Published: 15 April 2010

How to get senior buy-in for communications

Lasa's Zoe Amar offers three top tips on how to get support for your ideas 

It’s the moment we all dread.

You’ve had a new, killer idea for your communications. You’re as keen as mustard to crack on with the campaign. All you need is the internal buy-in – and the budget – for it. Then your idea goes nowhere because the right people don’t buy into it. We’ve all been there.

Is there anything more frustrating than seeing your hard work wasted? Here at Lasa I enjoy working closely with the directors and the board.

These are my top three tips which will improve support for your communications.

1. Who are your stakeholders?

In the same way you would with external marketing, think about whose support you need to take your idea to market. Whose buy-in is most critical?

Think about what could help a stakeholder decide to support your projects. For example, finance people are (understandably) often cautious and detail focused; you might want to run your numbers, test your business case and refine ideas for processes before talking to them about what you need.

2. Think us, not them and us.

It’s critical that you start sounding key stakeholders out early on in the planning process. You need their support to get your ideas off the ground. People are often flattered to be asked their opinions on new ideas – you might even get them excited about it!

You could open your conversation with the mutual interests between your departments. Try to get people focused on a shared vision: how does your idea contribute to the goals of both your teams and to the organisation?

Don’t be afraid to probe about any reservations people might have. You need to surface these at an early stage, and then show how you are planning to address them. Once you’ve got some initial feedback, start to involve key departments in the planning process. What do you need from finance, fundraising, or your press office to make this happen?

3. Stay focused.

In the heat of the moment try not to lose sight of the big picture. Keep your eye on what you’re trying to achieve – and what you need from other people to do it. And that means you’ll sometimes need to compromise to make it happen.


Zoe Amar, director, Zoe Amar Digital

Zoe Amar is founder and director of Zoe Amar Digital, a charity marketing and digital communications consultancy who've worked with Action Aid, CAF, Crimestoppers and many other great charities. She also blogs for The Guardian. Zoe shares charity marketing resources over at www.zoeamar.com and @zoeamar