Natasha Giraudel is Marketing and Brand Manager for the homelessness charity, Crisis. After 12 years in book publishing marketing, she moved into the charity sector, taking up marketing roles with the Scouts Association, World Vision, Bow Arts Trust, National Citizen Service and Islamic Relief. She joined Crisis over 3 years ago.
It can be a struggle to be heard. I know that a lot of charities have really struggled during the lockdown in terms of their income generation because the pandemic has been the big thing on everybody’s mind. It’s been hard to get space for other causes. But fortunately, and unfortunately, homelessness has remained at the top of the news agenda. So, from a support point of view, we’ve actually fared quite well.
It’s easy to get blinkered. What was interesting about working in publishing is having that grounding in marketing principles that you can apply to any sector you work in. I think there can be a danger of seeing things from the perspective of where you work. Having that external experience in the private sector is really valuable because it brings more of a business sense to it.
Be creative, even if you’re not a ‘creative’. What was really good about my publishing time is that it was quite creative as well. I encourage my team, regardless of whether they’re the designer, filmmaker, or the marketer, to be as creative as possible.
Have fun. One of the things that I hope my team enjoy is that I try and make it fun. I’ve had the feedback in other roles that people enjoy the atmosphere that I can create. If you’re working in a charity around quite a serious cause, it needs those light moments as well to generate that creative thinking.
You can get overwhelmed. There’s a lot to do. There’s a lot to react to when numbers of people facing or experiencing homelessness are rising or circumstances are changing. And when you support the whole organisation, which my team does, that can sometimes keep you awake at night.
It’s important to build trust. I’m not a confrontational person. I always prioritise the relationship over the work, because I think it’s important to build trust. At times, I’ve given over a lot of ground so as to build that trust: it makes it easier the next time around.
You have to look after your soul. My parents always say to me that you could earn so much more money if you did what you do in a bank. But my soul would be dead if I did this job – marketing in a bank. It’s really important that I am having a positive impact on society. Connection to the cause, and making your mark, is important to my job satisfaction and well-being.
I know we can end homelessness. What gives me real energy and motivation is knowing that I’m around people who are all pulling in the same direction to end homelessness. There is a real sense of belief here that ending homelessness is possible. This is because we have done the research and we know what needs to change to make ending homelessness a reality.
Cause & Effect is a series from Hope, in which leading figures who have been involved in building and promoting good causes tell us what they’ve learned from their experiences. Interview by Michael Isaacs.