The future of public engagement – how will charities need to respond to changes in supporters, the media and the wider world over the next five years?

23 February 2017
09.30 - 17.00

CharityComms organisational and individual members: £175+vat
Corporate Partners: £220+vat
Small charity (income up to £1m): £195+vat
Medium charity (income £1-5m): £245+vat
Large charity (income £5m - 10m): £280+vat
Super large charity (income £10m+): £310+vat
Corporate/Public sector: £395+vat

Please note that the venue is located in the Canary Wharf area by the South Quay DLR station

CCT Venues - South Quay
193 Marsh Wall
E14 9SG

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While charities may be embracing new channels and developing new products, are they doing enough to evolve the way they communicate and engage with supporters?

As the self-expressive 'Millennials' or 'Gen Y' and 'digital native' consumers grow up, will the contrasts in their behaviours and attitudes with older generations hold firm, and how will they change as they enter middle age?

What do charities need to do now to be ready to cope with this diverse and shifting supporter market, when the contrasts within age groups can be as marked as those between generations?

At this conference we'll explore the changing social context, gaze into the future, and look at ways you can better understand your own current and potential supporters.

Our conference will help you:

  • Identify the key trends which will be shaping our supporters, the media, and the wider world
  • Learn what to do today to be ready to cope with tomorrow's diverse and shifting supporter market
  • Better understand your current and potential supporters to build stronger relationships over time
  • Future proof your comms team
  • See how to gain cut through in an increasingly crowded media climate
  • Discover how to improve public trust in a post-truth world
  • Spot how new technology will improve your engagement strategy

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On the agenda

09.30 - 10.00 Registration, refreshments and advice surgeries
10.00 - 10.10

John Grounds, chair of trustees, CharityComms

10.10 - 10.40 Whatever next?             
The position held by charities in the public psyche is changing. We have an opportunity to rethink our role and find different ways to engage a new generation of supporters, while accepting we no longer hold a monopoly on doing good. Joe will share some of the key trends shaping our supporters, the media, and the wider world, as explored further in Whatever Next? Public Engagement in 2022. This is a report by Eden Stanley and CharityComms, which we're excited to be launching on the day.
Joe Barrell, director,
Eden Stanley
10.40 - 11.10 Responding to the everchanging media landscape: how will we cut through? 
Advancements in technology and the explosion of content both from organisations and individuals continues to disrupt the media landscape. As the amount of content – and number of channels – grows, so too do the routes open to individuals to control their exposure to messages and exercise choice in a world of noise. In this session Paul will share how Oxfam is responding to the challenges and opportunities these disruptions offer and what its plans are for the future – in 2022, how might they cut through?
Paul Gill, head of digital engagement,
Oxfam GB
11.10 - 11.20 Peer exchange: how is your organisation preparing for 2022?
11.20 - 11.50 Refreshments and advice surgeries
11.50 - 12.35 Breakout session one
  1a. Burst the bubble: engaging outside of our established audiences     
From Brexit to Trump, the last 12 months have shaken many of us working in the voluntary sector. It’s become clear that organisations talking about important issues are failing to connect with large numbers of people. In this session, Nicky will offer insights and evidence, exploring how we can communicate complex issues to increasingly challenging audiences. She will demonstrate how we can use values and feelings to help our organisations to cut through and, crucially, how we can understand (and close) the gap between what we say and what people hear. 
Nicky Hawkins, communications director,
Equally Ours
  1b. Public trust, authenticity, and the post-truth world
From aggressive fundraising techniques to fat-cat CEO pay – last year charities battled some horrible media coverage. The latter part of the year has thankfully been quieter – so can we expect a better 2017? And how has this affected public trust in a post-truth world? Tim will explore how charities are, and should be, preparing for what’s ahead, focusing on their unique position to provide an authentic voice during a time when ‘feeling’ can be more important than ‘fact’. He will discuss the opportunities we now have to start addressing issues of public concern before they rear their ugly head once more.
Tim Harrison, director, tracking research,
  1c. All back to 'why?'

What’s the single most helpful way we can prepare for communications in a complex, uncertain future? Perhaps it’s the one thing we have control over - connecting deeply to why we do what we do, and putting it at the heart of how we engage with the world. In this session we’ll share how the pioneering healthcare social enterprise Here has used radical practices around purpose to drive transformation, creating a new brand and culture of storytelling in the process. You’ll be invited to explore your own organisation’s sense of purpose, and how a deep connection might help you engage across content, audiences and channels.  

