Working in the voluntary sector
Working in the voluntary sector

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Working in the voluntary sector

3 What do you want to say?

The obvious place to start when designing any communication is to think about what you want your message to achieve. Your purpose and message are likely to vary depending on the audience. For example, existing donors or volunteers will usually be interested in what difference their contribution is making, whereas potential donors or volunteers will need more basic information about the organisation and its work.

Of course, it is important to see that there is a reasonable degree of consistency between these messages, or people may get confused or doubt your sincerity.

In much promotional and publicity work the number of messages you can successfully get across in any one communication is likely to be strictly limited. If you try to put over several messages at the same time you risk confusing your audience or losing their interest.

The medium in which you choose to deliver your message will also affect how much you can say, perhaps because of cost or space constraints. For example, what you say in a tweet or Facebook post will be very different from a newsletter, and adverts in newspapers or magazines can be expensive.

Be clear about your main message. It should usually be possible to express this in a few sentences. As with any communication, you may need to try expressing it in a variety of ways before you can see which will be the most effective and appropriate.

Activity 5 Communicating with different audiences

Timing: Allow approximately 5 minutes

Think of a voluntary organisation you are involved with, or one you are familiar with. Identify two audiences it communicates with regularly, preferably ones that are not too similar – for example volunteers or potential donors.

Write two or three sentences summarising an important message to each, such as something you might say to attract a donation or to get someone to volunteer.

Audience 1

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Audience 2

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Discussion

The two audiences will have different interests and concerns, so it is very likely that the messages you wrote were different.

You will look next in more detail at how you can keep your audience in mind when preparing communications.

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