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Lewis Garland 's Entries

12 blogs
  • 16 Oct 2019
    Most people who work in the charity sector do so because, in some way or another, they want to make the world a little better. For those of us involved in marketing, our role is to engage people with our cause and persuade them to take action (donating, volunteering, building barricades etc). So far,  so simple. The problem is that the actions we take in achieving our goals are not neutral – no action ever is. Indeed, in some cases our actions have negative repercussions that can outweigh the good they are intended to achieve. To state ‘actions have consequences’ is not exactly ground breaking.  However, in recent years numerous charity scandals have come about specifically because charity marketers and fundraisers have become so blindly goal-orientated that they have entirely neglected to take into account the consequences of their actions. While very few charities are involved in actively (or knowingly) unethical behaviours, all of us must think more carefully about the potential wider impact of our marketing strategy and output.   If we are serious when we use the phrase “what I love about what I do is the knowledge that I am making a positive difference”, then we need to be consistently weighing up whether our intended ends justify our means. Of course, this is not a simple question and will rarely have simple answers. For example, if a charity successfully persuades donors to give £2 per month by using imagery that perpetuates “white saviour” myths, is this justified? My immediate response would be that the wider negative impact of this type of campaign does not justify the use of this imagery.  However, the uncomfortable truth is that these images are emotionally potent and therefore highly effective when it comes to persuading people to donate.   Sadly, this means that marketers who choose not to use such imagery are often playing catch-up.  As are those who take the time to ensure their images have alt-text so they are accessible to visually impaired people. As are those who opt against using aggressive sales techniques. Striking a balance between hitting targets and maintaining an ethical marketing strategy comes with serious challenges.  The reality is that, taking a more ethical route will often be more time-consuming, more resource sapping and will require far more creativity. Given these challenges, it would be significantly easier for marketing professionals to take these risks if they have the support and understanding of their senior management and board. Indeed, in an ideal world, this approach should be adopted into the wider culture and values of the organisation as a whole. In some cases  achieving this support will be easier than others.  However, given the arguments, I believe that the majority of board members and senior managers will be receptive because ultimately they are (one hopes) in involved in the voluntary sector for exactly the same reason as you and I. For more on ethical marketing strategy: People Before Stories: Working With Beneficiaries' Narratives 3 tips for building an ethical fundraising strategy
    5160 Posted by Lewis Garland
  • Most people who work in the charity sector do so because, in some way or another, they want to make the world a little better. For those of us involved in marketing, our role is to engage people with our cause and persuade them to take action (donating, volunteering, building barricades etc). So far,  so simple. The problem is that the actions we take in achieving our goals are not neutral – no action ever is. Indeed, in some cases our actions have negative repercussions that can outweigh the good they are intended to achieve. To state ‘actions have consequences’ is not exactly ground breaking.  However, in recent years numerous charity scandals have come about specifically because charity marketers and fundraisers have become so blindly goal-orientated that they have entirely neglected to take into account the consequences of their actions. While very few charities are involved in actively (or knowingly) unethical behaviours, all of us must think more carefully about the potential wider impact of our marketing strategy and output.   If we are serious when we use the phrase “what I love about what I do is the knowledge that I am making a positive difference”, then we need to be consistently weighing up whether our intended ends justify our means. Of course, this is not a simple question and will rarely have simple answers. For example, if a charity successfully persuades donors to give £2 per month by using imagery that perpetuates “white saviour” myths, is this justified? My immediate response would be that the wider negative impact of this type of campaign does not justify the use of this imagery.  However, the uncomfortable truth is that these images are emotionally potent and therefore highly effective when it comes to persuading people to donate.   Sadly, this means that marketers who choose not to use such imagery are often playing catch-up.  As are those who take the time to ensure their images have alt-text so they are accessible to visually impaired people. As are those who opt against using aggressive sales techniques. Striking a balance between hitting targets and maintaining an ethical marketing strategy comes with serious challenges.  The reality is that, taking a more ethical route will often be more time-consuming, more resource sapping and will require far more creativity. Given these challenges, it would be significantly easier for marketing professionals to take these risks if they have the support and understanding of their senior management and board. Indeed, in an ideal world, this approach should be adopted into the wider culture and values of the organisation as a whole. In some cases  achieving this support will be easier than others.  However, given the arguments, I believe that the majority of board members and senior managers will be receptive because ultimately they are (one hopes) in involved in the voluntary sector for exactly the same reason as you and I. For more on ethical marketing strategy: People Before Stories: Working With Beneficiaries' Narratives 3 tips for building an ethical fundraising strategy
