Re-engage recognises that consistent, effective and appropriate communications – both external and internal – are essential for the charity to achieve its aims, objectives and policies, and to its credibility. This document outlines the principles for managing communications, including a summary of key strands of communications, and the responsibilities of staff in relation to communications.
All staff and Trustees should be aware of the policy. The aim of the Communications Policy is to reduce the risk to the charity of damaging or ineffective communication, and to ensure that all staff are aware of how communications are best conducted externally and internally, and who has responsibility for which aspects.
External communications include all the messages and information that the charity presents to different audiences, whether directly (through telephone calls, letters, e-mails, newsletters, marketing materials, social media channels, online and press releases) or indirectly through the media and word of mouth. They also include the messages and information given to visitors at the charity, as well as to other stakeholders including Trustees, the Advisory Group, sponsors, supporters and key suppliers.
Internal communications include all the messages and information (whether verbal or written) shared within the charity, principally between members of staff, but also between Trustees and staff, and to and from management and staff. Internal communications include the information given to the staff of companies involved with charity projects, as well as to volunteers.
Statement of principles
The objective of the Communications Policy is to help the charity achieve a better understanding of what it offers to the public to ensure that the charity can undertake its arrangements for work as efficiently and effectively as possible, and to:
- Improve the clarity with which the values and identity of the charity are understood.
- Promote transparent and open communication.
- Provide clear and well judged information at the most appropriate level of detail in relation to the needs of the reader or user.
The improvements and benefits which good communications should provide are:
- A greater likelihood of achieving the charity’s aims, objectives and priorities.
- A more effective and purposeful ‘face’ to the world.
- A trusting working environment in which staff and associated workers and volunteers can locate the information they require.
- Providing everyone with the skills to be confident communicators.
- All communications are important and need to be considered carefully.
- External and internal communications form part of strategic and business planning, as well as project and team appraisals (including work with other organisations).
- Effective communications play a positive role in the day-to-day operations of the charity, through the consideration of the content, and the audience for any particular message or information to be disseminated.
- Managers and staff at all levels have a responsibility to foster good communications internally and externally.
- The charity fosters a culture which encourages transparency of communication, clarity of style and the sharing of best practice and expertise across the charity.
Principles for managing external communications
Corporate and marketing communications should be considered as part of the wider perspective in which the charity wishes to:
- Distribute high-quality information about its plans, projects and programmes of activity, ensuring that those who are influential for the future support of the charity (whether from the press, government or in the academic world, or as private or corporate supporters, or as key opinion formers or volunteers) are well informed.
- Ensure that the visual identity of the charity, as shown through all its print and digital communications, is clear, coherent and expresses the charity’s key values.
- Have a beneficial dialogue with its audiences using research, feedback and social media channels to gain insights, answer queries and deliver key messages about the charity’s work.
Principles for managing internal communications
Internal communications are based on active management across the charity to ensure that:
- Staff and Trustees are informed of the most important information relating to the good management of the charity (for example, beneficiary numbers, volunteer numbers, level of donations, press coverage and results on key performance indicators) on a regular basis.
- Regular exchanges through Microsoft Office applications, meetings and telephone calls are thoughtful, respectful, efficient and well disciplined.
- An informal exchange of information is encouraged through the Teams channels. SharePoint posts are used for charity-wide news and email is principally intended for external communications.
- The chair of trustees is responsible for ensuring that the Trustees help to promote the charity’s reputation through consistent external communication.
- All trustees are expected to be familiar with the programmes and activities of the charity and to refer complex or difficult external questions to the CEO or director of fundraising and communications.
- The CEO, with the director of fundraising and communications as appropriate, is responsible for the overall clarity and coherence of the charity’s external communications.
- The CEO seeks opportunities to promote the interests of the charity.
- The CEO works to create an internal culture of open, honest, efficient and transparent communications.
- The Management team has overall responsibility for ensuring that staff share information and knowledge through the best external and internal communications.
- Individual members of the management team ensure that their staff are thoughtful and consistent in their communications, and are aware of the principles and guidelines available for different aspects of their work.
Director of fundraising and communications / communications manager / and digital manager
The director of fundraising and communications, along with the communications manager and digital manager is responsible for:
- Ensuring that the charity offers clear and consistent messages about its objectives and its work.
- Overseeing all print communication from the charity (other than publications) including marketing, social media, development, learning and access, as well as setting the standard for communications through the website.
- Promoting effective communications through the media, whether printed or broadcast, and seeking collaboration with appropriate media channels.
- Ensuring that communication for visitors within the charity, and at associated sites, is appropriate and as clear as possible.
- Working with the SMT and REACH group to promote good internal communications.
Heads of section
- Heads of section should promote good internal communications by following high standards of clarity and integrity in all aspects of their work, as well as ensuring that members of staff follow specific guidelines, such as the press and social media guidelines.
- The communications team, together with the CEO, the director of fundraising and communications, and the heads of section act as the public voice of the charity and communicate with a variety of audiences via a range of media.
- The team identifies the needs of older people, referrers, volunteers and donors producing communications that encourage them to interact with the charity. The communications team manage the charity’s brand and uses paid-for and free promotional tools including advertising, print distribution, third party promotions and digital, online and social media channels. The social media and press officer proactively generates media coverage by identifying stories and news to publicise charity activity and facilitates media requests, and responds to media enquiries.
- The communications team aims to develop an accurate and positive understanding of the charity’s brand and work, and to maintain the charity’s reputation.
All staff are responsible for maintaining good internal and external communications, for suggesting improvements wherever possible and for reporting breaches of the Policy.
- Trustees are guided in communications matters through their induction.
- Staff are guided in matters of internal and external communications by this policy, the staff handbook, the brand guidelines, the editorial style guide and by the social media policy.
- The charity’s brand guidelines offer guidance on the principles and standards for external communication. Any materials using the charity’s brand should be approved by the director of fundraising and communications.
Breach of the policy
Any actions taken by members of charity staff which contravene the Communications Policy will be dealt with by a line manager or head of department. If it is a matter which threatens the reputation of the charity, or creates severe disruption, then the charity’s disciplinary code will be followed.