from ‘halo effect’.
  17. 17. ORGANISATIONAL PITFALLS 1. Expected to do everything 2. Too internally focused 3. Narrow view of comms 4. Failing to get senior buy in 5. Disintegrated comms
  18. 18. 2. Bringing the outside in – offering constructive challenge • Does organisational strategy make sense to the outside world? • Licence to ask tricky questions that an outsider might • Have you ever done an audit of stakeholder views? Do you have sufficient objectivity to conduct this – in many cases, yes • Position communications proposals in context of external audience’s views.
  19. 19. ORGANISATIONAL PITFALLS 1. Expected to do everything 2. Too internally focused 3. Narrow view of comms 4. Failing to get senior buy in 5. Disintegrated comms
  20. 20. 3. Expanding comms’ remit • Issues management - have you identified risks to the charity? How are you addressing these? Do you have a crisis communications plan? • Do you look at the accounts before they get published. Ask for an explanation/prevent people drawing false conclusions? • Leadership comms – internally and externally • Thought leadership activity – what do you want to be known for? E.g. raising awareness of the issues that you address rather than what you do.
  21. 21. Employee engagement Issues & media management Proactive PR Stakeholder engagement Publications Digital Events Corporate identity My comms team Activity 2: Broad view of comms Any others?
  22. 22. CEO’s view on communications – mixed messages “Promoting what we do among potential funders - philanthropists, corporates, foundations” “We have loads and loads of great human interest stories but how can we tell those in a coherent way to raise our profile, breaking beyond the bubble of people who know us?” “Social media channels need a very authentic voice not corporate sounding” “Not too much publicity as can’t cope with demand”
  23. 23. CEO’s views “Reaching new volunteers and keeping them engaged” “thoughtful work engaging with deaf communities around their needs” “Being in the right place at the right time to comment on emerging trends and being able to be part of that conversation, keeping our name out there.” “Someone to work at a community-level, we don’t do very well at shouting what we do and demonstrating our impact”
  24. 24. ORGANISATIONAL PITFALLS 1. Expected to do everything 2. Too internally focused 3. Narrow view of comms 4. Failing to get senior buy in 5. Disintegrated comms
  25. 25. 4. Getting senior buy-in SHOW THEM WHAT GOOD LOOKS LIKE (AND WHAT IT DOESN’T LOOK LIKE) • Do an audit of your communications. (coherent and consistent?) • Quick competitor comms analysis always useful. – how will you be different or better? • Stakeholder audit • Use any data if you have it of the impact of previous good practice • WHAT ABOUT YOUR TRUSTEES?
  26. 26. Trustees and trust • The time is right • Comms essential to good governance: • Raises brand awareness • Risk management • impact reporting • accuracy of information, transparency • reputation management • DOES YOUR BOARD HAVE A COMMS CHAMPION? • DO YOU GO TO BOARD MEETINGS? RECOMMENDED READING: https://www.charitycomms.org.uk/how-to-make-the-case- for-comms-with-trustees
  27. 27. Bernard Jenkin MP, chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) “Charities really only have one asset: your reputation. It is trustees’ responsibility to look after it.”
  28. 28. Not just strategic nous – some quick tactical wins • Over a third of small charity trustees’ annual reports and accounts fail to meet the Charity Commission’s basic benchmark [Sept 2018] • tools to be effective and consistent • Messaging card for SLT and trustees • Profiles/case studies of beneficiaries
  29. 29. ORGANISATIONAL PITFALLS 1. Expected to do everything 2. Too internally focused 3. Narrow view of comms 4. Failing to get senior buy in 5. Disintegrated comms
  30. 30. 5. Get integrated • Sub brands • Internal service delivery silos • Personal fiefdoms • Lack of control over visual identity and messaging • Campaigns and fundraising uncoordinated WHY HAVE INTEGRATED, JOINED-UP COMMS? • Make you case more clearly • Attract more support • More attractive package to sponsors >>> audience centric
  31. 31. The opportunity for comms From • Tactical • Implementers • “All things to all men” • Responsive • Stretched • Pockets of support To • Strategic and aligned • Advisors • Prioritised • Proactive/agents of change • Resourced for role • Organisational buy-in
  32. 32. 5. Next steps (take your pick) 1 of 2 your own strategic comms reviewINITIATE case for comms in relation to organisational strategy (use template)DEVELOP dangers of failing to invest in commsLIST flagship services/propositionsIDENTIFY stakeholder audit – of your charity/your charity’s commsCONDUCT existing commsAUDIT competitor commsREVIEW data and anecdotal evidence from previous comms successCOLLATE
  33. 33. 5. Next steps(take your pick) 2 of 2 team of comms allies inc. trusteesBUILD to acquire new skillsPLAN yourself as an advisor not just a doerPOSITION at the top tableBE HEARD a comms strategy with broad strategic remit and organisational backingTHEN WRITE
  34. 34. Any questions? Thank you.
  35. 35. SOLVING PROBLEMS FOR THE ORGANISATION CREATING NEW OPPORTUNITIES STRENGTHENING RELATIONSHIPS CHANGING ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIOURS Key organisational problem: ____________________________________________ Opportunities to be pursued to resolve problem______________________________ How comms will help ___________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ Key stakeholders ______________________________________________________ Comms can help by ____________________________________________________ Comms can make people feel, think and act_________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________ TALKING “BUSINESS” Reputational risk posed by problem is______________________________________ Comms can help by ____________________________________________________
  36. 36. Making the case for comms in your organisation Seminar Room 6 How is ‘communications’ perceived in your charity? And where does it sit in the organisational structure? Small charity leaders recognise the need for strong communications support, yet often identify a shortage of these skills in their organisations. In this interactive session Julie will draw on research and experience working with small charity leaders through the Pilotlight programme, to help you identify steps you can take to ensure the importance of comms is recognised in top-level decision- making, and that your comms skills are deployed by your charity as a strategic asset, rather than an on-demand service. Julie Kangisser director, Think Communications

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