Written by James Jacobs, Communications Apprentice at Nottingham CVS, a Full member organisation of One East Midlands
“Getting the message across” is one of those terms that you’ll hear frequently in the VCS – In fact, it can seem like a bit of a cliché. However, it is incredibly important you do. Why? In a world where there are financial constraints on many VCS groups we need to tell people what we do and why we do it. It may be to attract new service users – it may be with the aim of getting some much-needed funding – or it may simply be to raise awareness of an issue that effects your organisation or its beneficiaries.
Of course, there are many ways to communicate with an audience – this blog is a perfect of example of that. It is probably taken as a given that groups need some kind of web presence and although a website is obviously important it is not essential. Some smaller community groups may find it easier to operate a group or page on FaceBook.
Twitter is, of course, used by many VCS organisations. We have a twitter profile at @oneeastmidlands, and use it to compliment our website and blog. Twitter is good for short, pithy news items, links and points of interest and can work really well with a younger audience. Don’t worry if you don’t end up getting the same number of followers as Stephen Fry though – the main thing is that you’re aiming your tweets at the right audience – whether it is service users, fellow VCS groups or local worthies (councillors, MPs etc).
However, as much as social media and internet communications are great, they don’t fully encapsulate that phrase ‘Getting the message across’. E-bulletins and Magazines can prove a really effective shop-window for what your organisation does.
That takes us, conveniently, to our latest edition of Insight Magazine. This Autumn’s edition focuses on the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), an important source of income for many VCS organisations throughout the East Midlands. We have a Spotlight on a long standing Member (and our landlords!), Nottingham CVS, and an article explaining the work of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and much more.
Whilst we have a great website and use social media effectively, Insight is a great way for introducing people to our work – it’s a high-quality, well produced magazine that can go in depth more than twitter or a even a website. In a world of the internet – don’t forget that traditional methods of publication can sometimes be just as effective in ‘Getting the message across’!
To access an electronic version click here or a paper copy of Insight email firstname.lastname@example.org.
But lastly, there is still no technological substitute for human contact. Make all the tools above work for you but top it up with face-to-face as often as you can; the ultimate suite of tools to ‘get your message across’.