Meet the Membership Organisation Team of the Year
The CharityComms team share with us some of their recent initiatives, that led to winning Team of the Year at the recent Memcom Membership Excellence Awards.
At CharityComms, our aim is to connect, inform, empower, and inspire comms professionals in the charity sector. We work with our members and the wider communications community to raise the standard of communications in not-for-profits, to enable them to deliver their world-changing missions more effectively.
Our model is very much a peer-to-peer sharing network. As a membership organisation, it’s through our events, best practice guides and reports, mentoring and professional development, digital and social media content that we are able to listen to our members and produce the content and services that they most need.
We are a team of 13, based in a variety of locations from Manchester to Dorset. Like many others, we have been home-working over the past year and connecting digitally has been a key focus as we worked to deliver the high-quality events our members expect by moving them online, build more digital capability in our platforms, and continue to share and create relevant and timely content to support our members.
Although there have been many challenges along the way, we are immensely proud of how we came together as a team to adapt our ways of working (to external forces as well as to our individual needs – hello home-schooling!). We delivered 58 live online events between April 2020 and March 2021, as well as creating an on-demand service, with 30 on-demand events during the year. As a result, we saw an increase of 34% on attendees/viewers on the previous year. The number of people added to our network increased by 6% over the year, while the number of new members (across all types of membership) added to our community has increased by just over 10% this year compared to the previous year.
And, although we’re not together in person, we haven’t forgotten how to have fun as a team, with online social events, end-of-the-week catch-ups, chat threads dedicated to Netflix recommendations, team dance and yoga sessions and making sure that we’re looking after each other.
Some of the ways we have found that have worked particularly well with our members and wider community over the past year include:
- Lobbying – representing our members’ interests and championing the sector by leading on the #NeverMoreNeeded and Charities Against Hate campaigns.
- Partnering – creating a resources hub for small charities and partnership with the Small Charities Coalition that allowed us to welcome 50 new small charities to our network, working with corporate partners to quickly curate content especially relevant to our members, and partnering with Media Trust to conduct a state of the sector survey and create specific resources in response.
- Listening – conducting frequent surveys to gauge which topics and content were most needed and offering additional networking and group sessions for members to share concerns and learning with each other.
- Championing – supporting our members with initiatives such as our #MeetAFreelancer campaign that highlights the work of our freelancer members, #MentorMagic to say thank you to our mentors and #MembershipMonday to highlight membership benefits on social media.
- Trying new things – we have trialled lots of new ideas and ways of working, from how we run breakout rooms during events and a new topic-themed website, to an online community and a “which bird communicator are you?” quiz to highlight membership benefits in a light-hearted way.
From our 2021 member survey we know that members have been appreciating the ability to connect with others working in the sector. The idea of being part of an active network and working toward a common goal saw an increase on 2020 with networking with other comms professionals featuring highly at 91% (up from 81% in 2020), and 64% citing being part of improving comms in the sector (up from 53% in 2020).
Other achievements have included the Digital Benchmark winning the “Most effective use of data” category in The Drum’s 2020 Digital Advertising Awards and our CEO, Adeela Warley being awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Honours list in January 2021.
It has also been lovely to realise that throughout we have managed to maintain the fantastic sense of community that lies at the heart of CharityComms, with feedback from members such as “the very helpful and supportive team helps me to feel connected to the sector,” and “it's accessible and friendly – no sense of needing to 'be something I'm not' in order to participate.”
One member summed up everything we aim to do as a team when they said that one of their favourite things about CharityComms is “being part of something that is improving my own knowledge and professional practice, at the same time as improving the profession as a whole and making a difference to the sector.” That’s why we work so hard on behalf of our members and love what we do every day. Thank you, memcom, for letting us acknowledge and appreciate the hard work and dedication that everyone in our team has shown over the past 18 months.
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