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Team talk: our guide to comms team structures

28 January 2015

CharityComms has published a report in partnership with Sift Digital that explores the changing nature of communications and what this means for charities.

Team talk: the changing structure of charity communications departments explores how, as the media landscape fragments and opportunities for greater engagement multiply, comms leads can effectively resource their team to maintain a high level of quality communication across all relevant channels.

This is the quandary all senior comms managers currently face, whether they head up a complex hierarchy of specialists or have to do much of the work themselves.

The report contains an analysis of organograms from nearly 60 UK charities, giving a snapshot of the current composition of comms departments across the sector, with some key themes emerging:

Communications is increasingly being seen as a discipline in its own right rather than purely a function of fundraising.

Two decades ago only half of the charities surveyed had a director responsible for communications, compared to 87% today.

A clear shift has emerged from broadcast to dialogue communication models.

Carolan Davidge, director for marketing and engagement at the British Heart Foundation comments: “Social media provides a great platform in combination with traditional stakeholder engagement tools like events, consultations and user involvement.”

Digital is an important driver for the department, increasingly influencing more traditional areas such as media work and publications.

Nick Torday, managing director of Sift Digital, urges charities to focus on the need for cultural change:

“If you look more holistically at your people, their capabilities and their relationship with your audience, you will begin to see how to shape roles and behaviours, rather than teams and directorates. Digital can then become a catalyst for the right kind of considered, progressive change.”

Download your free copy of the report here.

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Tom Worley

membership and marketing officer, Clinks

Tom completed his MA in History at Leiden University in Holland before joining CharityComms as comms assistant in August 2013. In November 2015, he joined Clinks as membership and marketing officer, responsible for developing and promoting Clinks’ membership offer.