Interview: Charles Golding

The communications and marketing director of the disability charity Norwood says people in charity comms must be focused and painstaking

Charles Golding
Charles Golding

The veteran journalist Charles Golding describes himself as a "poacher turned gamekeeper" since his move into communications work at the disability charity Norwood.

Golding joined the organisation in November as communications and marketing director. The former journalist brings with him 30 years of working in the media industry in roles such as deputy editor of the Sunday Express, programme controller at LBC Radio and features editor of Good Morning Britain on ITV.

With a varied media career behind him, Golding says that being focused is vital for communications professionals who want to be successful in the sector. "You have to focus on what you're doing and what you want," he says. "You also have to have an infinite capacity for taking pains to get things right - get your press release checked, and checked again, send it out and follow it up with a phone call. Good PR is about developing good relationships with contacts, and you don't achieve that by only sending emails."

Golding says that a belief in what you're doing is fundamental: "At Norwood, we all do charity work in our private lives as well as in our day jobs. We never have to make our staff attend our events and participate - they want to because they believe in what they're doing." He says that belief in yourself is key. "Even if you don't succeed at first, you should try and try again," he says.

Golding was not looking for a job in the third sector before joining the charity, but was tempted by the role because it presented an opportunity to "do something more worthwhile".

Norwood appealed in particular because Golding has a son with special needs. He says: "I am aware how hideously hard it can be to get a child recognised as having special needs, on top of dealing day to day with a child who has issues."

At the charity, he is charged with developing and implementing an internal and external communications strategy. Specifically, he will be looking at how he can modernise the charity's response to a "changing world of PR", while overseeing a redevelopment of the website.

Lobbying is also high on Golding's agenda. "More charities should be having their say, rather than letting the popular press set the agenda," he says. "Someone has to speak up on behalf of users, and we will be doing that on behalf of ours."

Golding points to the charity's celebrity supporters as key promoters of the organisation and a continued focus for Norwood. "We have a galaxy of stars that support us, including figures from the music world such as Mylene Klass and Simon Cowell, and politicians such as Boris Johnson and Ed Miliband. I don't mind what their reason is for getting involved, as long as they do."

Golding says that celebrities like the charity because they understand what it does. "Simon Cowell says 'I get what it's about'. We are ambitious about the people who use our services."

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