Ben Hawley is Marketing and Communications Director at Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM). Ben moved from agency and joined the charity CALM in August 2017, and has since then worked with the Royals, Parliament and brands including ITV, Dave, Topman and Tesco. CALM is Pro-Recruitment Group's corporate charity partner and is leading a movement against suicide in the UK, running a free and confidential phoneline and webchat 365 days a year, and working towards breaking down the stigma around mental health. Ben speaks with Nicholas Ogden, Consultant at Pro-Marketing, about the work undertaken by CALM, the changing role of marketing and communications in the not-for-profit sector, and the personal and soft skills needed when working in the charity sector.
Tell us about yourself, how your career started and what you do at Campaign Against Living Miserably?
I am the Marketing and Communications Director at CALM. I joined the organisation 2.5 years ago having moved from an agency where CALM was a client. I’ve worked with CALM from the days when there were just 2 people and the cause was very specific to male suicide. In 2017, I got the chance to join for a short period of time to land some big campaigns and I haven’t left yet!
How do CALM differentiate themselves in the market?
We deal with a difficult issue, shrouded with stigma and taboo so are unapologetic about bringing it to the public’s attention. We’re all about breaking down barriers and shifting culture, so you need creativity and personality to do that. You also need an open door. We’re reliant on a mass of enthusiasm and desire for change.
How big is your team and what advice would you give anyone applying to be part of the team?
The marketing and communications team is 9 strong. The team is a mix of generalists and specialists. We’re at the size where we need people to adapt to change and opportunity so we look for a variety of skills. Drive and desire are very important, but we also need people with tenacity and sensitivity.
What personal and soft skills are most important when working in the charity sector?
You need to be compassionate and empathetic, especially when working with the issue we do. So people need an element of resilience but not in the absence of support.
What advice would you give to someone looking to make a move into a not-for-profit organisation from another sector?
The not-for-profit industry can benefit from skills, ideas and energy from a mix of industries. You certainly don’t need sector experience to land a job at CALM, diversity is key to growing and getting better.
How do you think the role of marketing and communications in the not-for-profit sector has changed over the years?
It has become a lot more complicated, there are now more channels available. It is important to be aware of what each channel offers you. It’s easy to feel like you should try everything and be everywhere you can be but you need a lot more insight into performance and understand the nuance. Driving clicks is great but if you’re chasing people around the internet, is this good for your brand? We try to focus on delivering the right message to the right audience and generating the best possible engagement.
If not in charity marketing/communications, what would the dream be?
A professional golfer! Not because I love golf, or golfers – it just seems very cushy.
Thanks for your time, and as a little treat for all of our readers - do you have any guilty pleasures you can share with us?
Here at Pro, we have partnered with CALM - the Campaign Against Living Miserably, a charity which is close to our company. We will be working closely with CALM to create campaigns, increase awareness, and offer support through engagement and fundraising events.