Communications for the ‘Big Society’

Posted by on Nov 10, 2010 in Journalism, Media, New Media, Politics, Social Enterprise

Having spent all day with The Media Trust debating the matter and more importantly trying to understand the opportunities to little old me I thought I’d share the topline with you:

Big Society – Small government : A government sea change shifts us away from national and towards local control. We ( the voluntary sector ) need to change what we  say and who we say it to. From today I’ve taken 3 bits of immediately useful and practical advice.

1. GROW your share of budget from local councils
Robin Millar, Centre for Social Justice

Create a convincing argument that local government can meet it’s 30% 5 year budget reduction targets by increasing their 5% spend with the voluntary sector. How?

“ we will help reduce your costs ”

Convince local boroughs ( and your local councilor ) to see the services the voluntary sector offer as a as way of saving money by lowering demand for their services in the future.

  • Cause and effect – prove yourself locally
  • Prove the need
  • Make yourself relevant, use all available research such as public data explorer

There is power in sharing resources, costs for research and collaborative pitching. The question is not what are our USP’s more where can we work together.

2. Funding, who are you ‘selling to’? Have a bag of tricks
Fiona Taylor, Groundworks

Annual Impact Reports are hard to compile but create a lasting resource of facts that you can slice, repeat and tailor depending on who you’re talking to.

  • Stories – bring your work to life with the human impact of your work. Use photographs and video a picture is STILL worth a 1,000 words
  • Key facts – What are your strongest figures and do these stats look better if you cut them a different way? I.E volunteer hours a week rather than a year, % of population, % change
  • Endorsements – testimonials both on a National and local level show the emotional impact of your work
  • Repetition. Get your key facts and repeat, most of the peopel you talk to won;t take in everything you say straight away.
  • SROI – find national stats to support the impact of what you do
  • Jump on the band wagon – is there is a National Campaign Week use this to your advantage and see what links and PR you can generate for free.

Most importantly who are you talking to and what do they want to hear?

3. Private sector – Brands must use advertising to promote good causes
Joe Cliff, Lloyds

Why? Because it differentiates them for their competitors and drives consumer loyalty. On top of this a relationship with the voluntary sector can offer volunteering and development opportunities for employees and fulfill CSR.

Be Fit for Private consumption:

  • What is your story? Who do you help and why are you essential
  • What opportunities are there for employees to be involved or grow
  • How can involvement with you help strengthen the perception of the brand with consumers?

Want more? Well here are some soundbites that resonated with me

The internet is: “for sustained local action” James Murphy, Lincoln Community Foundation

” a tool to organise new stuff ” Paul Miller, School of Everything

“no longer a just a tool for communication, there’s too much information available already – it’s use to us know is as a tool for organisation” Sarah Hunter, Google

Local & Hyper local News – What feels local to you?

” What are you saying and who are you saying it to? ” Ruth Peacock, BBC

” Put a face to your story and make sure you understand why they should care” Jo Inskip, Community Newswire

” It’s not just about digital but multi – layered platforms “ Nick Haworth, Yell