BA module, October 2017

School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies. Cardiff University

Strategic communications are essential for successful charities, lobby groups and community campaigns. Communications professionals need to produce integrated campaigns using social media, websites, email and print publications, as well as know how to gain traditional media coverage.

Through working on live projects with real charities (last year these included Oxfam, GirlGuiding and the United Nations’ TVE) you’ll learn these practical skills, and understand how campaigning organisations communicate their messages in order to build support, influence decision makers, and bring about social, political or behavioural change.

There will be a strong emphasis on developing creativity, team working, and learning practical, vocational skills. But you’ll also become familiar with the key theories, texts and debates in campaigning and cause communications.

On completion, you’ll be able to:

  • Understand how charities, campaign organisations and lobby groups communicate their messages to identified audiences
  • Develop communications strategies, formulate campaign messages, write press releases, plan media opportunities and produce engaging content for online and offline media
  • Critically analyse campaigns and understand their formation and delivery with reference to best practice and theoretical approaches
  • Produce a focused and effective communications report


Week 1

Successful campaigns: engaging emotions, understanding values and telling a good story. Course resources, and introduction to project briefs. 

Week 2

Choosing projects and understanding the brief
Communications strategy 1: Understanding context and setting goals

Week 3

Communications strategy 2: Audience research and gaining insight

Week 4

Communications strategy 3: Message development, channels, tactics, evaluation

Week 5

Visiting speakers: Jess Day (Let Toys Be Toys) and Andy Murphy-Williams (Tenovus Cancer Care)

Week 6

Reading week

Week 7

Communications strategy presentations

Week 8

Communications planning, media relations and effective press releases

Week 9

Writing for websites, emails and social media, using images

Week 10


Week 11

Projects debrief and evaluation. Assignment 2 brief, questions and workshop 


Assignment 1: Communications strategy and sample content
(group assessment, 40%)

DEADLINE: 3pm Wednesday 13/12/17

Assignment 2: Communications report
(individual assessment, 60%)

DEADLINE: 3pm Wednesday 10/01/18



Barrell, J (2014). Make it matter. CharityComms

Holmes, T (2011). The Common Cause Handbook. Public Interest Research Centre

Lamb, B (2011). The Good Guide to Campaigning and Influencing, 3rd edition. NCVO

Rose, C (2010). How to Win Campaigns: Communications for Change, 2nd edition. Routledge

Rose, C (2011). What Makes People Tick: The Three Hidden Worlds of Settlers, Prospectors and Pioneers. Matador

Slack, B (2016). Effective Media Relations for Charities. Social Partnership Marketing LLP


Diaz-Ortiz, C (2011). Twitter for Good: Change the World One Tweet at a Time. John Wiley & Sons

Kanter, B (2010). The Networked Nonprofit. John Wiley & Sons

Kinzey, R (2013). Promoting Nonprofit Organizations. Routledge

Mathos, M and Norman, C (2012). 101 Social Media Tactics for Nonprofits. John Wiley & Sons

Miller, K (2010). The Nonprofit Marketing Guide. John Wiley & Sons

Theaker, A and Yaxley, H (2013). The Public Relations Strategic Toolkit. Taylor & Francis