It’s almost time for National Bird Week and the Aussie Backyard Bird Count which begins Monday 17 October. With birds on the mind, we thought we’d revisit our #CommsCorner with our client Diana Gibson.
From e-waste to fair-trade to Australian birdlife, Diana Gibson has held a range of marketing and communication roles across a diverse range of industries. We work closely with Diana in her role as Head of Membership Development and Communications at BirdLife Australia (four National Bird Week campaigns to date!) and this week she joins us in the #CommsCorner.
My elevator statement?
If you think it can work, step out of your comfort zone and give it a go….if it doesn’t, the sun will still rise tomorrow and you can try again with that learning behind you.
A Typical Day?
My day starts with checking in with team members to see how they are travelling, checking in on media exposure and bird and conservation stories of the day, and tracking how our supporter and new member campaigns are going. Then it gets diverse…it might be running a consultation on strategic directions for BirdLife Australia’s two scholarly journals, finalising a partnership with the likes of Aurora Expeditions and arranging for a project staffer to accompany their passengers on an Antarctic adventure, working with our scientists to select icon birds to headline a campaign, talking priorities with a volunteer branch committee member.. and on the odd occasion I might even get out to a BirdLife Australia observatory or project, spot some local birds (with lots of help…I’m no expert!!) and see firsthand what is so important about bird conservation.
Which tools can’t you live without?
My tablet (funny how I could live without one a couple of years back!) … and the phone – so much better to talk than email. Oh, and Raisers Edge, our Supporter Relationship Management system!
What are the biggest challenges in your role?
The diversity of audiences BirdLife Australia needs to reach… from the general backyard bird lover to the conservation advocate , the professional / academic whose life-work is birds and conservation and of course, the twitcher, or bird-enthusiast. And of course making the not-for-profit dollar work really hard for bird conservation.
Best Campaign you’ve ever worked on?
I have to say BirdLife Australia’s Aussie Backyard Bird Count, of course! Nearly 50,000 participants and we’re only two years into this annual event! Its been a big shift for BirdLife Australia to focus on reaching the average punter with no or little experience of birds and get them active, discovering what’s in their own backyards! Mark it in your diary now for October 2016.
And can I have another ‘best’? It goes back about 15 years now – Oxfam International’s Make Trade Fair campaign and the fun of being part of planning a launch in Trafalgar Square in London, with Chris Martin on stage! All for a very serious issue – the market disadvantages faced by many workers and producers around the world.
What has been the biggest change to communications since beginning my career?
The Digital Age! Not only do you need to understand enough about the technology to know what is possible, it’s the accompanying shift from ‘push’ communications to ‘conversation’ that is still challenging people.
If you had to cut/keep something in your communications budget what would it be?
The dream of having sufficient funds to invest in the ‘Holy Grail’ – a fully integrated, dynamic supporter engagement /intelligence system. Raisers Edge is great –but there is still so much further we could go.
Fully integrated engagement/intelligence systems are out of reach of the small NFP, but central to really getting the best out of relations with supporters, donors, volunteers, campaigners.
What quality do I look for in communications team members?
Can do, will try, will persevere and will take the initiative. And a great ‘stakeholder’ influencer!