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Things we won’t repeat in 2011


Here’s an article I wrote for the good folks at CharityComms this week all about learning from our experience of 2010. I’d love to know what you will learn from and do differently in 2011 so please chip in with your thoughts.

Oh, and if like me you will be celebrating Christmas, I hope you have a fantastic and restful time.


December is the time of year when many of us manage to find a little time to reflect on what’s gone well and what didn’t go according to plan during the last 12 months, in order to try and improve for the next year.

2010 has certainly been challenging for communications and fundraising teams and I’ve personally seen some behaviours which range from inefficient right through to destructive. So, as a ‘guide’ to us all, I thought I’d turn my top five into things we could focus on to deliver more powerful and effective communications in 2011.

(By the way, I’ve not mentioned the teams or individuals concerned to protect the innocent!)

Direct marketing is not just direct mail! It’s any form of persuasive communication that is directed at an individual level rather than broadcast to everyone. Too many potentially effective direct marketing ideas are dismissed out of hand because of this misconception so don’t fall into this trap. Get the right message to the right audience via the right media at the right time and you will see positive results.

Communicating with staff and volunteers first or at least at the same time as external audiences is going help build better engagement with these teams. Too often the people helping to deliver the services are the last ones to know what’s going on! Factor internal communications into all your activity plans.

Social media as a communications suite of tools does not exist in isolation. The best social media campaigns will not deliver anything like the results they could if you do not integrate them with your web presence, other online activity and off line marketing or campaigning.

The donor or supporter is not always right: although you should have a very good, evidence-based reason to disagree before you start publicly doing so!

It’s OK to disagree with marketing ‘gurus’ and others who tell you ‘there’s no such word as can’t’ or that ‘you should be doing X’. Focusing on the things you can do that will make a difference to the people you support and delivering them brilliantly is generally the best way to move forward. In other words, take on board the bits that make sense to you, not everything verbatim.

What are your experiences?

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