Adeela Warley: The days of the summer ‘silly season’ are long gone

Spare a thought for people planning for the sector’s next great challenge

Is the “silly season” dead? Summer used to signal a period when trivial stories replaced substantial news.

Charity communicators could think the unthinkable and take a holiday or step back to do some planning.

Such fallow days are long gone – if they ever really existed.

The combined effects of climate change, Russia’s war on Ukraine and the cost-of-living crisis have put charities on the front line once again: providing essential goods and services, helping people find work and places to live and pay the bills.

Communicators must champion the salience of their charity’s cause, tell compelling stories about the immediate help and relief they provide and why campaigns for lasting solutions matter.

They are creating information hubs for easy access to advice, exposing unexpected consequences such as dialysis patients struggling to power treatment at home.

They are co-creating stories with the people most hit by hardship and reframing the language of poverty with empathy, compassion and an optimism that change is possible.

Summer is also when many charities plan their vital Christmas appeals, but how can they craft campaigns with confidence when the winter months will bring greater hardship to so many?

They will be making hard choices about the language, tone of voice and stories most likely to inspire giving.

So, at this time of year, spare a thought for the teams tasked with staring into that crystal ball and gathering audience insight to find those people who are passionate about tackling the greatest societal problems we all face.

And let’s make sure they get a “silly season” break, to help them recharge their batteries and return to work armed with fresh ideas and good mental health.

Adeela Warley is chief executive of CharityComms


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