How comms has changed over the past five years

A flower in stages of blooming

How comms has changed over the past five years

This week's guest blog comes from Sarah Clarke of CharityComms, about our collaboration on the 2022 Communications Benchmark Report.

Sarah Clarke

CharityComms was launched in 2007 with a mission to improve the standard of communications and champion its role in the sector.

One of our main aims is to provide evidence to help you and your fellow communicators benchmark how your organisations are doing, as well as gaining insights into how you feel about your comms and its place in your organisation. So, working with nfpResearch, we’ve taken the temperature of comms once again to create a new version of our Communications Benchmark.

Our 2022 report compiles the views of more than 530 comms professionals from charities of all sizes, working at all levels of seniority, and includes insights to help the sector understand the impacts, challenges and opportunities comms professionals really face.

Here is a taster of the findings…

The value of comms

On a positive note, increasing numbers of people feel that comms has a good standing in their organisation, with 90% believing that communications are valued, and 72% thinking that comms are a strategic part of the overall operation of the organisation. Almost two-thirds think that comms and fundraising work towards an integrated approach, while 77% feel valued by their CEOs, and almost all CEOs (92%) spend time on comms every week.

Balancing priorities

Comms teams’ top goals have not changed over the past five years and remain raising awareness of their charity‘s services (47%), cause (42%) and brand (39%), as well as engaging communities (37%) and acquiring donors (36%). The challenges in balancing often competing priorities have not changed either, with 38% thinking that a lack of joined-up thinking is one of the major challenges that impairs comms work, along with a lack of understanding comms by others in the organisation.

How data drives effective comms

87% perceive that communications in their organisations are ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ effective and 81% think that their colleagues perceive their work as effective. While data-driven and impact-measured comms seem to be very relevant in staff’s perception of their own effectiveness, just 44% report that their comms are actually data-driven in practice, with 48% saying they measure the impact of comms effectively.

Allocating resources

The median size of comms teams size is 6 staff, rising to 35 in organisations with an income of more than £30 million. When it comes to prioritising spending, the top three channels where comms teams spend their budget are website, social media, and digital. While the median non-salary comms budget was £5,000, many organisations with an income below 500k have to deal with no comms budget at all.

Looking to the future

Unsurprisingly, the cost-of-living crisis is the most dominant concern for comms professionals, both on a personal level around job security, as well as affecting fundraising and comms targets and creating additional pressure on workloads. Despite the pressures, many also expressed the positive nature of being part of a team or people making a difference and the change their work can make in society. 

Click here to read the full 2022 Communications Benchmark Report.

You can also view the report results in an interactive dashboard that compares 2022 data with the benchmark results from 2017.

Want to compare the latest report to five years ago? Download the full 2017 Communications Benchmark Report.

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.