    Oct 16, 2019 5160
  • 09 Sep 2019
    The nights are drawing in, the leaves are colouring, the air is beginning to cool, children are yelling on their way to school, advisers are skulking in Westminster Hall, and it turns out your team’s big summer signing isn’t the new Messi after all. Autumn is officially here! Each season comes with its own set of fundraising opportunities. In this blog we highlight a few events for you to hang your fundraising hat on this Autumn. 22nd September (week of) - Harvest Festival This ancient festival (coinciding with the Harvest moon, the full moon closest to the autumn equinox) celebrates the end of the harvest season. Traditionally linked with charity, particularly sharing food, this is a great opportunity for poverty focussed charities and community groups to highlight their vital work. 27th October - Diwali Diwali, the 5 day Hindu festival of lights celebrates both Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and the triumph of good over evil (I’m sure we can find a fundraising angle there). This festival, celebrated by 1 billion people worldwide including Jains, Sikhs and Newar Buddhists as well as Hindus, gives ample opportunity for some South Asian themed fundraising fun – from food and fireworks nights to lantern making workshop. 31st October - Halloween  When the spirits rise with ghastly cries, and the maggots crawl from hollow eyes, and the hairy-legged spiders creep and the reaper comes to help you sleep… Halloween provides an excellent opportunity to hit those fundraising ghouls! This year the 31st is also (the latest) Brexit day - draw connections as you wish. Read our Halloween blog for some ideas to help you make a little money from the night of the macabre 2nd November - Day of the Dead Día de Muertos, a Mexican tradition celebrating departed ancestors, gets bigger and bigger each year here in the UK. Why not throw a Day of the Dead fundraising party – complete with  face-paints, sugar-skulls, decoration, libations, salsa rhythms and tasty tostadas? 5th November – Bonfire Night Remember, remember the 5th of November ...  Who doesn’t love wrapping up warm, writing your name (as if you write anything else) in the cool air with a sparkler, and watching the night sky come alive with colour? A stall selling hot food and drinks and marshmallow sticks would go down a treat! I hope these ideas give you some food for thought. Let us know about your group's autumn fundraising plans and, as ever, we’ll be happy to share your fundraising events and feats in our blog, newsletter and across our social media channels. 
    6666 Posted by Lewis Garland
  • The nights are drawing in, the leaves are colouring, the air is beginning to cool, children are yelling on their way to school, advisers are skulking in Westminster Hall, and it turns out your team’s big summer signing isn’t the new Messi after all. Autumn is officially here! Each season comes with its own set of fundraising opportunities. In this blog we highlight a few events for you to hang your fundraising hat on this Autumn. 22nd September (week of) - Harvest Festival This ancient festival (coinciding with the Harvest moon, the full moon closest to the autumn equinox) celebrates the end of the harvest season. Traditionally linked with charity, particularly sharing food, this is a great opportunity for poverty focussed charities and community groups to highlight their vital work. 27th October - Diwali Diwali, the 5 day Hindu festival of lights celebrates both Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and the triumph of good over evil (I’m sure we can find a fundraising angle there). This festival, celebrated by 1 billion people worldwide including Jains, Sikhs and Newar Buddhists as well as Hindus, gives ample opportunity for some South Asian themed fundraising fun – from food and fireworks nights to lantern making workshop. 31st October - Halloween  When the spirits rise with ghastly cries, and the maggots crawl from hollow eyes, and the hairy-legged spiders creep and the reaper comes to help you sleep… Halloween provides an excellent opportunity to hit those fundraising ghouls! This year the 31st is also (the latest) Brexit day - draw connections as you wish. Read our Halloween blog for some ideas to help you make a little money from the night of the macabre 2nd November - Day of the Dead Día de Muertos, a Mexican tradition celebrating departed ancestors, gets bigger and bigger each year here in the UK. Why not throw a Day of the Dead fundraising party – complete with  face-paints, sugar-skulls, decoration, libations, salsa rhythms and tasty tostadas? 5th November – Bonfire Night Remember, remember the 5th of November ...  Who doesn’t love wrapping up warm, writing your name (as if you write anything else) in the cool air with a sparkler, and watching the night sky come alive with colour? A stall selling hot food and drinks and marshmallow sticks would go down a treat! I hope these ideas give you some food for thought. Let us know about your group's autumn fundraising plans and, as ever, we’ll be happy to share your fundraising events and feats in our blog, newsletter and across our social media channels. 
