This month we focus on Home-Start Aberdeen, headed up by Chief Executive, Eleanor McEwan. For over 30 years Home-Start Aberdeen has been helping vulnerable families across the city to prevent family crisis and breakdown, and today provides both practical and emotional support to more than 200 families every year.  

  • Tell us about your PR and marketing strategy? 

Drawing on a team of marketing and social media experts including Instinct Marketing +PR and some of our own staff, we work to raise the profile of our charity, our work and the ever-growing demand for more volunteers. Our staff handle social media while Debbie and her team help us with the PR and marketing side. 

  • Why do you invest in PR and marketing? 

Even as the global pandemic recedes, the impact on vulnerable families continues, and will be felt for many years to come. Many families in Aberdeen and throughout the UK were subjected to unprecedented levels of financial and emotional strain, with those on lower incomes disproportionately affected. This led to a significant increase in demand for our services, and today we’re more resolved than ever in our mission to give support and friendship to families, helping them to create a loving and secure home environment where their children can grow up happy, healthy, confident and able to achieve their full potential.  

Our PR and marketing efforts allow us to highlight both what can be done to help tackle the challenges faced by those most affected by the continued cost of living crisis, as well as the need for more help – we urgently need more volunteers for a range of roles including home support, working in our shop and becoming a trustee on our board. 

  • What are the key benefits? What has worked well? 

We know we can count on Instinct to turn around a high quality press release within tight timescales, often securing immediate results in terms of the resulting media coverage – the team has a wide network of media contacts they draw on to maximise the impact of our news. We’ve recently had some great results with radio, when one of our most dedicated volunteers won a national award for her efforts, which was fantastic. Thanks to Instinct’s PR efforts, we had a great response to our “Cosy up for Christmas” campaign last year, encouraging people to donate new coats, hats, toys and books to the children of the vulnerable families we work with.  The campaign was picked up in all the local papers and we were inundated with donations. 

  • Where are your marketing efforts currently focused? 

2023 marks the tenth anniversary of our charity shop on George Street, so that’s a key promotional message for our charity this year, and we’ll be celebrating the occasion with a number of events at the shop throughout the year. We’re also working to highlight the various funding allocations we’ve been fortunate to receive from a range of both public and private sector organisations, as well as from individual fundraising efforts – we’re very conscious that our work simply couldn’t continue without it. 

  • Where will you be focusing your marketing efforts in the next few months? 

We’ll be continuing to highlight the shop’s ten-year anniversary as well as our campaign to recruit more volunteers and trustees for the board. In the longer term we’re keen to explore plans for the shop’s next decade – could we reach more customers by adding an online shop?  Are there other social enterprise activities we could pursue so we can support more families in need across the city? There’s always lots going on to highlight in our PR and marketing activity – it’s usually a question of prioritizing!