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Communicating complex issues

A key challenge for charities and non-profit organisations is clearly communicating their work and the issues they are attempting to tackle.

Michelle Pavey

Article by Michelle Pavey

In a hectic landscape of attempting to raise awareness and gain support, it is critical for these organisations to explain what they do in multiple ways to ensure their work gets funding/​donations and has a positive impact. Charities and non-profits whose fundamental purpose is of scientific or environmental nature often find it difficult to convey the large-scale problems we collectively face, in a way that is easy for the general public to comprehend and engage with. For some, the problem is too large, seems too far away or is not relatable to them in their every day lives. So, with this in mind, what can organisations do to communicate complex issues in a way that inspires people to support their cause.

Present content at different levels

A common mistake is to bombard the user with as much information as possible upfront, creating messy, dense homepages and unclear navigation. This is never a good way to present information, but even more detrimental to an organisation that needs to take users on a long-term journey with them. We always suggest offering content on different levels, hooking the user in with top-line messaging and attention grabbing statistics, then leading them through to more in-depth content and finally giving them access to all of the detail, including scientific data and links to academic publications, should they want it.

Create memorable information and utilise key statistics

Most organisations have collected a lot of data around their cause and are keen to share it all but finding the sweet spot between everything that you know and what will resonate with the outside world is important. Finding overarching and memorable snippets of information that tell the broader story and enable people to understand the big picture is the best way to engage users without overwhelming them with detail. This should be done through a variety of content types including text, video, images, infographics, typography and illustration.

Make the content relatable and inspiring

Once you have presented the key issues to your audiences it is then important to move them from passive observer through to active supporter.

This is not always an easy task, what makes your organisation stand out from the rest, why should they support you?

Offering relatable content of people, like them, getting involved and making a difference, helps to put the support into a contextual situation and show how easy it is to participate, whether that be financially or through volunteer activities.

Michelle Pavey

Michelle Pavey is Strategy Director at Kind