23 July 2020

Foundation communications and the challenges of COVID-19

The EFC Communications Professionals in Philanthropy Network organised on 1-2 July two highly interactive online sessions bringing together senior communications leaders from more than 20 EFC members.

The purpose of the online meeting was to enable participants to share the numerous lessons they had learned as they re-calibrated their communications approaches and messaging to meet the current challenges posed by COVID-19. In a safe and trusted environment, peers talked openly about their journeys in empowering their teams and colleagues to work and communicate remotely, shared practical examples from communications campaigns they had carried out and explained how they had helped to share positive stories of how their grantees were responding to the multifaceted challenges the pandemic has brought about.

The discussions made evident that over the span of the past few month’s foundations have made significant strides in their digital transformation journeys. These discussions also touched upon the opportunities and challenges the proliferation of digital communications platforms presents, and discussed how to best leverage them to meet their communications goals.

In times of crisis, like the current one we are all going through, the importance of leadership communications is absolutely critical. As institutional philanthropy engages with complex and interrelated issues, the role of communications is of strategic importance in explaining, mobilising, and amplifying the impact of grantmaking. Participants had the opportunity to discuss the key attributes of successful leadership communications and to reflect on what makes a philanthropic leader a great communicator. Preparation and training to build skills, communicating clearly with empathy and emotion and understanding the information needs of different audiences in complex ecosystems were among the key building blocks discussed.

These online discussions are part of the ongoing journey members of the network have embarked upon as they learn together about the key communications issues the sector is facing. Their discussions are underpinned by continuity, high levels of trust, and a collegial atmosphere that allows for an open space for discussions on even the most difficult issues.

If you are interested in finding out more about the outcomes of the meeting, or wish to register your interest in participating to the network please contact Stefanos Oikonomou.