Liberal Communicators Network
Recap: LCN Academy 2024 "Making A Good Message Better"


The LCN-Non-Profit Academy 2024 has successfully concluded, empowering liberal communicators equipped with cutting-edge strategies and innovative marketing trends tailored specifically for the mission-driven sector. Over two months, 45 participants from 23 different countries delved into non-profit communications, emerging better prepared to win hearts and minds, influence values and behaviors, and drive societal change towards a forward-looking future.

With this year being already the 4th edition of the Non-Profit Academy, LCN continues to cultivate a professional community of non-profit communicators from civil society organizations, foundations, think tanks, and change-makers focusing on liberal topics. The Academy enabled the participants to join the LCN alumni network, a pioneer growing community of marketing professionals dedicated to liberal non-profit causes, which is unique in Europe and the neighbourhood. 

The academy was facilitated by Sven Gerst, PhD Student in Political Economy at King’s College London and Former Secretary General of IFLRY. He is a renowned international facilitator and moderator and has been part of the LCN Non-profit Academy from the very first edition on.

Insights from Thought Leaders and World-Class Trainers

This year's Academy, themed "Make a Good Message Better," featured a series of 9 webinars with thought leaders, best-selling authors, and renowned trainers from USA, Ireland and South Africa, who focused on the latest trends in non-profit brand management, communication strategy, digital and content marketing, and Hope-based Communications in democracy promotion and human rights.

Thomas Coombes, the Founder and Director of Hope-based Communications, provided the audience with his insights on narrative change and strategies for social change. His sessions emphasized the importance of articulating the change activists want to see, sharing his experiences from working for Amnesty International and the European Commission. Coombes presented practical tools for crafting compelling narratives that inspire hope and drive action, resonating deeply with the participants.

How can we try and be hopeful and talk about a better future and make people feel a sense of control when all these horrible things are happening in the world? Well, it's because how people feel impacts how they're going to behave. The story we tell today is the action we take tomorrow.

Thomas Coombes
Thomas Coombes

In 2021, Thomas Coombes performed as a TEDtalk speaker in order to introduce Hope-based Communications to a wide audience. The concept is about five shifts for better narratives: from fear to hope, from against to for, from problem to solution, from threat to opportunity and from victim to human. In his two webinars at the LCN Non-profit Academy, Coombes additionally gave the participants insights into the origins, which are related to brain research and psychology, and the practical implementation of Hope-based Communications.

You are invited to dive into this Visual Communications Guide for Human Rights to get a deeper understanding of Hope-based Communications and the meaning and realisation of its slogan “Hope is a strategy for change”.


Kivi Leroux Miller, CEO of Nonprofit Marketing Guide and award-winning author, led hands-on workshops that were both insightful and transformative. The learning journey on content marketing and strategic communications was craftfully designed by Miller's decades-long experience from the USA as a leading author, trainer, and adviser to nonprofit marketing and fundraising professionals, executive directors, and boards of directors.

Her practical advice, grounded in her award-winning book "Content Marketing for Nonprofits”, provided participants with applicable strategies to engage their communities and become experts for non-profit communications in their organizations.

Content Marketing is attracting people to your work and retaining their interest in it by creating and distributing content they find especially valuable and relevant. It’s not about pushing your messaging on them, but rather drawing them to you because they find it so valuable.

Kivi Leroux Miller
Kivi Leroux Miller

Miller began her workshops by guiding participants on selecting the right objectives, which she termed "the missing magic" in a communications strategy. She taught the audience the differences between goals, strategies, objectives, and tactics, and highlighted the challenges of implementing these concepts in the non-profit sector. The session then became more practical as she discussed various writing styles and essential workflow tools. Additionally, the workshops addressed the challenge of setting boundaries as a communicator, fostering a valuable exchange among the participants.

Discover some of Kivi Leroux Miller's content from previous editions of the LCN Non-profit academy in this article on Marketing Strategies and Goal Setting or this video on 5 Steps to Build Great Campaigns.


Our third trainer, Nick Clelland, brought experience as a political strategist and senior government advisor to the Academy. His session on managing media relations and crafting effective public messages drew from his roles as Chief of Staff to the Mayor of Auckland and Special Advisor to the Premier of the Western Cape in South Africa. Clelland's practical approach and real-world examples offered participants a deep understanding of the complexities and nuances of media management in the non-profit sector.

In his session, Nick Clelland shared essential communication strategies, including a redefinition of the concept of a "brand" as the feeling evoked by an entity, emphasizing the need for consistency in conveying this emotion. He also advised sticking to a chosen feeling in all communications, avoiding actions that dilute this identity. Furthermore, Clelland stressed the importance of driving specific issues rather than broad topics, using emotionally charged, binary issues to foster public engagement.

Two motiongraphic videos on How to drive issues? and What is the pinnacle of successful communications? summarise his core statements in a nutshell. The article 5 Secrets from a Spin Doctor provides a brief and informative insight into the content of his session as well.


Building a Community of Liberal Communicators

The Academy was not just about learning from experts; it was also about building a community. 45 participants from 23 countries came together, selected through a highly competitive process. The diversity of backgrounds and experiences enriched the discussions and fostered a collaborative learning environment. The interactive online sessions facilitated meaningful exchanges, allowing participants to share their challenges and successes, and learn from one another.

We thank the whole class of the LCN-Non-Profit Academy 2024 for their contributions and congratulate all graduates on becoming a member of the LCN professional community!

LCN graduation

The Academy is organised by the European Liberal Forum (ELF) with the support of Projekt: Polska and Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom for East and Southeast Europe (FNF ESEE). The Academy is part of an umbrella programme – the Liberal Communicators Network (LCN), between ELF Secretariat, Projekt: Polska, Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF ESEE) and European Liberal Youth (LYMEC).