    Sep 09, 2019 6666
  • 19 Aug 2019
    The best charity campaigns are often based on beneficiary narratives. The personal stories of those who have been affected by the issues we address or who have benefitted from our support can be moving, inspirational and add a sense of real urgency to a campaign. However, while these stories are elixir for us charity fundraisers and marketers, we must remember that they are loaned not owned. In many cases our beneficiaries are highly vulnerable people, be it asylum seekers awaiting a decision or young people who have recently escaped gang life. Ensuring the protection and wellbeing of those people who have lent us their stories should always be our priority. In this blog we look at some of the actions we can take to ensure that our beneficiaries and their stories are treated with the sensitivity and respect they deserve. People before stories: Always begin by considering the level of need and life situation of the people whose stories we are telling. However proud we are of what we have achieved, or however perfectly their story fits our campaign goals, if the individual is in a vulnerable situation, or a focus on their past could have any negative impact, we may want to reconsider using their story. Get (Informed) consent: People can only really be deemed to have consented if they fully understand what they are consenting to. We should ensure the people we are working with know how and where their stories and images will be used and that they are aware of any potential repercussions. Use their own words: Being given the opportunity to tell your story can be hugely empowering. However, by equal measure, losing control of one’s story can be damaging.We should try to give our beneficiaries the platforms and opportunity to tell their own story, in their own words.   Protect identities: We must think carefully about what measures should be taken to protect the identities of beneficiaries. Depending on the circumstances and vulnerability of the person we are working with, we may look at changing their names and voices or using actors or illustrative images. Stay positive: The same story can often be told in different ways. Charity campaigns too often paint their beneficiaries as passive victims who were in need of ‘saving’. While the whole point of most campaigns is to show our impact – this should not be done in a way that dismisses the agency of our beneficiaries. Remain media aware: If our beneficiaries are open to talking to the press is vital that we fully prepare them for interviews and that we accompany them if required. Moreover, we need to try to ensure that we only work with sympathetic, trusted journalists and media outlets. Whatever measures we put in place, there is always the potential to lose control of a story and we must be ready to react and provide all necessary support to our beneficiaries in these circumstances. While working with beneficiaries’ stories, of course, comes with challenges – this should not prevent us using them. Not only are real-life stories more engaging and persuasive than anything we could produce from our desks but, I would argue, the ‘nothing about us without us’ principle obliges us to put their stories at the centre of our work whenever we can. It is simply a matter of making this our mantra: people must always come before stories. For more marketing and fundraising tips and guides, why not visit our Resources Page.   
    2692 Posted by Lewis Garland
  • The best charity campaigns are often based on beneficiary narratives. The personal stories of those who have been affected by the issues we address or who have benefitted from our support can be moving, inspirational and add a sense of real urgency to a campaign. However, while these stories are elixir for us charity fundraisers and marketers, we must remember that they are loaned not owned. In many cases our beneficiaries are highly vulnerable people, be it asylum seekers awaiting a decision or young people who have recently escaped gang life. Ensuring the protection and wellbeing of those people who have lent us their stories should always be our priority. In this blog we look at some of the actions we can take to ensure that our beneficiaries and their stories are treated with the sensitivity and respect they deserve. People before stories: Always begin by considering the level of need and life situation of the people whose stories we are telling. However proud we are of what we have achieved, or however perfectly their story fits our campaign goals, if the individual is in a vulnerable situation, or a focus on their past could have any negative impact, we may want to reconsider using their story. Get (Informed) consent: People can only really be deemed to have consented if they fully understand what they are consenting to. We should ensure the people we are working with know how and where their stories and images will be used and that they are aware of any potential repercussions. Use their own words: Being given the opportunity to tell your story can be hugely empowering. However, by equal measure, losing control of one’s story can be damaging.We should try to give our beneficiaries the platforms and opportunity to tell their own story, in their own words.   Protect identities: We must think carefully about what measures should be taken to protect the identities of beneficiaries. Depending on the circumstances and vulnerability of the person we are working with, we may look at changing their names and voices or using actors or illustrative images. Stay positive: The same story can often be told in different ways. Charity campaigns too often paint their beneficiaries as passive victims who were in need of ‘saving’. While the whole point of most campaigns is to show our impact – this should not be done in a way that dismisses the agency of our beneficiaries. Remain media aware: If our beneficiaries are open to talking to the press is vital that we fully prepare them for interviews and that we accompany them if required. Moreover, we need to try to ensure that we only work with sympathetic, trusted journalists and media outlets. Whatever measures we put in place, there is always the potential to lose control of a story and we must be ready to react and provide all necessary support to our beneficiaries in these circumstances. While working with beneficiaries’ stories, of course, comes with challenges – this should not prevent us using them. Not only are real-life stories more engaging and persuasive than anything we could produce from our desks but, I would argue, the ‘nothing about us without us’ principle obliges us to put their stories at the centre of our work whenever we can. It is simply a matter of making this our mantra: people must always come before stories. For more marketing and fundraising tips and guides, why not visit our Resources Page.   
