Monthly Archives: September 2013


Last month we posted a round-up of our favourite blogs. Thanks to those who got in touch to recommend some we’d missed – here are a few additions that now feature among our regular reads.


Communicators working within research bodies and think tanks share their practical experiences and debate the hot topics relating to the sector. The blog is connected with a LinkedIn Group, Twitter account and Pinterest boards.


One Swallow Makes a Summer

Alex Swallow is Chief Executive of the Small Charities Coalition and Founder of the Young Charity Trustees network. His blog brings the challenges faced by small voluntary sector organisations, and their amazing achievements, into sharp focus, as well as highlighting wider charity issues and projects. It is a great blend of the professional and personal.

Alex Swallow

Kirsty Marrins

Digital communications consultant Kirsty Marrins has worked in the charity sector for seven years and has recently set out into the world of freelancing. She is a great source of insight on all things relating to the ever-shifting world of social media.

Kirsty Marrins

Read the rest of our blogs round-up here.


‘Business and society’ consultancy C&E published their 2013 Corporate-NGO Partnerships Barometer last week, giving a sense of the current appetite for, and issues associated with, tie-ups between companies and charities.

The report headlines offer plenty of food for thought, but the points that particularly stood out to us related to the failure of many from both sides of the equation – corporate and NGO alike – to effectively communicate the impact of their partnerships to their internal and external stakeholders.

According to the research, which was conducted among some of the biggest players in both worlds, only 39% of charities rate their organisation as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ at communicating the impact of their partnerships externally, and just 33% place themselves on the same scales in relation to internal communication. Over a third (36%) of companies admitted they are ‘poor’ or ‘below average’ at telling the outside world what they’ve achieved with their charity partners, and 19% said the same of their communications to staff and volunteers.

Considering that corporates told C&E that brand, reputation and employee engagement are the main reasons for partnering with charities in the first place, they have a lot to do to make sure they are getting the most from their investments. And a significant proportion of charities are clearly missing a trick in using the power of household brands to extend their own reach in terms of awareness, fundraising and influence.

Some of the weaknesses in internal communication, on the side of the charities, could be down to a fear that getting into bed with a corporate might anger or alienate some of their staff, members and volunteers. This is a common concern, and an important consideration when weighing up which partnerships are appropriate. But in truth, providing that the partnership is built on a carefully considered, strategically sound decision and you’re not dancing with the devil (at least as far as your own field is concerned), as long as you take the time to explain the rationale to your stakeholders, they will usually see sense and support what you’re trying to do. It is uncertainty and speculation that are most likely to fuel a backlash.

For businesses, perhaps there’s an issue in understanding the ways in which clearly articulating the outcomes and impacts of previous tie-ups can help to secure bigger, better and more fruitful partnerships in the future. Or maybe it’s something to do with a ‘job done, move on’ mentality, particularly where partnerships are built on a time-scale, rather than a joint mission, as can be the case in ‘charity of the year’ agreements, where the time is served, and the focus shifts quickly to the next deal.

Whatever the reasons (and we’d love to hear your thoughts on what they might be!), the research also tells us that both businesses (84%) and charities (96%) expect partnerships to become more important to their organisations in the coming years and both sectors expect to increase investment to match this. So, in a world where three letters – the big ROI – dominate so many meeting hours, shouldn’t the question of how best to communicate the benefits, and thereby pave the way for even greater partnership projects in the future, be at the heart of all the hard work?


An event on 9th October to get pupils putting down their pens and picking up their language! Help us reach as many schools as possible!


No Pens Day Wednesday is a national speaking and listening event run by The Communication Trust. The event is now in its third year and is more popular than ever with over 1,900 schools already signed up to take part.

We’re working to make sure this exciting, engaging and impactful event reaches as many schools as possible and are asking for your help to spread the word about it.

A bit more about No Pens Day Wednesday…

No Pens Day Wednesday (NPDW) encourages schools to focus on the importance of speaking and listening in every lesson by supporting them to plan a whole day of lessons that don’t involve writing!

NPDW is fun and engaging for pupils but also gives them a really valuable opportunity to develop their communication skills and use them to support their learning.

NPDW 2013 is taking place on Wednesday 9th October- just 3 weeks away!-and we already have over 1,900 schools registered to take part!

Once they’ve registered on our website schools can access the brilliant range of free resources we provide to help them get involved and make the most of their day.

Exciting resources for 2013 include:

  • 2013 activity pack
  • A lesson planning outcomes matrix
  • New activity ideas for primary and secondary
  • Using photographs to stimulate speaking and listening
  • A brilliant NPDW display poster for schools and one to send home to parents
  • 5-minute lesson planner templates

NPDW and the media

As well as all these great practical resources to help make planning the day as straightforward as possible, we provide a host of fantastic media and marketing support resources to help schools shout about the great work they’re doing to improve children’s speech, language and communication.

We provide:

  • Media toolkit
  • E-comms tookit
  • Draft press release
  • Handy one-pager to help schools spread the word about their NPDW

These resources are all accessible once schools have registered and take them step by step through the things they might want to do to get people talking about their work.

If you work with schools and want to get them involved in a straightforward and really engaging project with great support to help them get both media attention and work to improve their approach to children’s speech, language and communication NPDW is here for you!

How can you help spread the word about NPDW?

So… now you know more about NPDW can you help us spread the word? If you work with any schools, parents, teaching organisations or other audiences that might benefit from getting involved with NPDW we’ve got two helpful resources to help you let them know about it:

  • A useful messaging document you can download here which contains loads of useful copy for your newsletters, websites, email contacts and social media sites to help you spread the word.
  • You can also circulate this one pager to any of your relevant contacts; schools, parents, teaching forums – anyone you think might be interested and want to get involved.

Help us reach as many schools and pupils as possible and get them putting down their pens and picking up their language on Wednesday 9th October 2013!

Thank you from all of us here at The Communication Trust!

Jo Bolton is Project Officer at The Communication Trust