Charlie Peverett, brand strategist,

Paul Macauley, story and identity person, Here 

12.35 - 13.35 Lunch and advice surgeries
At lunch you'll have a choice of three hot meals (one meat and two vegetarian options) plus a salad bar and desserts. Advice surgeries will be scheduled for the end of lunch so there'll be time to eat!
13.35 - 14.20 Breakout session two
  2a. Opt-in is coming: are you ready? 
In a move which has been described as "stepping across the Rubicon to a new world of engagement", RNLI has become the first charity to move to an opt-in-only system of communications. At a time when the sector is being criticised for aggressive fundraising communications, RNLI has pledged to stop contacting individuals unless they have given consent. It was predicted that this would cost £36m over the following five years. All charities will need to move in this direction to some degree, so why not attend this session and get ahead of the game?
Sara Thompson, marketing manager, RNLI
Ruth Bessant, executive assistant, RNLI
  2b. Live debate: How can charities optimise interest and engagement across generations           
A Baby Boomer and a Millennial will debate what direction charities should take to engage their own generation, drawing on personal experience as charity supporters, GOOD learning and market insights. We’ll shine light on what makes the generations different, bust some myths and explore what unites them – to show how your organisation can speak to values that cut across all ages. Join us for a lively debate including Q&A and audience polling.
Pete Grant, lead planner,
GOOD Agency

Annie Moreton, strategy director,
GOOD Agency
  2c. The life online: using new technology to improve sexual health
From gay dating apps to Amazon’s new voice recognition tool Echo, Will will outline how Terrence Higgins Trust is using new technology to engage with people, both in and outside of their networks, to ensure more people are tested for HIV. He'll explore how the charity's engagement strategy is likely to evolve over the next five years and how they are blending on and offline experiences to ensure no one is left behind.
Will Howells, head of digital,
Terrence Higgins Trust
14.25 - 15.10 Breakout session three
  3a. Amnesty International: understanding and segmenting your audiences        
How can you learn more about the attitudes, behaviours and motivations of your audiences and how can this be applied to your engagement strategy? Sam and Catherine will share insights from their work on a year-long project to better understand and engage with Amnesty International's target audiences. From conducting the initial research to developing a segmentation model and implementing processes for communications planning - they will share the inside story. You'll also get some supporter insights from their research along with advice for your own segmentation projects.
Sam Strudwick, head of digital and communications, 
Amnesty International

Catherine Druce, communications strategist,
Amnesty International

3b. Shelter: building a successful supporter journey programme
Eighteen months ago, Shelter started to develop its Supporter Journey Programme to transform the ways in which it communicates with supporters. Today they have made significant progress with one shared Shelter segmentation, practical tools and frameworks to support more tailored supporter journeys and agile content to help them deliver the right message, to the right audience, at the right time. In this session, Cate will share the lessons from this project and offer top tips for anyone starting a similar journey.
Cate Kirkbride, head of brand marketing, 

Tracy Griffin, executive director of marketing,
fundraising and communications, Scope

  3c. Future proof: what will your team look like in 2022?
New ways to engage. A fragmenting media landscape. Increasing expectations. How do you shape (or join) a team capable of responding effectively to the challenges ahead? In this interactive session, we’ll design the comms team of 2022 – figuring out the optimal mix of skills and behaviours to ensure success.
Sarah Fitzgerald, director,
Self Communications Ltd
15.10 - 15.40 Refreshments and advice surgeries
15.40 - 16.10

De-terrifying the future of technology
Fears of cyber-security, the unrelenting development of new technical archetypes, robots everywhere - measuring and reporting our every decision; it's enough to put most people on edge. But blend with a large dollop of technophobia, sprinkle with the well trodden narratives of a dystopian future, and you can see why so many people are utterly terrified by the advancement of technology. Jonty will discuss some of these fears and why they exist, and what we can practically do to de-terrify the future and make it more accessible to our supporters.
Jonty Sharples, co-founder and design partner, 

16.10 - 16.40 Why playing it safe is the most dangerous thing you can do       
With trying to appeal to five generations, trust dented and marketing noise from every corner and channel, how do we cut through? Not with bland, unengaging, and completely undifferentiating brands. And not by forgetting we're here to challenge attitudes, change minds and inspire action. Max will draw on sector wide research and illustrate his talk with 'hot off the press' major rebrands, as well as low key, high impact 'brand nudges' from both big and small organisations.
Max du Bois, executive director, 
Spencer du Bois
16.40 - 17.00 Peer exchange
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