    Aug 19, 2019 2692
  • 27 Jun 2019
    One question that we are frequently asked is how to develop a marketing strategy. To start with, we should be clear that a marketing strategy and marketing plan are different, albeit overlapping, things. Their relationship is similar to that of your vision and mission. Your strategy is about identifying your overarching goals and the tactics you will use to achieve these. Your plan is about the execution of this strategy – the actions that you will take to reach your goals. With that said, here are our top-tips for helping you develop your charity’s marketing strategy: Define Your Goals The first thing you need to consider is what you are trying to achieve with your strategy. Think carefully about how your marketing strategy supports your charity’s mission and vision. Are you looking to increase donations, raise awareness of a cause or reach new beneficiaries? Without clearly defined goals you’re not going to be able to work out which marketing channels you should and shouldn’t be using. Identify Your Key Audiences The next thing to ask yourself is who you are trying to engage with your strategy. This will depend on your chosen goals. If your goal is to bring in major donors, you should probably reconsider a strategy geared towards teenagers in socially deprived areas. Tailor Your Messaging Marketing is essentially about relationship building. As individuals, we naturally speak to different people about different subject – often (subconsciously or not) altering our vocabulary accordingly. We have our our literature friends, our football mates, and our political comrades (ok, just me). This is the way we should approach our audiences. Different demographic groups have different interests and consume and engage with content in very different ways. The messaging, tactics and channels you use to reach and ignite the passions of young people in central London will almost certainly diverge from those you use to engage older people in rural Norfolk (Hey Mum). Play To Your Strengths The last few years have seen some incredible charity campaigns using ground-breaking in-game advertising and VR campaigning.  Sadly, if your marketing department is a one-person team with a sub £1k annual budget you may not be best placed to take advantage of these technologies. Your strategy should seek to make the most out of the resources, time and skills that your organisation has at its disposal. In simple terms, you should begin by focussing on what you are already good at. If you and your team have specialist Social Media skills make this the fulcrum of your strategy. If you are a great, persuasive copy-writer – you may choose to focus more on email and content marketing. Data Counts (but not all data counts equally) There is a whole range of data that you can use to measure the success of your strategy and inform your work. For example, most social media platforms have inbuilt analytics tools that enable you to track and compare your likes , shares, opens.click through rates etc. The important thing is to identify and track the data that most relates to your goals – key performance metrics if you will.  In most cases only a couple of metrics really matter. While it may be interesting to explore why your latest newsletter was opened 7 times in Bishkek, your click-through rate on your Call-to-Action button will almost always be more important (ignore this if your goal is to increase readers in Kyrgyzstan) Learn From Other Charities Take the time to explore what other charities (similar to your own in size and cause area) are doing and don’t be afraid to replicate or adapt their ideas. We don’t all need to be great innovators all of the time. Borrowing ideas that have already been proven to have success can save a lot of time and resources.     
    3703 Posted by Lewis Garland
  • One question that we are frequently asked is how to develop a marketing strategy. To start with, we should be clear that a marketing strategy and marketing plan are different, albeit overlapping, things. Their relationship is similar to that of your vision and mission. Your strategy is about identifying your overarching goals and the tactics you will use to achieve these. Your plan is about the execution of this strategy – the actions that you will take to reach your goals. With that said, here are our top-tips for helping you develop your charity’s marketing strategy: Define Your Goals The first thing you need to consider is what you are trying to achieve with your strategy. Think carefully about how your marketing strategy supports your charity’s mission and vision. Are you looking to increase donations, raise awareness of a cause or reach new beneficiaries? Without clearly defined goals you’re not going to be able to work out which marketing channels you should and shouldn’t be using. Identify Your Key Audiences The next thing to ask yourself is who you are trying to engage with your strategy. This will depend on your chosen goals. If your goal is to bring in major donors, you should probably reconsider a strategy geared towards teenagers in socially deprived areas. Tailor Your Messaging Marketing is essentially about relationship building. As individuals, we naturally speak to different people about different subject – often (subconsciously or not) altering our vocabulary accordingly. We have our our literature friends, our football mates, and our political comrades (ok, just me). This is the way we should approach our audiences. Different demographic groups have different interests and consume and engage with content in very different ways. The messaging, tactics and channels you use to reach and ignite the passions of young people in central London will almost certainly diverge from those you use to engage older people in rural Norfolk (Hey Mum). Play To Your Strengths The last few years have seen some incredible charity campaigns using ground-breaking in-game advertising and VR campaigning.  Sadly, if your marketing department is a one-person team with a sub £1k annual budget you may not be best placed to take advantage of these technologies. Your strategy should seek to make the most out of the resources, time and skills that your organisation has at its disposal. In simple terms, you should begin by focussing on what you are already good at. If you and your team have specialist Social Media skills make this the fulcrum of your strategy. If you are a great, persuasive copy-writer – you may choose to focus more on email and content marketing. Data Counts (but not all data counts equally) There is a whole range of data that you can use to measure the success of your strategy and inform your work. For example, most social media platforms have inbuilt analytics tools that enable you to track and compare your likes , shares, opens.click through rates etc. The important thing is to identify and track the data that most relates to your goals – key performance metrics if you will.  In most cases only a couple of metrics really matter. While it may be interesting to explore why your latest newsletter was opened 7 times in Bishkek, your click-through rate on your Call-to-Action button will almost always be more important (ignore this if your goal is to increase readers in Kyrgyzstan) Learn From Other Charities Take the time to explore what other charities (similar to your own in size and cause area) are doing and don’t be afraid to replicate or adapt their ideas. We don’t all need to be great innovators all of the time. Borrowing ideas that have already been proven to have success can save a lot of time and resources.     
