#ccmidlands – Making the case for communications

Charity Comms Midlands

As a comms professional working in the third sector, you know how crucial good communications is to the success of your organisation. But do your colleagues understand and value the role of comms as a central business function within your charity or non-profit?

That was the question that inspired the topic for the second meeting of the CharityComms Midlands Networking Group: Demonstrating the value of communications.

The event, our second to be held at the fabulous Impact Hub Birmingham, kicked off with a presentation from Chris Arnold, Digital Communications Officer at CABA. Chris gave us some useful tips on using Google Analytics to measure campaign success, including how to tailor the ‘Goals’ function to reflect the value of different types of engagement (i.e. taking into account the higher value of a donation or membership sign-up compared to a Twitter share or a Facebook like). The slides from Chris’s presentation can be found on the CharityComms Midlands Networking Group webpage.

The presentation was followed by group discussion, based around a series of questions designed to inspire delegates to share their experiences of how comms is measured in their own organisations, including how KPIs are developed, where the biggest challenges are, and what success looks like.

Each discussion group fed back to the whole group at the end, and some interesting points were raised, including:

  • Differentiating comms from fundraising is a key challenge. Comms shouldn’t just be a supporting role to the fundraising team, but getting others within your organisation to understand this can be hard. Suggestions included training sessions for SMTs and board members about the value of comms, and even moving the comms team physically further away from the fundraising team within the office space.
  • It’s important to be vocal about your successes. Don’t be shy about raising small victories amongst your team. If your comms efforts have paid off, even in a small way – make sure your SMT know about it. Some people suggested that a good way to do this is by linking the success of the organisation to your comms activity through regular reports to your board (or even showing how decreased comms activity can have a negative effect on overall performance!).
  • Your goals need to be clear in order to know what success looks like. We all agreed that wIthout clear communications objectives, it’s impossible to know when you’ve reached your targets. This includes making sure that your KPIs correspond with what you’re trying to achieve – for example, on social media, if you want to raise awareness you should be measuring reach, whereas if you want to inspire action you should be measuring engagement.

As ever, it was fantastic to see so many delegates from such a wide range of organisations attending the event. From comms officers within large national charities, to those managing comms single-handedly for small organisations (and a few freelancers thrown in for good measure – myself included!), there were representatives from all types of comms teams there.

If you work in comms for a non-profit in the Midlands, why not join us at our next event in February 2017? It’s a great way to meet peers and share ideas in a friendly atmosphere (plus as many biscuits as you can eat).

Thanks as ever to CharityComms for making it happen, and to all of you who attended, thank you for your ongoing support. See you next time!

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