Birthrights is a UK charity that champions respectful care for women during pregnancy and childbirth by protecting human rights.
Fresh was appointed by Birthrights in 2019 to develop in-house communications skills and identify media spokespeople within the team as well as creating an effective PR and comms strategy for the charity.
At the outset, Fresh conducted a team skills audit to understand prior experience of media spokesperson work, confidence in articulating Birthrights’ messaging and delivering external engagement, and personal aspirations for improving communications skills. This informed the charity’s strategy for ongoing professional development and effective allocation of media spokesperson duties.
In October 2019, Fresh facilitated a full day messaging workshop with the whole staff team. Through interactive methods, this included upskilling the team on what makes news, considering current debates and controversies in our sector, exploring Birthrights’ positions and red lines, testing and collaborating on messaging, identifying the core evidence underpinning our communications, considering protocols for proactive and reactive media work, including use of case studies.
Feedback from the team after the workshop was unanimously positive.
Working with the team, Fresh has developed a new message house for Birthrights, which builds on exisiting brand and policy positions, while sharpening the charity’s voice, clarity and position in the birth world. The message house was rooted in audience analysis, plays to Birthright’s unique strengths as a human rights and legal charity, and is clearly underpinned by evidence.
The new message house immediately led to more disciplined and confident use of messaging across the team in the media, online and in public presentations. The Birthrights team are using this tool to sharpen media interviews and social media output, improving consistency of how the charity talks about its work and core human rights in childbirth issues.
This work has already led to tangible outcomes. Before working with Fresh, Birthrights secured an average of 4 pieces of media coverage per quarter. In the last quarter (October-December 2019), the charity has already had 9 pieces of media coverage – including in high profile outlets such as BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, The Times and The Independent.
“The Fresh team has been fantastic to work with. Their experience and their flexible, remote-working model, which echoes our own, has made it very easy to work together on a practical level. Their knowledge of working with small charities that are further in their lifespan and evolution than Birthrights has also shone through, giving me and the team confidence in their approach and lots of practical examples to learn from.
“Our CEO worked closely with the Fresh Director to refine the proposal and scope, before we submitted a funding bid. This enabled strong alignment and consensus from the outset about the work needed. We have had regular dialogue and update calls to keep the project on track.
“The Fresh team were absolutely brilliant in our team workshop – strong facilitation, good emotional intelligence, efficient and flexible use of time, and impressive breadth of knowledge despite not currently working in our sector, which inspired the team.
“Their approach has been flexible and tailored to our needs and pressures as a small charity. Our account manager has also worked directly with the best experts in the team, which has supported buy-in and made best use of our limited time. I’ve also valued their practical approach to getting things done, with proportionate plans and processes in place – rather than copious strategies that may be impressive but don’t translate into concrete, quick action. Their passion has also been evident, which is always a good thing!
“I would recommend them to other small charities seeking a dedicated, passionate and practically-focussed press and communications agency.”Amy Gibbs - CEO, Birthrights