Small charities communications conference 2018

Conference
11 July 2018
09.30 - 17.00
CharityComms organisational and individual members (turnover under £2m): £85+vat
Non-member charities and not-for-profits (turnover under £2m): £105+vat
Corporate partners: £160+vat

This event is exclusive to charities and not-for-profits with a turnover of under £2m, as well as CharityComms corporate partners.
There is a maximum of two places available per organisation to ensure as many organisations as possible can attend

Resource for London
356 Holloway Road
London
N7 6PA

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Are you from a small charity and trying to make a big impact on a shoestring communications budget?

Small charities often face very different challenges to larger organisations, which is why we run this dedicated annual event. This year we’ll be looking at ways to make the most of limited resources, and how small size doesn’t need to mean small impact when it comes to communications.

Following the sell-out success of our last two conferences, the agenda will offer a similar format, with a mix of expert sessions, open space, workshops and case studies to give you practical take-home actions, inspiration and new contacts to continue the conversation with post-event. You’ll have the opportunity to connect and exchange with peers facing similar challenges.

Please note:

  • This event is exclusive to comms staff in charities and not-for-profits with an annual income under £2m, but if you’re the only comms specialist in a larger organisation, feel free to book a place and drop Harri a quick email explaining briefly why you feel this event is the right fit for you and your charity
  • There is a maximum of two places available per organisation to ensure as many organisations as possible can attend

On the agenda

09.30 – 10.00 Registration and refreshments
10.00 – 10.05

Welcome

Adeela Warley, CEO, CharityComms

10.05 – 10.50

Lightning talks: short case studies of small organisations doing great comms work with limited resources

  • Data power – Jem Stein, founder and director, The Bike Project
  • Building support for homeless young people – Fran Borg-Wheeler, CEO, Youth Concern   
  • Staying close to your community – William Jones, CEO, Brainstrust
  • Additional speakers to be confirmed
10.50 – 11.00

Open Space intro             

We’ll be using the tried-and-tested Open Space methodology to create an agenda for the afternoon session that responds to the needs and interests of those in the room. You can find out more about Open Space here.

11.00 – 11.40 Breakout session one – expert sessions
  1a. Clear comms strategy 
To make the most of limited resources every organisation, whatever its size, can and should think strategically. A good communications strategy will help you set the right goals, focus on the audiences that matter, and deliver the messages that resonate. This session will take you step-by-step to strategic success, and send you away with a template and resources to get to grips with your own comms strategy.
 

1b. Excellent email – reach out and build relationships in a post-GDPR world
Now that marketing emails require active consent to contact, under the new rules of GDPR, your email list is likely smaller, and recruitment may be slower. So how can you ensure that you’re making the most of what you have? In this session we’ll look at simple ways to help you make more of your email list, from choosing the right tools, effective recruitment, simple segmentation and testing.

  1c. Social on a shoestring
With algorithms, trends and best practice in constant flux, it can be hard to keep up. Come along for tools, tips and ideas on how to make best use of social media when time and resources are short, and how to measure your impact to best inform your strategy.
  1d. Communications for advocacy and campaigns
Campaigning for change – in the law, in business practice, in social attitudes – can deliver huge impact for your cause. In this session we’ll look at some of the basic principles of campaign communications, review the levers and tools available, and review some successful examples of small organisations campaigning for change.
11.40 – 12.05 Refreshment break, advice surgeries and Open Space idea-gathering
12.05 – 12.45 Breakout session two – expert sessions
  2a. PR basics: getting coverage for your cause 
A media story in the right outlet can have fantastic impact for your cause or campaign. But dealing with the media means investing time and effort with unpredictable outcomes. Learn how you can make the most of limited time and resources to get the attention of journalists and secure coverage.
  2b. Make the most of your website
Your website is the heart of your digital presence – is it doing you justice? We’ll look at simple things you can do to raise your website game, no matter how small your budget, including quick wins and incremental steps, how to work out what you really need, and how to make the business case for investment.
  2c. Social on a shoestring (repeated from breakout session one)
With algorithms, trends and best practice in constant flux, it can be hard to keep up. Come along for tools, tips and ideas on how to make best use of social media when time and resources are short, and how to measure your impact to best inform your strategy.
  2d. Additional expert session to be confirmed
12.45 – 13.25  Lunch and advice surgeries
13.25 – 14.30 Breakout session three – workshops
 

