Cystic Fibrosis Trust aims to inspire as it shifts focus to engagement

The Cystic Fibrosis Trust is restructuring its marketing team and hiring its first engagement director as it shifts its marketing focus from education to engagement to provide ‘inspiration’ for the ten thousand people living with the condition.

CF Trust

The changes mean public affairs, media and communications, branding and digital will all fall under the remit of a new engagement director, who will be responsible for leading the team and shaping the charity’s communications. That is a change from its old structure, where it had a marketing director in charge of both communications and fundraising.

Iain McAndrew, who joined the trust in May 2013 as interim marketing director, has taken on the role of director of engagement and income generation. Oli Lewington has now been appointed to lead the engagement team.

McAndrew tells Marketing Week that up until now the charity has focused on education and explaining to people what cystic fibrosis is. It now wants to focus more on communicating the impact of cystic fibrosis on a sufferer’s daily life, sharing inspiring stores from both those living with the disease and the people around them.

The move comes as the Cystic Fibrosis Trust reaches its 50th year, with the anniversary seen as a reason to “push hard” and increase the impact it has both within government and the healthcare industry. The aim is to boost its supporter base and fundraising by making the charity the voice of the cystic fibrosis community.

“We didn’t want to celebrate our 50th year because while we recognise we have made to progress to improve the quality and length of people with cystic fibrosis’ lives we still have a long way to go.

“Instead we are using it to set out and embark on a more ambitious future to raise cystic fibrosis up the health agenda and increase our support both of research and for those who have the disease,” McAndrew says.

Lewington’s main focus will be digital channels – so important because one of the characteristics of cystic fibrosis is that those with the disease cannot meet due to a risk of cross infection. McAndrew says the way cystic fibrosis sufferers engage with each other is online and it wants to make sure it is part of the conversation.

“The success of the charity stands or falls on how it connects with the community. We want to let the community tell its own story in its own way and we can be the facilitator, the champion. We want to be a catalyst to inspire people,” he says.

Lewington has come on board from World Vision UK where he was social media communities manager. He has also made digital films for companies including the BBC and production company Small but Mighty.

McAndrew says: “We are thrilled to welcome Oli on board in this pivotal new role that will drive the step-change in our engagement with the cystic fibrosis community. He is joining us at an exciting time as we work to redouble our income and efforts over the next five years.
 
“Oli brings with him a wealth of marketing, communications and campaigning experience gained at World Vision UK as well as the wide variety of storytelling experience he gained developing and making films for the BBC and leading global brands.”

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