Interview: Claudine Snape

The communications manager at health charity Asthma UK talks to Jennifer Sprinks about the impact of social media on charity PR

Claudine Snape
Claudine Snape

- What has been your biggest achievement so far?

The work we did on a story for World Asthma Day last year had huge success and resulted in 90 million opportunities for people to see, hear or read our message. We reported that 8 out of 10 adults would not know what to do if a child with asthma had an attack while in their care. It struck a chord with people and made them realise how serious asthma can be. This year's World Asthma Day will take place on 3 May.

- How has your organisation's approach to communication changed in recent years?

Social media has transformed the way we communicate with our supporters. We use it not only to communicate directly with asthma sufferers, but also to empower them to tell their own stories on blogs or on Twitter. This gives us a lot more scope than just using old PR tactics.

- What particular PR campaign in the sector has impressed you?

I have been particularly impressed by Greenpeace over the past year and its Killer Kit Kat campaign to stop Nestle's alleged role in deforesting land. It kept the pressure piled on and had a particular focus on very strong, shocking and emotive messaging.

- How will you use the lessons learnt from the Greenpeace campaign?

It showed the strength of knowing your audience. It is a really challenging time for fundraising at the moment, so it's important to think about what we are doing in the sector, what we want to achieve and how we engage and interact with people.

- What are the emerging trends in communication?

There's a big move towards digital fundraising and the use of tools such as Foursquare, the location-based social networking website, and Twitter. For example, Comic Relief had Twit Relief, in which people could bid for the prize of having celebrities follow them on Twitter for 90 days. This has been hugely successful in raising money and we'll see more of this kind of thing.

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