Skip to main content

What’s changed in the last decade?

2 November 2017

What happened to my fax machine?

We launched CharityComms in 2007 with a mission to improve the standard of communications and champion its role in the sector.

Our mission hasn’t changed, but as the results in our latest comms benchmark highlight, the environment in which we work has transformed unimaginably since those early days. And, as you almost unanimously told us, it’s digital that’s driven these seismic shifts.

85% mentioned digital as one of the biggest changes over the last decade. And it’s not just the wealth of channels, from Facebook to Snapchat and beyond, that are evolving. The on-demand digital reality has inspired charities to dramatically change how they approach comms and get to grips with digital transformation to become more agile, responsive organisations. Here are some of the changes already taking place.

Digital as a force for change

Digital…changed everything: the format of our outputs, the way in which our audiences engage with our organisation and the way in which we work.

The web has changed absolutely everything. People expect and demand personalised, instant, constant high-quality content from even the smallest brands.

It’s all about digital now.

The rise of social media

Social media has massively changed communications – ranging from high profile campaigns like the Ice Bucket Challenge, to answering donors’ questions on Twitter.”

Without doubt, the rise of social media. We have reached an almost immeasurably larger audience and network than before.

 Social media has become the core of communications.

The emergence of video

With YouTube you can now get directly into people’s line of vision 24 hours a day.

The enormous rise in the influence of YouTubers and bloggers over the more traditional influence of celebrities.

Video and digital tools opening up opportunities for engagement, honesty and getting comms out in a timely manner.

Email as a comms tool

 [You] can do more with less budget – rather than printing flyers you can get the message out with an email.

…I seldom use the telephone these days, most communications are by email…

User generated content

 People can generate and promote content themselves without the need for intermediaries.

The change from talking at the audience to talking with them.

The power of the user/audience in generating content and having a greater say – and the two way engagement between brands and the people.

The new digital default

The shift to digital presents lots of opportunities to charity communicators, while also throwing up some risks. Several of you talked about the decline in print and how it’s becoming harder to be heard, forcing charities to work smarter and harder. However, it can also have a levelling effect, as low-cost digital comms allows smaller organisations to punch above their weight and compete with the larger ones. Digital has had a significant impact on charity communications since we last benchmarked comms in the sector and we’re likely to continue seeing changes as the technology and culture moves forward.

More like this

Download your copy of Comms Benchmark 2017



Image: Photo by Loic Djim on Unsplash


Duncan Hatfield

former projects manager, CharityComms

Duncan left CharityComms in 2018 to pursue an MA in Public and Social Policy. Over three years at CharityComms, Duncan moved from communications officer to project manager, successfully delivering projects such as the new-look Digital Benchmark platform and Communications Benchmark 2017 report. Duncan also volunteers with Turn2us to support people in need to gain access to benefits and grants.