In Australia, there are around 54,000 registered charities, according to the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. If you're part of one of these charities' communication teams, you'll know just how rewarding this type of PR can be. You'll also know that, unlike some large, private sector corporations, your communication budget might be slightly smaller.
So, we've looked at the current climate, and come up with these tips for charity communication.
You're the good guys – but don't rest on your laurels
While many communication professionals in business or government have to deal with quite a lot of bad press, you're already at an advantage in that people already have a good impression of your organisation. However, you shouldn't rest on your laurels because of this.
Although bad press is something charities don't have to deal with that often, when negative things are being said about your organisation, it can be even more damaging. This is precisely because you're supposed to be the good guys. Be aware that all your carefully planned press releases and events can go out the window if a negative story goes around about your charity. This means you need to make sure your communication team is well trained in crisis and reputation management, even if there's never been a scandal in the history of your organisation.
One thing that has become an issue in recent years is how charities are actually spending the money people donate. Many contributors aren't happy with the money that goes to, for instance charity CEOs, or how much is spent on fundraising as opposed to what actually goes to the beneficiaries of the charitable work. So, it's a good idea to look into this issue, and, if your organisation is comfortable with this, publishing exactly how a donation will be spent.
Show how you're making a difference, not just what you're trying to change
A lot of charities focus on the issues they are trying to change. This is an effective way of doing charity communication, but people will get tired of the hard-hitting stuff if it's all you ever talk about. You need to also show exactly what your charity is doing to solve the issue, so potential donors know their money is actually helping.
Storytelling is a great way to do this. It's something that all communication professionals should be looking into, but the method works particularly well for charities. You can find out about the people your charity has helped, and tell their stories to a wider audience.
Communication professionals in Australia have done some amazing things for charities, and can keep on doing so by staying abreast of communication news and developments.