Supporting charities to be effective in their communications activity is arguably one of the great loves of my life. My clients have inspiring visions of changing the world for the better. They support people to live well, to be their true selves, to get the help they need in tough times.
And I get to help them communicate in a way that contributes to their mission.
As Adeela Warley, CEO of CharityComms, said in her opening of the 2022 Inspiring Communicator Awards:
“Inspiring communicators help make the world a better place.”
That’s because in order to achieve those visions of change, organisations need to be heard, to share the voice of those who are less often heard and to inspire others to take action in support of change. Their communicators help them to do that by ensuring they are clear about what they need to achieve, who they need to reach and what their messages are. Then they deliver those messages at the right time, in the most appropriate ways and for the best outcomes.
As I listened to the stories of the 10 awards winners at the online ceremony yesterday, it occurred to me that although they represented a variety of organisations and outcomes, their qualities were often the same. We can all learn from those shared qualities.
So what do inspiring communicators do? How can you be an inspiring communicator?
Be a champion of others
Some of the award winners have personal experience of the causes they communicate about, some don’t. They empower others, they understand the reality of people’s lives, they challenge inequality and injustice. They all strive to amplify the voices of the people at the heart of their charity’s mission.
Question to ask yourself: Who are you speaking up for and how can you shine the light on them and/or their story?
This year the awards went to 8 individuals and 2 teams. In their acceptance videos, every one of them spoke about how their achievements were not theirs alone. They recognise the huge importance of working with others on shared goals.
They collaborate with others within their organisations and with partners elsewhere. Together communicators can be greater than the sum of their parts.
Question to ask yourself: Who can you work with to increase the impact of the communications work that you are doing?
Communication can be hard work and, let’s be honest, sometimes it’s demoralising too. Award winners were described as “relentless”, “barrier-breaking” and “on a mission”. They believe in the power of their communications work to drive genuine change for the causes they are passionate about.
And in the dark days they have the resilience to remind themselves of that.
Question to ask yourself: What (or who) can help you on the dark days to see that you are making a difference and to pick yourself up and go again?
Finding new ways to share messages is central to the work of the award winners. One of them was even described as the “Willy Wonka of ideas”. Sometimes that newness comes from the person sharing the messages; sometimes it’s about looking for opportunities to reach new audiences; sometimes it’s doing something that no-one has ever done before.
And sometimes the power of their messages comes from their reliability and their trustworthiness, which can require a different sort of creativity to cut through the noise of more ‘exciting’ messages.
Question to ask yourself: how can you be different in the work that you do?
As communicators, we live for stories, but not all stories are not created equal. The award winners use their own personal stories and the stories of others to illustrate messages and bring about change. By telling these stories in the most compelling ways and to the people who most need to hear them, they are having a huge impact.
Question to ask yourself: what stories can you tell, who needs to hear them and what impact will they achieve?
Huge congratulations to all the award winners! You can read all about them and their work on the CharityComms website.
Until next time