It is seven years since a small group of charity communicators sat in a cafe one July evening to talk about setting up a new organisation.
We asked the people round the table – many of whom are still involved in CharityComms today – two questions. The first was whether we needed a new body to represent charity communicators, or if we should align with one of the existing bodies. The second was whether we should represent the breadth of communications disciplines or start with a couple of areas and broaden out later. We concluded that we did need a new body and that it should represent the breadth of disciplines. Those two decisions have been at the heart of CharityComms ever since.
It took another two years for the embryonic organisation discussed in that cafe to become registered as a company (becoming a charity later still) but CharityComms is now five years old.
The vision of the people in that meeting has been born out. CharityComms has tapped into a huge need for ideas, inspiration, information and insights on how charities can communicate more effectively. Our conferences and seminars are thriving and still led by our very first employee, the amazing Emma Wickenden. Our website is building its reputation as an indispensable source of communication ideas and case studies and CharityComms’ use of Twitter makes me embarrassed by showing how much we have to do at nfpSynergy. We are just beginning to campaign, with our work on media licensing. And the first best practice guide on portraying beneficiaries is out now for consultation.
We have done all this without any grant funding from government or grant-making trusts, generating all our income from membership and conference fees. For me, it is the ultimate proof that what CharityComms does is needed.
There is still much more that we need to do. There is a real scope for professional qualifications in charity communications. We still need to do more to showcase to the public and the rest of society how important and how effective modern charities are.
But for now we can celebrate five years since we registered with Companies House. And we can say thank you to all the people along the way who have started to bring to reality our vision of inspiring better communications at the heart of charities.