Ahead of our breakfast seminar, Confronting Charity's PR Challenges, we caught-up with Anil Ranchod, Stroke Association's Deputy Director of PR & Comms.
Here's what Anil had to say about the state of charity PR and the challenges he and his team face...
In PR "fortune favours the brave"...
PR is defined as the planned and sustained communication between an organisation and its audiences. It’s about reputation and is the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you. At the Stroke Association, we use story-telling to generate and participate in conversations with our audiences. We share stories mainly about the amazing people we have the privilege of working with as well some of the advances in care and support. As social media has become part of everyday life, both for our audiences and stakeholder organisations alike, we have had to become more savvy about integrating our communications. Social media offers us the ability to be creative in how we engage with our supporters and beneficiaries but it brings its own challenges. How do we ensure that we are both relevant and interesting to these communities while delivering some very serious health messages? It’s an ongoing challenge but not insurmountable. My advice is not to restrict yourselves. Be bold, daring and challenging. It’s an old cliché but fortune does favour the brave.
Other challenges are diminishing print opportunities and digitalisation. But we’re not there yet. We’ve got to ensure that we’re able to engage the print media outlets, especially consumer. And in this fast-paced environment with quick turnarounds, the long lead time can be a major challenge. But through rigorous and detailed planning, we still maximise any, if not all, opportunities.
"Believe in the power of partnerships"
Relationship building is at the heart of our strategy. The whole team cultivates and nurtures relationships with editors and journalists because we believe in the power of partnerships. But we can’t have relationships with every single journalist and editor. Mynewsdesk has allowed us, over the years, to ensure that the Stroke Association newsroom delivers content for our contacts in a relevant and meaningful way.
The PR and Media Team isn’t just interested in hitting KPIs; we want our work to save and change lives. We know that we do this despite our limited budget. We aim to understand our audiences through insight and learning that’s shared across the organisation. We’re constantly looking for new and innovative ways of sharing compelling stories that engage our audiences in more meaningful and impactful ways. That doesn’t mean you can’t be outlandish with your PR but know what are your measures of success.
"Integration and planning" - the keys to success
Integration is key and planning is imperative. With the onset of the Barcelona Principles, measuring success is all about impact. Over the years, I’ve ensured my teams are working much closer with colleagues across the organisation in developing plans that can deliver impactful PR. We created a Communications cascade that allowed us to demonstrate that our PR and media activity was helping to meet corporate goals. We took learning and implemented change in our approaches and were able to see measurable success. We we’re impacting on the people we’re here to support, inform and interact with.