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HQ and beyond: communicating across multiple locations

1 December 2014

Communicators working at charities spread across multiple sites will be all too familiar with the sense of ‘them and us’ that can divide central office from branches, groups or regions.

“HQ never engages with local issues!” is a common cry, along with “We never see anyone from head office!”

And most will recognise that sinking feeling of half the time being told you’re bombarding people with information, while spending the rest of your day dealing with disgruntled colleagues who claim you never tell them what’s going on.

There’s a unique set of challenges in delivering consistent, effective and engaging comms across an organisation spread across multiple locations.

CharityComms’ free HQ and beyond guide looks at 10 key issues identified by internal communications professionals in multiple-site charities. These arose from a request by a number of delegates to a sell-out CharityComms seminar on internal comms in September 2013 wanting to hear more about the particular challenges experienced by charities with dispersed audiences. A round-table discussion followed, at which internal communications professionals representing a number of charities thrashed out some of the key issues they contend with in their work:

  • Challenge 1 “I don’t have time for internal comms”
  • Challenge 2 “I don’t know what’s going on” or “You send me too much information”
  • Challenge 3 “What do you want from me?”
  • Challenge 4 “Stop ignoring your volunteers!”
  • Challenge 5 “HQ doesn’t understand or engage with local issues”
  • Challenge 6 “It’s them v us”
  • Challenge 7 “Tell us what’s changing”
  • Challenge 8 “I get no face-time with people at head office”
  • Challenge 9 “Your homeworkers are isolated”
  • Challenge 10 “Senior managers are not on board”

Some of these issues are common to all organisations, whether commercial or not-for profit, dispersed or single-location – but our guide is written for charity comms people who wish to develop effective communications throughout multiple localities and groups. 

Download your free copy of HQ and beyond: Effective internal communication for charities with branches, regions or local groups

Kay Parris

freelance journalist and editor

Kay Parris is a freelance writer, journalist and editor working in the not-for-profit sector.