• Iasmine Ward

Using Office 365 to connect comms experts and organisations in need, during the COVID-19 Crisis

As Microsoft partners, ClerksWell used Office 365 tools to rapidly put together a portal, in just a few hours, that allows comms volunteers to offer their services to companies who need help during the COVID-19 crises. Providing essential organisations, the necessary help, and support they need in this challenging time.

…for communications professionals this scheme is a contribution to the national effort. I’m really grateful to all who volunteer, helping the NHS … Please do think about joining the scheme.”

Simon Enright - Director of Communications - NHS England and NHS Improvement

On March 20th ClerksWell was approached by Ben Atfield, the Managing Director at Ellwood Atfield for our expertise in implementing digital solutions. Ellwood Atfield recruits the people responsible for an organisation's communications, using their industry knowledge and extensive directory of contacts to place ideal candidates in a range of public sector positions.

ClerksWell volunteered and prioritised our time and services to build a solution in breakneck speed. Using Microsoft tools (Forms and Flow) we were quickly, easily and efficiently able to rise to the challenge and build the portal in a matter of hours. Microsoft’s tools were vital in our response to the crisis and being able to provide a significant impactful response. Like so many others, we wanted to do our bit in the fight against COVID-19. Unfortunately, we can’t make ventilators, but what we can do is what ClerksWell does best, implement digital solutions that can help and support essential organisations in their time of need.

The portal’s aim is to support charities and other organisations involved in health, social care, education, and social housing, who may need extra help with employee communications, crisis communications and local or national government lobbying during these unprecedented times.

How it works

On entering the website, click the relevant link to take you to the appropriate form (as shown above) to register your interest in volunteering or if you need any help. As Microsoft partners, we built the forms on Microsoft Forms, here you can create surveys, quizzes and polls and easily see the results as they come in. Using Microsoft Flow in the backend of SharePoint, Ellwood Atfield staff will now be able to analyse the results submitted and pair up potential volunteers and organisations based on submitted criteria.

As the platform continues to grow, developments and changes are constantly being made. Soon, we envisage that the organisations themselves will have access to the list of volunteers. They will then be able to search, filter and review available volunteers based on various criteria (seniority level, part-time/full time) selecting those they think can best help and get in contact with them directly via email. Simple! Due to our swift implementation, the platform is continuing to grow rapidly, with 121 volunteers and 13 organisations within the first 4 days since going live.

"On behalf of the PRCA, ICCO, and LGComms, I’d like to thank Ellwood Atfield for this fantastic initiative, and to urge industry to get behind it."

Francis Ingham - PRCA Director-General; ICCO Chief Executive; LGComms Executive Director

ClerksWell is proud to be contributing to the fight against coronavirus. If you too want to play your part, you can help by sharing this initiative on social media using the hashtag #c19commsvolunteers.

Help us in the fight against COVID-19 by:

  • Volunteering your communications services here

  • Encouraging anybody you know with PR/Comms skills to offer their services.

  • Spreading the word to any charities/public sector organizations that you know may need help with their communications strategy.

If you need any help with remote working or are facing technical problems as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, please get in touch here for some free advice today.


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