    Jun 27, 2019 3703
  • 23 Oct 2018
    When the spirits rise with ghastly cries, and the maggots crawl from hollow eyes, and the hairy-legged spiders creep and the reaper comes to help you sleep… Halloween is nearly here, but have not fear!  With a little creativity, this can be an excellent fundraising opportunity for your charity or cause. Here are a few ideas to help you make a little money from the night of the macabre!   Hold a creepy costume contest One of the most fun parts of Halloween is the dressing up. Why not ask your supporters to make a small donation to take part in a fancy dress competition or even put on a frightening fashion show? Run a spooky walk in your neighbourhood Every neighbourhood has its haunted houses, rumours of people coming to ghastly ends and lost spirits that still roam the alleys in the dead of night. Run a midnight walk and see if you can raise the dead (or at least raise some funds)? Make your home a haunted house If you’ve got the space, why not convert your home or office into a haunted house. This is a chance to be really creative –cobwebs on the bannisters, skeletons in the closet, fog machines and pumpkin lined walkways. You could even ask people to dress up and jump out at your visitors to give them that extra adrenaline rush! Bake some terrifying treats With a bit of thought, a Halloween themed meal (spicy (be)-devilled potatoes anyone) or creepy cupcake sale will go down a storm.  If you’re feeling really mean you could even add a trick to some of your treats with a pinch of chilli or wasabi! Pumpkin carving competition  We’ve all marvelled at our neighbour’s beautifully carved porch pumpkins. Well, why not make a little cash from their talent! Ask your friends, neighbours and colleagues to take part in a pumpkin carving competition. Ask for a small donation to enter or for people to view the edible exhibit! Here at Localgiving we're always keen to learn about your fundraising actitivities and ideas. Please send us your Halloween images, tweets and posts and we'll be happy to share them - hopefully helping you to hit your fundraising GHOULS!!!  
    3866 Posted by Lewis Garland
  • When the spirits rise with ghastly cries, and the maggots crawl from hollow eyes, and the hairy-legged spiders creep and the reaper comes to help you sleep… Halloween is nearly here, but have not fear!  With a little creativity, this can be an excellent fundraising opportunity for your charity or cause. Here are a few ideas to help you make a little money from the night of the macabre!   Hold a creepy costume contest One of the most fun parts of Halloween is the dressing up. Why not ask your supporters to make a small donation to take part in a fancy dress competition or even put on a frightening fashion show? Run a spooky walk in your neighbourhood Every neighbourhood has its haunted houses, rumours of people coming to ghastly ends and lost spirits that still roam the alleys in the dead of night. Run a midnight walk and see if you can raise the dead (or at least raise some funds)? Make your home a haunted house If you’ve got the space, why not convert your home or office into a haunted house. This is a chance to be really creative –cobwebs on the bannisters, skeletons in the closet, fog machines and pumpkin lined walkways. You could even ask people to dress up and jump out at your visitors to give them that extra adrenaline rush! Bake some terrifying treats With a bit of thought, a Halloween themed meal (spicy (be)-devilled potatoes anyone) or creepy cupcake sale will go down a storm.  If you’re feeling really mean you could even add a trick to some of your treats with a pinch of chilli or wasabi! Pumpkin carving competition  We’ve all marvelled at our neighbour’s beautifully carved porch pumpkins. Well, why not make a little cash from their talent! Ask your friends, neighbours and colleagues to take part in a pumpkin carving competition. Ask for a small donation to enter or for people to view the edible exhibit! Here at Localgiving we're always keen to learn about your fundraising actitivities and ideas. Please send us your Halloween images, tweets and posts and we'll be happy to share them - hopefully helping you to hit your fundraising GHOULS!!!  
    Oct 23, 2018 3866
  • 16 Oct 2018
    Your charity does amazing things. You know this, we know this – but do your potential donors or volunteers know this? While it is true that we live in an increasingly visual world, it is important not to underestimate the enduring power of persuasive writing. It (literally) pays to spend time on crafting your copy. Your browser does not support the video tag. In this blog I give six essential copywriting tips to help you raise awareness and bring in funding for your cause. Know your audience Before you put digit to key, the most important question should always be ‘who am I writing for and why?’ We all care about different causes. In most cases our interests are dictated by our characteristics and life experiences. Think carefully about what demographic you are writing for and how best to engage, gain the trust and motivate this audience. Harness the power of human stories Mastering the art of emotional engagement is vital for any copywriter, none more so than for those of us working with and for charities. One of the most effective ways to do this is through focussing on human stories.  Try to find a simple, memorable story that encapsulates the work that your organisation does and the impact it makes (to a charity marketer this should be the holy grail). Whenever possible, try to include direct quotes from your beneficiaries or clients. This not only makes your copy more emotionally engaging but also helps to build trust with your audience. Choose your stats wisely While an excessive use of numbers may be a turn-off, carefully chosen and positioned statistics can both hook readers in and motivate them to act. Statistics can be used both to show your charity fully understands an issue and to succinctly convey the impact of your own work.   Keep it simple When we are passionate about a cause, it is tempting to tell people everything about the need for our work and the impact we make.  Equally, for lovers of words, it may be frustrating to be told to tone down your language. However, with attention getting shorter, complex arguments and florid prose are better kept for elsewhere. Ask yourself what your reader really needs to know and be ruthless with the rest. Spend time on your subject line We’ve all done it. Worked for hours honing our perfect piece of copy and then quickly cobbled together a subject line or title. However, as the tabloids have proven year on year out, a bold, controversial or catchy headline can make a huge difference. Infact, this is why professional headline writers exist! A good starting point when writing title or headline is to follow the ‘4 R’s’: Urgent, Unique, Useful, and Ultra-specific. Time and tailor your ask Think of each paragraph you write as part of your reader’s  journey, a journey that leads to your call to action. Charities too often describe their groups’ activities and then tag on a quick, loosely related call-to-action at the end. If we want people to donate, volunteer their time, or share our message, you need to consider when the most effective time will be to ask for their support (i.e. at what point your reader will be most motivated to act). Sometimes, this may be at the start to instill a sense of urgency; other times it will come towards the end after having made a robust argument for your cause. And remember, the call-to-action itself should be as  simple, persuasive and specific as possible. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Writing great copy will always be as much about magic as maths. However, following these six tips will go a long way to helping you attract the supporters, donors or fundraisers you need!    Was this blog helpful? Why not check out the following blogs too: 5 of the best free design tools to help your charity shine 3 Charities To Have On Your Radar For Social Media Inspiration
