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Creating impact together: working with NGOs and the public sector to perfect text

Find out how Websters enhances public sector and NGO content, ensuring clarity, impact and error-free communication.

Two people in distance dragging a suitcase on a station concourse that has orange shadows on the ground, to illustrate editorial support for the public sector and NGOs

Clarity of communication is an essential element for all written text and perhaps even more so for content produced by public sector bodies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Websters International works with a wide variety of these organisations to help them craft, refine and polish their output, ensuring it’s accessible, free of errors and ready to make its desired impact.

Why is editing and proofreading for NGOs and the public sector important?

Investing time and resources to perfect text is an unheralded but vital step in the content creation process – and one that’s often neglected or skipped entirely. With the purpose to inform, reassure and assist readers, governmental departments and NGOs need to produce content that can be trusted. If it’s inaccurate or full of spelling mistakes, readers will lose confidence in it and its key message will be lost.

It’s also essential that public-facing content is easy to read for people of all reading levels, including users whose first language is not English. According to a study conducted by the National Literacy Trust in 2011, 1 in 7 adults in England had a reading level of Level 3 (equivalent to the expected skills for people aged 9–11). Finding the right tone and level of complexity to appeal to such a wide range of people requires a lot of skill. In fact, it’s one of the most persuasive reasons NGOs and public sector bodies should always deploy an independent, experienced copy editor to boost the impact of their communications. Language matters.

Websters’ approach to public sector editorial projects

At Websters International, we supply NGOs and public sector bodies with the complete editorial solution – copywriting, copy-editing, proofreading, typesetting and translation services (including Welsh translation). Using our expert insights, we work with organisations to select the most appropriate service offering, people and processes to deliver on the aims of each piece.

As specialists in generalism, our team is able to adapt our tried-and-tested editorial approach across a wide variety of sectors and departments – from editing environmental reports to copywriting informational articles for human rights organisations. Regardless of the topic, we are guided by our governing principles – our “3 Cys” – of consistency, accuracy and efficiency. The end result: high-quality, clear and consistent communications that deliver maximum impact.

We also recognise governments and NGOs need to be efficient with their resources. With a dedicated Websters project manager acting as a single point of contact, we streamline the content production process. This not only takes the stress out of project management for our clients, but also brings about efficiencies by saving internal time spent on process alongside cost-effective solutions. It’s one of the main reasons that Websters International has been selected by governmental organisations and NGOs for editorial and print-finishing services – and translation services too.

Case Study 1: Copywriting and copy-editing

As part of a recent government tender, we were selected to join the copywriting framework for a human rights public body. At the outset, we worked with them to draw up a quality management plan and devise a process to deliver high-quality, public-facing output. We also took the time to assess their previous content and see what could be improved. This primarily centred on readability and ensuring complex concepts were explained coherently, rather than being assumed. With decades of experience of copywriting for the public sector, we know the importance of keeping the audience in mind at all times.

Depending on the type of content and specific subject matter, we select the most suitable writer for each piece from our pool of trusted experts. To further enhance the quality of our deliverables, we deploy an additional copy-editing stage after copywriting. The copy editor is responsible for rewriting any unclear sections, providing in-text clarifications and emphasising key messages. This has the additional benefit of ensuring brand and tone consistency across pieces created by different writers. The clear, accessible content continues to deliver on the agreed goals and KPIs of the quality management plan, and we’ve become their go-to for copywriting requests.

Case Study 2: Copy-editing and proofreading support

In partnership with our sister company, The CCC, we work extensively in the sustainability sector to help charities and institutions improve the quality of their external communications. We recently partnered with an NGO to edit and proofread their in-depth report on climate insights, which was released in conjunction with the UN Climate Ambition Summit.

Stemming from our background as a reference publisher, our focus when editing and proofreading is always the same – details, details, details. Delivering grammatically accurate content is just one part of our comprehensive editorial process. We don’t just look at the words themselves, but the whole picture and what the client is trying to achieve. In this particular example, our team noticed several issues from an editorial accessibility perspective, including a lack of alternative text on graphics, formatting issues on tables and unclear hyperlink use.

With chapters written by different authors, this report required a heavy copy-edit to ensure consistency of terminology and style across the whole piece. We worked with the authors to ensure that they received an accurate, error-free report, retaining the key messages they were trying to get across. Our sustainability and science subject-matter experts were able to query potential factual errors and improve the accuracy of the report. It was such a success that the NGO has already booked us for their next report in 2024.

These are just a couple of examples of how we’ve helped NGOs and public sector bodies raise their game and improve their content. Get in touch to find out how we can help you.

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