Charity communications insight*

Background: I've worked in marketing, development and fundraising roles for four charities, all of which I've continued to work for as a freelance consultant after contract end. Aware of limited budgets charities and non-profit organisations work within, I can help you with writing case-for-support documents and proposals; campaign branding, communications and fundraising strategies and materials; events and stewardship; audit and review existing materials. I've worked with philanthropy advisors, funding assessors and philanthropists who've helped me understand donor expectations, and undertaken a raft of professional courses, including Institute of Fundraising. 

Proposals, bids and case-for-support presentations, websites, brochures, social media:

  • Key to future planning for both non-profit and commercial initiatives, aproposal should both engage and inform.
  • Start by asking: what does the reader need to know, and how can that be most clearly presented? Information should be low context – assume the reader has no prior knowledge of the project, or context of your work – or has much time to work out your message. 
  • Offer quantitive information where possible.
  • Be specific in your ask – generic aims such as "to improve wellbeing", or "to help people" don't help funders understand what you do, or why they should fund you.
  • Infographics can outline a situation at-a-glance. A picture paints a thousand words.
  • As I work 'outside' of your organisation I can often identify factors that might be overlooked by staff immersed in the 'day-to'day'. I’ll ask the questions that funders will expect to see answered, and the images we use will tell the story.
  • If your charity’s objective is to support people, talk to them and supporters directly and empathetically, rather than talking about yourself:  “You can find support; you can help others by volunteering” rather than "We are a charity, we were established years ago; we work with a specific group of people".
  • Check the images you use actually tell your story to a person who doesn’t know it yet. For example: without knowledge or context, photos of your newly decorated calm spaces are actually pictures of furniture in a room.

This TEDTalk discusses how and why charities undervalue marketing where businesses know it is vital – worth watching:  


I have very much enjoyed working with Kate – she is one of those unique people who is able to give equal attention both to the big picture (thinking about how the communication will come across to its intended audience) and the fine detail. As a result, working with her on design projects is challenging, rewarding and fun. Her intelligent approach helps you as the client to be confident that you are getting a quality product. Tany Alexander
, Senior Campaign Executive, University of Oxford Development Office