Adeela Warley: Connecting our causes helps to drive action

Drawing out common threads doesn’t just reduce competition for attention, it also scales up the impact and ambition of charity campaigns

Finding simple ways to convey complex issues is what charity communicators do every day. They deal in plain language and simple concepts. Seven-syllable words such as “intersectionality” are out – too complex and abstract, many might say.

But broken down, intersectionality is about the links between social problems and the power systems we aim to transform.

Intersectionality is a term that was coined by the US civil rights activist and leading scholar on race and gender issues, Kimberlé Crenshaw. She described it as “a metaphor for understanding how the multiple ways that some forms of inequality or disadvantage compound themselves and create obstacles that are often not understood within conventional ways of thinking”.

For charity communicators it makes sense to draw out the connections between our causes, not just to reduce competition for attention but to galvanise action.

For example, Asthma and Lung UK is showing how the climate crisis is a health crisis linked to air pollution, inequality, obesity and unhealthy lifestyles. It has harnessed the momentum of environmental, social justice and health campaigning to influence national policy, mobilise community action and improve services.

The Vegetarian Society also used this year’s #NationalVegetarianWeek to highlight the links between a healthy vegetarian diet, a healthy climate and thriving nature.

And Oxfam’s latest report links the crisis of the pandemic, inequality and rising food prices to their demand that the world’s wealthiest shift power and resources to those in most need.

What is the one thing these narratives all have in common? They help to find common causes, and so scale up the impact and ambition of charity campaigns.

Adeela Warley is the chief executive of CharityComms

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