Published: 22 January 2013

Career Framework: your map to comms skills and competencies

Friends of mine recently borrowed my car to drive to a party.

The husband vaguely knew where he was going but, in typical fashion (according to his wife), failed to check the actual route before setting off. He got hopelessly lost and ended up turning into a narrow side road and scraping the side of the car down a set of concrete bollards. He is currently footing the bill for an extensive repair job.

I’m not sharing this anecdote just to air my irritation in public (although I admit that’s a happy side-effect). If he’d only checked the map before he set out, he would be substantially better off financially and emotionally.

Know where you’re going

Developing your career is a bit like driving to a party (bear with me on this). It’s always good to know where you’re going. That’s why we’ve developed the CharityComms Career Framework – a map of the skills, knowledge and personal attributes comms professionals need at different stages of their career to perform their roles to the highest standard.

Developed in collaboration with CharityComms’ members, the Framework looks at six of the key communications functions – comms, PR, digital, media, marketing and internal comms – and identifies the competencies needed at three levels of seniority – officer, manager and director. The idea is that you can mix and match different elements to create job specs tailored to your own organisation – choosing the route which suits you.

Show others the way

If you’ll forgive me flogging this analogy further, it’s much easier to direct others with the help of a map. As well as helping individuals identify where they’re going and what they need to do to get there, our Career Framework is a great tool for managers. It can help with personal development planning and managing performance, for example, identifying clear development pathways for talent promotion and career progression.

It can highlight training needs and help to justify spend, by clearly linking training to a development pathway. It’s useful during the recruitment process, including creating job specs and influencing interview questions.

Big picture benefits

Looking at the bigger picture, we hope the Career Framework will also help to illustrate the importance and professionalism of comms work to a wider audience. In a rapidly changing environment, a communications specialist’s knowledge and skills must be continuously expanded to meet increasingly complex issues and to enhance the value added by communications work.

Free to organisational members

The Career Framework is available free and exclusively to CharityComms’ organisational members. We hope you find it useful. If your charity is not an organisational member, the Framework is just one of many benefits for you and your team. Check out our member pages for more information, or get in touch with our membership manager, Sarah Clarke, on sarah.clarke@charitycomms.org.uk for a chat about membership. 


Vicky Browning, CEO, ACEVO

Vicky became CEO of ACEVO, the charity and social leaders’ network, in January 2017, helping to empower our inspiring sector leaders to make the biggest difference they can to their beneficiaries, their organisation and to society. Vicky was previously CharityComms’ director for nearly seven years.