Anyone in the development/NGO sector?

(14 Posts)
runawaysimba Fri 25-Oct-13 01:24:37

Hi all,

Applying for a job after 3 years as a freelancing SAHM. I am a journalist, applying for a comms role in an NGO (not in the UK) in the development feild.
Any tips for how I can make myself stand out? My journalism experience is in current affairs, and I covered a fair number of stories in this area, but I'm feeling daunted!
Any particular hot issues I should be aware of?
Any pertinent questions I should ask, if I do get an interview?
Thank you!

runawaysimba Fri 25-Oct-13 07:16:12

Argh. *field, obviously. And a hopeful bump.

SunnyL Fri 25-Oct-13 07:25:43

Im a development consultant but don't really work on that type of comms side of things. Im mostly climate change and environmental orientated aid.

Have you been reading the Guardians new Development section? Sometimes it can ve very insightful. Sometimes though the journalists clearly have limited knowledge and experience of aid and think we're all humanitarian workers.

runawaysimba Fri 25-Oct-13 09:19:55

Thanks Sunny, I appreciate it! I'll check it out. And I know exactly what you mean about the perception of development as being all humanitarian work, that's something to try to challenge as a comms person, I guess.

nextyearitsbigschool Fri 25-Oct-13 11:26:02

I think you need to make sure your social media is as good as can be. That's the absolute focus of most NFP comms at the moment. I would talk a lot about social media strategies, blogs etc.

SuddenlySqueamish Fri 25-Oct-13 11:36:40

Hi Runawaysimba, I used to work in NGO comms, now in education sector comms.

Charities and NGOs love journalists, especially if you're going for a PR type role. The ones I've worked for have always had several working in PR and comms. The skillset is a good match and they assume you'll take nice contacts with you.

When applying, focus on any experience with their service users - for example if you were going for Red Cross, you might want to focus on stories you've done about people living in poverty, crisis situations etc.

They do tend to expect you to have a wide range of skills, so like nextyear says, make sure your social media skills are good and also blogging and general digital skills.

Good luck!

runawaysimba Sat 26-Oct-13 20:46:04

Thanks everyone for your replies. I have travelled in and written about the areas the cover a little, so have experience there, but I'm a bit worried about the social media side of things. They don't mention it specifically in the job description, but I know they have a really good social media presence. I'm on Twitter, but only socially - will have to do some research into creative ways NGOs are using it!
Thanks again :-)

MrsMargoLeadbetter Sat 26-Oct-13 21:30:21

OP - if you don't already know of them look up CharityComms (membership body for charity PRs) they share lots of good practice stuff esp re using social media.

Good luck with the application.

runawaysimba Sun 27-Oct-13 00:05:24

Thanks again everyone, I hadn't heard of CharityComms Mrs Margo, great tip! This is why I love Mumsnet (do you think this would count as demonstrating use of social media in aid of the cause...)

lurkingatm Sun 27-Oct-13 00:19:47

CharityComms is brilliant. And there's lots of social media friendly charity comms people in this group:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/thirdsectorcomms/

There's lots of us on LinkedIn too. I am not a head of digital, but they let me quietly lurk and soak up the wisdom in this group:
http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=4383311&trk=my_groups-b-grp-v

To make yourself stand out at interview (or in your application), can you write a sample blog and a few suggested tweets and posts? If you can take a decent photo to go with it, great - tweets and posts with photos are much more likely to be shared.

I'd look to see if there are any campaigns/political changes coming up in their area, and look at the fundraising reports for their area. HTH!

lurkingatm Sun 27-Oct-13 00:26:25

ps this is probably really obvious, but if you get to interview make sure you've memorised their website, follow them on social media, follow their competitors on social media, look at where they are getting coverage already, and have prepared a constructive critique of how they can get more.

Buzzwords worth looking up - owned, shared and earned media.

lurkingatm Sun 27-Oct-13 00:28:37

the LinkedIn group I mentioned before was 'CharityComms Head of Digital' must remember to not post after wine again

runawaysimba Sun 27-Oct-13 01:13:55

Thanks, Lurking! I follow this organisation already, but have been worried about suddenly upping my twitter/Facebook activity in relation to them, in case it looked like I was trying too hard. Which I would be!
Applications close tomorrow, interviews next week, so if I get an interview I'll be spending the week cramming and coming up with constructive ideas/pitches.
Thanks again everyone :-)

runawaysimba Fri 08-Nov-13 01:32:32

Just coming back to say I got the job! So thrilled! And having a wardrobe crisis. thanks for you all for your help.

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