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Inclusive Marketing – feat. Shaw Trust

As part of our “Inclusive Marketing” initiative, we showcase and champion approaches, businesses, initiatives, campaigns, organisations and service providers who understand how to craft inclusive marketing campaigns, reaching ‘all’ or having set out to specifically focus and tailor their comms and campaigns for audiences that some may see as ‘niche’.

As part of this, we’d like to feature a business that helps transform lives throughout the UK and internationally. Here, our chat with Alona De Havilland, Head of Marketing and Communications at Shaw Trust.

ADLIB: For some background, who is Shaw Trust and what makes your business offering unique?

Shaw Trust is one of the largest charities in the UK. We were started more than 30 years ago in Shaw, Wiltshire, by parents of disabled children who wanted their children to have employment opportunities. We now work with thousands of young people and adults including disabled people, socially excluded young people, those in custody, adults seeking employment, people with mental ill-health and individuals hoping to learn and progress. Throughout our work is the golden thread that we help people to transform their lives.

ADLIB: How does Shaw Trust go about spreading the word about your services to ensure that those who could benefit from it are reached?

We run social enterprises across the country employing disabled people and those requiring additional support, including three commercial garden centres, laundry and several horticultural nurseries, however, the majority of our work is commissioned by the national or local government. Therefore much of what we do is targeted at influencing policy and policymakers to ensure commissioned services are fit for purpose. We do market ourselves to a wider audience using social media, traditional marketing, external and internal communications and word of mouth, but we are not a traditional fundraising charity.

ADLIB: As a Marketer within the charity sector, what would you say are the key skills required in your role on a daily basis?

Marketing on a budget! Every penny I spend is money that can’t be spent on those we support, so we have to be innovative. We use a lot of free tools and invest time in our case studies. We also work closely with other organisations who can help us promote our activity. One of our big projects is the Power 100 List of the most influential disabled people in the UK, this annual campaign generates a lot of media interest particularly in key trade publications and the regions, as we work closely with influencers on the list to promote their stories. Last year we gained a lot of coverage including on The Last Leg, as Alex Brooker was number one, beating Adam Hills.

We are a very small team, and when we recruit we really look to bring in people who share our values, our attitude and want to make a difference. You can refine skills and learn new ways of working, but finding someone who shares our determination to build a better world is essential. We also like our team to reflect the people we support, lived experience brings insight and an amazing diversity of thought and problem-solving ability.

ADLIB: In your opinion, what is the most important factor to consider when marketing to a niche audience?

It doesn’t matter what you are marketing you need really clear objectives and a true understanding of who your audience is, without this you are just wasting your resources. In our work integrity is vital, we have to respect the people whose stories we tell.

Thanks so much for sharing your inclusive marketing expertise!