    6911 Posted by Lewis Garland
  • Your charity does amazing things. You know this, we know this – but do your potential donors or volunteers know this? While it is true that we live in an increasingly visual world, it is important not to underestimate the enduring power of persuasive writing. It (literally) pays to spend time on crafting your copy. Your browser does not support the video tag. In this blog I give six essential copywriting tips to help you raise awareness and bring in funding for your cause. Know your audience Before you put digit to key, the most important question should always be ‘who am I writing for and why?’ We all care about different causes. In most cases our interests are dictated by our characteristics and life experiences. Think carefully about what demographic you are writing for and how best to engage, gain the trust and motivate this audience. Harness the power of human stories Mastering the art of emotional engagement is vital for any copywriter, none more so than for those of us working with and for charities. One of the most effective ways to do this is through focussing on human stories.  Try to find a simple, memorable story that encapsulates the work that your organisation does and the impact it makes (to a charity marketer this should be the holy grail). Whenever possible, try to include direct quotes from your beneficiaries or clients. This not only makes your copy more emotionally engaging but also helps to build trust with your audience. Choose your stats wisely While an excessive use of numbers may be a turn-off, carefully chosen and positioned statistics can both hook readers in and motivate them to act. Statistics can be used both to show your charity fully understands an issue and to succinctly convey the impact of your own work.   Keep it simple When we are passionate about a cause, it is tempting to tell people everything about the need for our work and the impact we make.  Equally, for lovers of words, it may be frustrating to be told to tone down your language. However, with attention getting shorter, complex arguments and florid prose are better kept for elsewhere. Ask yourself what your reader really needs to know and be ruthless with the rest. Spend time on your subject line We’ve all done it. Worked for hours honing our perfect piece of copy and then quickly cobbled together a subject line or title. However, as the tabloids have proven year on year out, a bold, controversial or catchy headline can make a huge difference. Infact, this is why professional headline writers exist! A good starting point when writing title or headline is to follow the ‘4 R’s’: Urgent, Unique, Useful, and Ultra-specific. Time and tailor your ask Think of each paragraph you write as part of your reader’s  journey, a journey that leads to your call to action. Charities too often describe their groups’ activities and then tag on a quick, loosely related call-to-action at the end. If we want people to donate, volunteer their time, or share our message, you need to consider when the most effective time will be to ask for their support (i.e. at what point your reader will be most motivated to act). Sometimes, this may be at the start to instill a sense of urgency; other times it will come towards the end after having made a robust argument for your cause. And remember, the call-to-action itself should be as  simple, persuasive and specific as possible. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Writing great copy will always be as much about magic as maths. However, following these six tips will go a long way to helping you attract the supporters, donors or fundraisers you need!    Was this blog helpful? Why not check out the following blogs too: 5 of the best free design tools to help your charity shine 3 Charities To Have On Your Radar For Social Media Inspiration
    Oct 16, 2018 6911
  • 17 Sep 2018
    Few would deny that Adobe still lead the way in all things graphic design. Unfortunately, Adobe products (Illustrator, indesign, Photoshop etc) are prohibitively expensive for many people, including most small, local charities. Furthermore, not all of us require the vast array of functions offered by adobe programs. Luckily, there are some fantastic free alternatives out there for those of us who want to produce professional looking designs but are a little short on time, resources and/or design skills. Here are five few of our current favourites: Canva Canva is a simple, intuitive graphic design tool. It is excellent for creating professional looking designs for all sorts of content –from presentations, to social media posts. Canva offers a straight forward drag-and drop- interface, with a huge resource library of templates and images. This makes it the perfect starting point for those without much design experience, or who are short on time.   GIMP GIMP is one of the most sophisticated free tools for visual artists. Many argue that this open-source software offers capabilities that rival those offered by Adobe software. GIMP has an abundance of tools from colour correction to cloning, enabling  you to create refined, professional designs  for any design project. However, it can take considerable time to learn and s not the most suitable tool for those wanting simple, quick designs.   Gravit Designer Gravit designer is an  ideal halfway house between Canva and Gimp.  Gravit offers far more flexibility and opportunities for customisation than Canva but without the incredible (but somewhat intimidating) array of options offered by GIMP.     Piktochart Piktochart allows you to make engaging, interactive infographics in no time.  Infographics are an incredibly powerful tool for engaging your audience and data sharing. Piktochart requires no previous design skills and has a good range of free templates and library of icons.   Pablo Pablo is perfect for those looking to create quick, instantly shareable social media content. Its beauty lies in its simplicity – visual content can be created and posted on your social media channels in just a couple of minutes.   There are plenty of other free design tools that your charity or community  group may benefit from -  please do share these with us!
