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Embracing the power of kindness in comms

16 November 2021

If you listen to the news or read a news site, there often seems to be a focus on all the negative things that are happening in the world. In the last 18 months, many of us have come close to being overwhelmed with negativity and it can be hard to process.

But I strongly believe that there is also a lot of kindness in the world today. We just don’t talk about it enough. Yet.

Let’s embrace virtuous circles

As professional charity communicators, we have the power to be part of the change. We can raise the profile of kindness.

Our work can inspire hope and provide uplifting stories. By talking about all the good things that happen, we can create virtuous circles of kindness. When people hear about others making a positive difference in the world, it inspires them to do the same.

In the context of self-isolating and social distancing, kind acts have had to adapt. But there are lots still taking place. From shopping for vulnerable neighbours to clothes donation schemes. From community food banks to online support for people who are struggling with their mental health.

So who has been doing a great job of communicating kindness? What are they achieving with their comms? And what can you do at your organisation?

Combine positivity with asking for what you need – FoodCycle

FoodCycle brings together volunteers, surplus food and spare kitchen space to create nutritious meals for hungry and lonely people. Their community meals and collection services run in towns and cities across the country. The food is enjoyed in a way that nourishes and reduces social isolation. They are kind to the planet as well as to the people, because the food would otherwise have gone to waste.

The FoodCycle Facebook page is a thing of joy. The upbeat tone of the posts celebrates their work and impact. They combine positivity with requests for the things they need people to give them. When you read the uplifting stories, you want to get involved. To volunteer. To fundraise. To make referrals. That’s clever communication.

Questions to think about at your organisation:

  • How can you celebrate the success of your work?
  • How can you frame your stories to inspire others to get involved?
  • How will you show them what they will become part of?

Tell stories that change the narrative – Rise 365

Rise 365 supports, educates and empowers young people. They provide a range of services, including mentoring and community projects that have young people at their heart. During covid, young people cooked, packed and delivered meals to vulnerable community members on their estate. Then they opened a community shop to bring neighbours together and reduce isolation.

The Rise 365 short film ‘Superheroes wear hoodies’ tells their story in their own words. It is aimed at changing the narrative about young black people. It challenges preconceived ideas. The warmth, camaraderie and sense of achievement that is shared by the young people, their leaders and their neighbours is a joy to behold.

Questions to think about at your organisation:

  • What positive story does your organisation want to tell and be part of?
  • How can you actively choose authentic voices that demonstrate the reality of that story?
  • How can you show aspects of your work that challenge preconceptions?

Showcase the work of volunteers – RNLI

The RNLI is a charity dedicated to saving lives at sea. They help people who get into trouble in water through their 24/7 lifeboats and their seasonal lifeguards. They also save lives via their water safety and youth education work.

In July 2021 the RNLI released a 4-minute video of one of their rescues in the English Channel. It was shared at that time in response to negative media attention on their work with migrants. But more than that, the film is a great example of the way their communications showcase the reality of being a volunteer for the charity. 95% of the organisation is made up of volunteers. Their Twitter feed is full of stories showcasing the work they do and the difference they make. Real people, saving lives.

Questions to think about at your organisation:

  • What do volunteers do for you and how can you show the human connection in their work?
  • What’s going on outside your charity that you can connect to? E.g. Volunteers Week or an event in your community
  • How can you celebrate how hard they work?

Highlight the benefits of your work – Smart Works Reading

Smart Works Reading is a charity that provides high-quality workwear, interview training and employment advice to women in the Thames Valley. Women leave their sessions looking good and feeling confident. They are ready to take the next step and return to work.

The charity’s She Got the Job! series showcases the effect their service has on women. It highlights that their work is about so much more than just the clothes. Using their clients’ own words helps get across the difference they make in an authentic way. The tone of celebration makes the reader smile and want to applaud their success.

Questions to think about at your organisation:

  • What benefits does the work of your charity deliver?
  • What may not be immediately obvious to people outside the organisation?
  • Who will speak up on your behalf and use their voice to celebrate what you do?

Shared humanity

Kindness is incredibly powerful. It connects and unites people. It demonstrates our shared humanity. Don’t underestimate the power of framing your organisation’s work as kindness, especially in these difficult times.

You won’t be alone when you talk about your vision of a kinder world. You will be part of a growing movement. KinderLeeds and KindFest2021 are just two examples of events highlighting what’s happening around the world and World Kindness Day takes place on 13 November every year.

Sharing your work in this way is in itself an act of kindness. You are making people smile. They feel uplifted. You are giving them hope.

If you want to read more stories of kindness check out Sarah Browning’s website Time for Kindess and be sure to check out #WorldKindnessDay on Twitter.


Want to feel even more inspired? CharityComms members – join us for the Inspiring Communicator Awards 2021.

RNLI’s Rich Ward will be speaking at the CharityComms Digital Conference so don’t forget to sign up to hear more about their work.

Banner Image: Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

Sarah Browning

Kindness cheerleader and communicator, Browning York Ltd

Sarah is a communicator and kindness cheerleader. She set up the Time for Kindness Instagram account and website to amplify stories of kindness. If you’d like to part of rebalancing the narrative and sharing those stories, get in touch sarah@browningyork.com. You can find details of Sarah’s work with organisations that have a vision of a kinder world at www.browningyork.com