Meet... Gail Marshall from the Community Comms Collective

Plain Jane PR was set up to help brands that give a damn so, volunteering with the Community Comms Collective, was only natural.

I was going to explain what this is but instead I’ll just let the founder explain it.

Team, meet Gail!

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Hi Gail! Tell me about the Community Comms Collective…

The Community Comms Collective is basically a matchmaking service! We connect community organisations with communications professionals who provide their time and expertise on a voluntary basis. We also work to lift capability in the community sector through workshops and resources on our website.

My good friend and neighbour, Sue McCabe, and I set up the collective around five years ago after I had a mid-life navel gaze moment about wanting to give back more and inject more meaning into my career, while facing the juggles we all face and not necessarily knowing where my skills could be best put to use. And I figured the combined efforts of all us time poor community-minded comms folk could be so much more than our individual efforts. I told Sue about my idea as I knew she'd make it happen. And she did. When we shared our idea for a volunteer collective with our comms networks in Wellington, we mobilised around 60 people virtually overnight. Today we have around 350 volunteers in Wellington and Auckland.

How do you define "success"? Both within the CCC, and personally.

For the collective, success is what we like to call the 'comms collective buzz' - it's the email we get from a community organisation talking about the difference a volunteer made, its seeing a volunteer's eyes light up when they recount a match and the impact they can see they've had. It's hearing about the job a volunteer got after building up their confidence again by volunteering through the collective.

Personally, success is getting the balance right. Being able to do meaningful work - both paid and unpaid, to be a good mum and wife and friend, and to step back and enjoy the combination and madness of it all (sometimes) and not get frazzled by it.

What is your biggest learning (PR/Marketing/Social) from CCC?

To be honest, it's grown through word of mouth and as a 100% volunteer-run organisation we need to be careful not to promise what we can't deliver! That said, we have put effort into our communications (it would be a bad look not to!) and have had a lot of fun with brand and web development, building a social media personality and community; and celebrating our volunteers and the organisations they support.

Thanks Gail!

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I bet you’re thinking… “how can I get in on this action”.

If you’re part of nonprofit organisation or community group who need support in your communications, please get in touch with the CCC.

If you’re a comms professional, based in Auckland or Wellington, and would love to put your free time to good use, please get in touch as well.

More info and contact details can be found here.

Rebecca Lee