3a. Clear comms strategy (repeated from breakout session one with additional interactive exercises)

To make the most of limited resources every organisation, whatever its size, can and should think strategically. A good communications strategy will help you set the right goals, focus on the audiences that matter, and deliver the messages that resonate. This session will take you step-by-step to strategic success, work through some exercises and send you away with a template and resources to get to grips with your own comms strategy.

  3b. Mobile video
We may all be carrying the kit in our pocket – this session will help you find out more about how to use it to deliver video which really helps your cause. From apps and tools through to tips and techniques, this will be a hands-on session to help get you started with mobile video, or help you raise your game.
 

3c. PR: Preparing for a crisis
When your organisation hits the headlines for the wrong reasons it’s too late to develop a crisis plan. How you respond, support and communicate with stakeholders and the public in the earliest hours can be critical. In this session, we’ll look at simple steps you can take to prepare for and resolve a communications crisis.

  3d. Additional workshop to be confirmed
14.30 – 14.55 Refreshment break and advice surgeries
14.55 – 16.15

Open Space agenda setting and discussions

Structured peer-to-peer learning and exchange using the powerful Open Space methodology, allowing you to find the networks and topics that are important to you. You may have come across this called ‘unconference’ or ‘birds of a feather’ sessions. Please see further information on Open Space below.

16.20 – 16.55 Closing plenary: Your communication superpowers
It’s easy to feel frustrated by lack of resource, but small organisations have powerful advantages too. Master storyteller Oli will draw on his experiences as founding trustee and chief communications officer at organ donation charity Live Life, Give Life, as well as in the larger charity world, to celebrate the strengths of small charities, and the wealth of opportunity to tell their stories.
Oli Lewington, director of communications, Cystic Fibrosis Trust
16.55 – 17.00

Close

Adeela Warley, CEO, CharityComms

About Open Space

  • Open Space is a simple way of getting a group to define the topics they want to discuss, and allow people to join the topics most relevant to their interests
  • Open Space groups are ‘self-facilitating’, led by a volunteer ‘convener’
  • The agenda-setting process aims to take this big group through step-by-step from ‘having some ideas about things to talk about’ to a full list of ‘sessions’

At the start of the day, Jess will give an introduction to Open Space so it’s that bit clearer. Then during the breaks, you’ll have the opportunity to put forward topic ideas and session proposals:

For example:

  • TOPIC IDEA: Facebook ads
  • SESSION PROPOSAL: Jess Day will convene a session on ‘How to use Facebook advertising to drive online action’. (SPECIFIC IDEA + CONVENER = SESSION PROPOSAL)

After the afternoon break, we have the Open Space discussions. At the start, we’ll create the agenda in the main room (Conference Hall) and once it’s all set, the sessions begin!

Being a session convener

For each session we’ll be looking for a volunteer convener. It’s not a scary role at all and is much easier and laid back than being a facilitator. Here’s some information about what’s involved in the role: 

  • Your role is to make sure your group is productive, and that people who didn’t or couldn’t attend have the chance to learn from your discussion. Don’t panic – everyone who comes is responsible for the outcome, not just you. 
  • Check there’s enough room for everyone. If there are more than 12 of you, this is probably too big so please split the group. It’s fine to have the same discussion going on twice, or find different strands that people want to pursue.
  • Remind everyone that people will be tweeting, blogging and commenting on discussions online. If anyone wants something they say to stay ‘in these four walls’, they need to say so, and others need to respect it.
  • In Open Space people will come and go – don’t worry.
  • If it feels like there are two different discussions going on, split the group.
  • When you feel like the discussion is starting to wind up, or get repetitious, try to think about what your group could share back to other participants. This is when you’d fill in your feedback sheet.
  • If you’re done before the end of your timeslot, that’s fine, close early and people can move to another group.
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