    4107 Posted by Lewis Garland
  • Few would deny that Adobe still lead the way in all things graphic design. Unfortunately, Adobe products (Illustrator, indesign, Photoshop etc) are prohibitively expensive for many people, including most small, local charities. Furthermore, not all of us require the vast array of functions offered by adobe programs. Luckily, there are some fantastic free alternatives out there for those of us who want to produce professional looking designs but are a little short on time, resources and/or design skills. Here are five few of our current favourites: Canva Canva is a simple, intuitive graphic design tool. It is excellent for creating professional looking designs for all sorts of content –from presentations, to social media posts. Canva offers a straight forward drag-and drop- interface, with a huge resource library of templates and images. This makes it the perfect starting point for those without much design experience, or who are short on time.   GIMP GIMP is one of the most sophisticated free tools for visual artists. Many argue that this open-source software offers capabilities that rival those offered by Adobe software. GIMP has an abundance of tools from colour correction to cloning, enabling  you to create refined, professional designs  for any design project. However, it can take considerable time to learn and s not the most suitable tool for those wanting simple, quick designs.   Gravit Designer Gravit designer is an  ideal halfway house between Canva and Gimp.  Gravit offers far more flexibility and opportunities for customisation than Canva but without the incredible (but somewhat intimidating) array of options offered by GIMP.     Piktochart Piktochart allows you to make engaging, interactive infographics in no time.  Infographics are an incredibly powerful tool for engaging your audience and data sharing. Piktochart requires no previous design skills and has a good range of free templates and library of icons.   Pablo Pablo is perfect for those looking to create quick, instantly shareable social media content. Its beauty lies in its simplicity – visual content can be created and posted on your social media channels in just a couple of minutes.   There are plenty of other free design tools that your charity or community  group may benefit from -  please do share these with us!
    Sep 17, 2018 4107
  • 20 Jun 2018
    Do the three lions have you purring with pride or are you primed for a month of watching paint dry?  Either way, football will be dominating the headlines until mid-July and your charity or community group should be making the most of the opportunities it brings. Whether you are looking to highlight serious human rights issues or simply making the most of the energy in the air – it’s worth taking the time to think about how the World Cup can be tied in with your cause or fundraising effort. 1) The sad reality is that many of the countries at this year’s World Cup suffer from serious human rights issues. For example, this year’s host, Russia, has seen as escalation in racism, homophobia and a crackdown on press freedoms in recent years. Leading human right groups have expressed fears that President Putin will use the World Cup to ‘sportswash’ Russia's image. The World Cup is a chance to show these issues the red card. Just a few social media posts can help bring these issues to the fore and encourage people in your community to get involved.  2) Every time there is a major sporting event there is a brief period in which we see a surge of kids out into the parks and playgrounds emulating their heroes.  Grassroots sports clubs should do their best to harness this energy and get these kids involved with their work long term. Why not set up a screening of a match, a mini world cup or penalty shoot out at your club and use it to distribute  information about your club, recruit new players or fundraise? 3) With a little thought, any charity or community group can find a way of using the World cup to promote their cause or help hit their fundraising goals. Whether you arrange a charity lunch of 'World Cup cuisines' or a 'wear your kit or colours' day – there are no end of possible ways you can turn this month’s football fever into a fundraising frenzy. We look forward to seeing the amazing ideas that your group come up with! When promoting your campaign or event on social media, remember to use one of the World Cup's official hastags ( #WorldCup, #Russia2018, #CM2018 or #Copa2018) and also include a hashtag relevent to your local area such as the name of your nearest city or town.  
    2928 Posted by Lewis Garland
  • Do the three lions have you purring with pride or are you primed for a month of watching paint dry?  Either way, football will be dominating the headlines until mid-July and your charity or community group should be making the most of the opportunities it brings. Whether you are looking to highlight serious human rights issues or simply making the most of the energy in the air – it’s worth taking the time to think about how the World Cup can be tied in with your cause or fundraising effort. 1) The sad reality is that many of the countries at this year’s World Cup suffer from serious human rights issues. For example, this year’s host, Russia, has seen as escalation in racism, homophobia and a crackdown on press freedoms in recent years. Leading human right groups have expressed fears that President Putin will use the World Cup to ‘sportswash’ Russia's image. The World Cup is a chance to show these issues the red card. Just a few social media posts can help bring these issues to the fore and encourage people in your community to get involved.  2) Every time there is a major sporting event there is a brief period in which we see a surge of kids out into the parks and playgrounds emulating their heroes.  Grassroots sports clubs should do their best to harness this energy and get these kids involved with their work long term. Why not set up a screening of a match, a mini world cup or penalty shoot out at your club and use it to distribute  information about your club, recruit new players or fundraise? 3) With a little thought, any charity or community group can find a way of using the World cup to promote their cause or help hit their fundraising goals. Whether you arrange a charity lunch of 'World Cup cuisines' or a 'wear your kit or colours' day – there are no end of possible ways you can turn this month’s football fever into a fundraising frenzy. We look forward to seeing the amazing ideas that your group come up with! When promoting your campaign or event on social media, remember to use one of the World Cup's official hastags ( #WorldCup, #Russia2018, #CM2018 or #Copa2018) and also include a hashtag relevent to your local area such as the name of your nearest city or town.  
