Ben Campbell at One Day in Melbourne
This session on international communications draws on the experience of Ben Campbell during his two years as Executive Director of African Enterprise, and his 27 years of marketing and communications experience in the corporate, not for profit and charitable sectors.
Ben sought to articulate how putting good communications in place have helped to see a 23% increase in supporter engagement at African Enterprise during 2017, and how international communications is a crucial component of the communications mix.
The presentation is structured around the following seven points
2. Duty of care/Legality
4. Inter-organisational considerations
6. Social media
7. Honouring Christ
At the heart of any successful organisational marketing and communications is promoting the unique selling proposition (USP). By extension, the USP should underpin the organisation’s tag line, imagery or communications. This way maximum return will be received from minimum funding.
Where the topic subject is a person whose life has been transformed by Christ, there must be appropriate respect shown to the person, family and community from which they come.
c) Charitable environment
Consider the way that other organisations are positioning the situation of the country in which you are communicating about. Is there a divergence in positioning, or does one organisations views undermine or reinforce your own?
Ben Campbell at One Day in Melbourne
2. Legal considerations/Duty of care
a) Permissions and privacy
In Australia we are required to gain the permissions of anyone featured in communications material, and to gain parental approval for minors.
In African, this is more of a challenge due to the numbers of people involved in mission outreach, language gaps, and availability of the items/technology to secure a permission release.
In this circumstance, consideration to the well-being of subjects and implications of usage are important. Do images of children align to the positioning of the organisation, the values and integrity of fundraising?
In some countries, pictures of Christians or church attenders could even risk their lives. Careful consideration about the release of these images needs to be given.
b) Regulatory: Development
There are many other regulatory considerations for a communicator in the charitable sector, particularly those with DGR (tax deductible) status or who are in receipt of government funding.
Proselytising activities must be separate from these designated funds. Equally, a communicator needs to be very conscious of how they are portraying a program or activity that is provided by a Christian organisation, and how that particular activity might be funded from Australia. In many cases, the same types of regulations do not apply in other countries.
There are a number of organisations that communicators should seriously consider subscribing to including; Fundraising Institute, Missions Interlink, Christian Management Australia and others.
Philip Young, Susan Barns, Susan Rusic, Bill Chilcott at One Day in Melbourne
Checking facts and understanding the source of information is critical. To what degree can the information be relied on? Poor information and frameworks will reflect on the professionalism of your organisation.
The quality, timeliness and consistency of information that you have access to will be reflective of your organisational strategy. It may take months or years to build a good process to give you version control, easy access, and even an international approval process.
Knowing your audience is crucial to striking the right subject matter of interest to different generations or denominations.
Be aware of the various stakeholders, eg funders, board members and regulatory authorities on the periphery of your material distribution.
6. Social media
Social media provides a great forum to interact with your community, link to articles you have written and outwork your particular communications strategy.
Be aware of the differences in input you will receive from Christian and secular audiences in response to information you have written and be prepared to moderate wisely.
7. Honouring Christ
Be aware of using bible verses in context, understand how God might be working through a particular situation for His glory. Testimonies might indicate a willingness to change, but not necessarily a full conversion to Christ for example. So this may mean a degree of caution in talking about commitments and conversions.
There may also be a non-Christian audience, and making information understandable to the secular community might be considered.
International communications is most successful when working in deep understanding of international stakeholders and within a strategic framework.
Ensure that whilst you might be writing about global issues provided by nations of any country, consideration must be given to local regulations and the wider readership within Australia.
Graham Scott and John Tan at One Day in Melbourne
About the presenter: Ben Campbell is the first Christian in his extended family, and is a traveller, musician and businessman. He has a couple of teen boys to wife Kylie and has the common parenting challenges around kids screen time and school focus. With the support of friends and the church community, he hopes they will journey well in life through Christ.
After 26 years in the corporate and not-for-profit worlds, Ben chose to invest his marketing and general management business turnaround experience in running an evangelical para-church support group supporting African ministry (2 years ago).
He is delighted to see the power of God at work in Africa and keen to see Australian Christians encouraged to stand firm in Christ and know God is acting mightily throughout the world to bring people into His kingdom. He also subscribes to the AE Founder Michael Cassidy’s aphorism, that before others minister to our organisation, we must minister to them also.
AE ministry details can be found on africanenterprise.com.au.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 25 books, and enjoys writing. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand. Dr Mark Tronson’s Press Service International in 2019 was awarded ‘The Gutenberg’ - the Australasian Religious Press Association’s premier award. In September 2020 Summer Moore presented her commission portrait of Dr Mark Tronson holding the Gutenberg plaque. He and David Chang editor of Christian Today together bought the young writer ministry into fruition in 2009. In 2011 Mark established Laguna Quays Respite (Whitsundays) for missionary respite and replicated at Aldinga Beach 2016 (Adelaide) and Greens Beach Bass Straight (TAS). His ministry is honoured all these years by Christian philanthropist Mr Basil Sellers AM. He is married to Delma (44 years), with four adult married children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/dr-mark-t.html