Caring in Crisis – Why development and humanitarian NGOs need to change how they relate to the public

This post was written by Dr Shani Orgad from the Department of Media and Communications at LSE and Dr Bruna Seu, Department of Psychosocial Studies, Birkbeck.  Ian Birrell, a staunch critic of the humanitarian aid sector, has attacked ‘cash-swollen charities’ for focusing ‘on hitting on an outdated aid target, instead of on results’. Unfortunately, the UK public seems often to share similar sentiments of […]

July 8th, 2014|Development|0 Comments|

How to create ethical & effective online social campaigning communications for development

How do you campaign for a cause in an age when there is so much competition for people’s attention and when the challenge is to get people to do more than click their support? It’s vital that anyone doing advocacy – especially online – understands the wider media context and the specific conditions of digital networks. This article was written […]


10 things (so far) that organisations say when they are criticised by journalists and don’t want to deal with the issues raised

The BBC Panorama on charities was not a devastating deconstruction of the sector. It showed that a few (big name) charities are not entirely as ethical as they pretend; that they tend to be rather generous to departing staff (something the BBC should know about); they are potentially swayed by corporate donors; and are not entirely transparent about their investments […]


Scouts, Kittens And Integrity: notes towards an ethical & effective strategy for communicating change

This collection of cliches and half-baked slogans comprises the notes from a talk I gave at the Blue State Digital London offices to a group of charity, think-tank and culture communications officers. It is based mainly on this much longer report I wrote on ethical or change communications in the digital age. I do these talks to learn rather than to […]


IF only – communications challenges and opportunties for NGOs in 2013

This is part of an article that appears in full on the Guardian Development Professional Network website. Here’s the top and bottom of my attempt to ask if NGOs have got their communications strategies right for the media environment of 2013. To have an impact in a world that is overflowing with information, you have to shout very loudly with […]


New Paper: Connecting To The World, Communicating For Change: Media and agency in the new networked public sphere

I have written a report for the International Broadcasting Trust on how the new media environment is impacting on the way we communicate for change. It is particularly aimed at international NGOs. You can access that here. You can find details of the launch event on November 7th here.

It was based on a much longer and more wide-ranging exploratory […]


Insight from the Other World- A Marketing Professional Speaks on NGOs’ Communication Challenges

What happens when you bring together a commercial marketing man with a group of communications, fund-raising and marketing officers from a selection of the UK’s international aid charities? Polis Intern Paula Myers reports on a recent Polis report launch. “What’s the idea we can use?” Giles Hedger of the commercial marketing agency Leo Burnett shared his perspective on the challenges […]


Who Is To Blame When Africa Starves: media, governments or NGOs?

A report from Oxfam and Save The Children on the East African food crisis shows that thousands of lives could have been saved if aid organisations had acted earlier. This was not a sudden disaster and yet not enough was done to prevent it escalating: Early signs of an oncoming food crisis were clear many months before the emergency reached […]


Charities and celebrities: a media myth?

If you want to get noticed, get a celebrity. That’s been the maxim for charities desperately seeking column inches to promote their causes. However, recent research has questioned whether journalists are always so easily attracted by actors and pop singers claiming ot have a conscience. In this guest blog Dan Brockington from Manchester University describes his work on charity and […]

November 18th, 2011|Development, Media|0 Comments|

Four steps to success in a humanitarian appeal

Some people are exhausted by messages they receive from humanitarian NGOs. Many have become desensitized to images of distant suffering and repeated appeals for help. But, ultimately, people want to do good. So what can humanitarian NGOs do to better open the public’s hearts, minds—and pockets? Polis hosted a panel debate on this topic at LSE in partnership with Plan […]

November 15th, 2011|Development|2 Comments|