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Mis-Communicator of the Week: The Royal British Legion

In a race to, or be seen to, embrace new technologies and ways of communicating, communications teams can often lose sight of who it is they are supposed to be talking to. This is all too common when an organisation’s communications team is trying to impress a CEO or, in a recent example I heard of, a government minister heading a department. This department was paying tens of thousands of pounds publishing lists on Buzzfeed which were being read by just a mere handful of people. Not only were these lists costly but they were totally untargeted. Within the department though, the communications team were able to point to the new ways they were taking their message to the public - its effectiveness secondary to a desire for innovation.

In life one of the first things many of us do is reach for a smartphone, tablet or computer and ‘Google’ something. Despite the majority of the UK adult population being online or having some access to the internet there are still many who do not make the digital world their primary source of information.

The Royal British Legion is a wonderful organisation which does a vast of amount of good work for our veterans. It also has a network of clubs which are centres of fellowship in communities all over the UK. Now though it has been revealed how thousands of veterans are voting to leave the Legion and, as a result, organisers of the poppy appeal are struggling to get volunteers to sell them. The reason the veterans are turning their back on the Legion is their belief the Legion wants its annual subscription paid by Direct Debit. For many older people without a bank account this isn’t possible and they feel disenfranchised.

The response from the Legion is telling with the charity saying its members could still pay in cash at local branches, but it feared this message was not getting through. The quote from a spokeswoman in the Sunday Times revealed the disengagement further: “We have huge challenges with members who do not have access to the internet and do not have email accounts”. Quite. And there is the solution staring the Legion in its face.

In embracing new technologies and digital forms of communication they have left behind thousands of veterans. These men and women feel disillusioned purely because the right communication channels are not being used which is why the Royal British Legion is my Mis-Communicator of the Week.

Mis-Communicator of the Week is written by Edward Staite.

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