Vicky Browning: Understanding the value of communications

A new report shows communications professionals how to talk to trustees

In the new context for charities - more emphasis on risk management and protecting reputation - trustees need to understand the value of communications.

Many trustee duties relate closely to core comms responsibilities around, for example, impact reporting, awareness-raising, accuracy of information, reputation management and transparency. Ultimately, taking a strategic approach to communications can help trustees deliver on virtually every organisational aim.

But comms professionals aren't always the best at speaking the language of the board. Many struggle to gain access to board meetings and, when they do, their input is limited to reciting a list of press cuttings. This might be impressive, but it doesn't reveal the full potential of what strategic comms can bring to the party.

CharityComms' latest best practice guide, How to Talk to Trustees About Comms, offers advice to charity communicators on how to identify board concerns, demonstrate how communications can progress organisational goals and find comms solutions to applicable problems.

As Mark Atkinson, chief executive (and former director of comms) at Scope, puts it: "If you've just got the operations and finance people, while that's good and important, it doesn't connect you to the external world, to the environment in which your charity is operating. You need people who can bring those things to the heart of the discussion of the board."

Download the report for free here.

Vicky Browning is director of CharityComms

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