Communications update: Vicky Browning on the British Heart Foundation's personalisation drive

Plus: the rise of the vlogger, and a new guide to communicating across multiple locations

Many charities still send direct mail addressed to "Dear supporter", but the British Heart Foundation is leading the personalisation charge with its new website. Instead of the navigation being driven by departmental functions with multiple competing calls to action, the content now addresses the individual visitor's needs through automatic personalisation, with opportunities for social interaction.

Charities are moving beyond conventional celebrities to connect with vloggers, the rising stars of the digital age. Mind has signed Zoella, who has more than 6.5 million YouTube subscribers, as its first digital ambassador; ScarfDemon won Save the Children's #Vlog4Good competition to gain editorial control of its YouTube channel for a year; and Parkinson's UK has enlisted Myles Wheeler (itsamemyleo), whose father has Parkinson's, to spread the word about the charity's latest video. "Messages about sensitive subjects are more powerful when they come from real people," says Mind's chief executive, Paul Farmer.

Staff and volunteers operating in far-flung locations can't help your charity meet its goals if they're not in touch with your overall mission and strategic priorities, and with local, regional and central developments. But communicating effectively across branches, regions and local groups throws up many challenges. CharityComms' latest guide, HQ and Beyond, tackles the 10 key issues faced by internal comms people in charities with multiple locations. The guide is free to download from the CharityComms website.

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