Good for Nothing

Can we help Only Connect communicate their mission more clearly?

Venture: Only Connect

OnlyConnect is a crime prevention charity working in London with prisoners, ex-offenders and at-risk youth. Their five key programmesoffer support at every point in the crime cycle in order to reduceoffending. Most of all they offer a community that is positive,stable and supportive.

In the UK 47% of ex-offenders re-offend within a year of getting out of prison. This is a rate which increases each time an offender returnsto prison. This makes the role of Only Connect and particularly theirpreventive youth programmes, vitally important. Independent researchfrom New Philanthropy Capital found that “OnlyConnect halves the re-offending rate” (Unlocking Value, NPC, 2011).

OnlyConnect provides a support structure with a family ethos in the formof a members’ club, which helps to support and train ex-offendersas they leave prison. They currently support 132 members withtraining, education, advocacy, creative opportunities and therapy.Members benefit from developing new skills that can help them intoemployment and also develop interests that on a personal levelincrease confidence, communication skills and encourage new forms ofexpression. In many cases, it is the development of these soft skillsthat improves members’ personal relationships, encourages morepositive engagement with their community and increases employability.

Only Connect offer five key programmes:

OC Central is the heart of the organisation; the family. OC Central provides social space, therapeutic services, sign-posting and assistance toaccess other social services, and access to opportunities in the artsand music.

OC Impact utilises the skills and experiences of OC’s ex-offender members to deliver high-energy, high-impact, professionally directed productionsand interactive and innovative workshops to students andat-risk-youth to address attitudes and behaviours that are holding them back.

OC Inspire reaches offenders in custody in London prisons and Young OffenderInstitutions providing creative training, in line with accreditedcourses, which equips individuals with employment skills.

OC Create produces high-quality art for external audiences inspired, performedor produced by OC members, reflecting the lives, dreams and realityof Londoners at risk of involvement in crime.

My Generation is a youth intervention project working with high risk young peopleaiming to create a new generation of leaders and youth ambassadors inthe community.

The Challenge

Only Connect is often perceived as a youth theatre or arts organisation,and the current communications style is re-inforcing that. But theyare so much more than that, providing a community of belonging,training and employment opportunities for at risk youth. The keychallenge is to communicate their purpose & broad mission moreeffectively to members, potential corporate partners and the wider public.

Thestriking black and white design has been well received, the challengeis to build on this to make the messages clearer rather than startagain.

Reframe the OC brand purpose & communications to land its work and services more clearly

  • Explore and develop a clearer point of view about the OC purpose and mission
  • Prioritise and refine the key messages to communicate
  • Identify the key audiences and how to reach them more effectively
  • Create a communications strategy and tactics to get their work more widelyrecognised.
  • Evolve the visual communications style using more succinct messaging N.Bthe black and white visual approach is liked by the organisation butthey are open to how this could be developed and expanded creativelyto tell their story more effectively.
  • Revisit and refresh the website with up to date messaging, copy andexpression
  • Develop a social web strategy to effectively communicate to their keyaudiences, eg. Funders and potential corporate partners
  • Create social web tactics
  • Create a guide and principles for OC users to use the social web on behalfof the organisation

Attract corporate partnerships and prototype other innovative fundraising streams/ideas

  • Prototype innovative ways that Corporate organisations could get involved withOC. Explore mentoring, skillshares, training, inspiration,internships and innovative funding models e.g co-production ofproducts and services, sponsorship of OC productions, content etc
  • Explore co-production possibilities with social enterprise etc
  • Create a corporate pitch document/materials tools
  • Develop a fundraising page on the website
  • Identify a hit list of companies Only Connect could approach with relevantpitch

How can I help?

You can make a start on this challenge simply by contributing ideas, or get stuck right in and share your work with the community here. Login or join the movement to get started!