    Jun 20, 2018 2928
  • 07 Dec 2016
    The local voluntary sector consists of thousands of groups with widely varying causes, missions and activities. Local Charities day, taking place on December 16th, will celebrate these amazing groups and draw attention to some of the challenges they are facing.  In this blog we look at what makes the UK’s local voluntary sector so unique and valuable - exploring the characteristics they share and the vital, yet too often overlooked, services that they provide to their communities. In 2015 we produced our first Local charity and community group sustainability Report. In this report we identified a number of characteristics that make the sector so special.   1) Knowledge of local needs Many Local charities are formed as a direct result of a specific local need or cause; be it saving a community centre, conserving a local place of interest etc.  These causes rarely fall into the remit of larger national or international charities as therefore, without these charities such issues would often go unaddressed entirely. A good example of this charity type is Downham Market & District Heritage Society - a group that exists to conserve and display objects, photographs and documents relating to Downham Market and the surrounding village Other local charities address wider societal issues (homelessness, disability advice, refugee support, LGBTQ  issues). These groups have a strong crossover with the work of well know national charities and groups. However, in most cases this crossover is complementary.  While more heavily resourced national or international groups excel at wide scale campaigning, infrastructural support etc, the value of grassroots groups lies in their acute knowledge of how these wider issues play out at a local level and how they are best addressed. HERe NI work to combat social exclusion and discrimination among the LGBT+ community in Northern Ireland.  Their acute knowledge of the specific issues facing LGBT+ women in Northern Ireland enable them to provide personalised support and bespoke awarenss raising. 2) Strong Trusting Relationships As well as understanding the needs of their community, the fact that local groups are often deeply embeddedness in their local community enables them to foster strong trusting relationships with their beneficiaries.  The value of these relationships, though difficult to quantify, cannot be underestimated. One clear benefit to these close relationships is that it enables these groups to access harder to reach parts of their community. Another advantage is that people often feel a strong attachment, even sense of ownership over local groups. Many local charities are not simply service providers but a key element of the fabric and character of their communities. These informal community bonds would be impossible to replicate.  However, the difference they make to the quality of service provided by groups and the resulting benefit to their service users can be huge. 3) Flexibility and reaction time Local charities and small charities should not be treated as synonymous – for example many hospices have a local or regional remit but have medium to large turnover.  However, given that 95% of local charities have an annual income of under £1 Million there is a strong crossover. One of the benefits of being small is that these groups are often far less bureaucratic and, as a consequence, more flexible and able to react  quickly. When coupled with local charities’ acute knowledge or their local demographics and resources, this often means that local groups are able to provide support quicker, more targeted support than larger, national counterparts. One example is the Community Foundation for Calderdale’s Boxing Day 2015 Flood appeal. On Boxing Day 2016 Storm Eva caused the River Calder to burst it's banks devastating businesses and homes across Calderdale. CFFC Immediately responded – launching a fundraising appeal that received national attention. Of course,  there are numerous other reasons why the local voluntary  sector is so valuable. This is a sector that continues to amaze us with its resourcefulness, passion and innovation. On Local Charities Day (16th December) make it your mission to find a charity near you and see what you can do to support their cause.   Also keep your eyes open for our 2016 Local Charity and Community Report released on the day.  Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    The Power of Storytelling: Six Top Tips by Mike Zywina   Storytelling Tips for Charities by Becky Slack  5 free tools to share your organisation's story by Nisha Kotecha   
    5416 Posted by Lewis Garland
  • The local voluntary sector consists of thousands of groups with widely varying causes, missions and activities. Local Charities day, taking place on December 16th, will celebrate these amazing groups and draw attention to some of the challenges they are facing.  In this blog we look at what makes the UK’s local voluntary sector so unique and valuable - exploring the characteristics they share and the vital, yet too often overlooked, services that they provide to their communities. In 2015 we produced our first Local charity and community group sustainability Report. In this report we identified a number of characteristics that make the sector so special.   1) Knowledge of local needs Many Local charities are formed as a direct result of a specific local need or cause; be it saving a community centre, conserving a local place of interest etc.  These causes rarely fall into the remit of larger national or international charities as therefore, without these charities such issues would often go unaddressed entirely. A good example of this charity type is Downham Market & District Heritage Society - a group that exists to conserve and display objects, photographs and documents relating to Downham Market and the surrounding village Other local charities address wider societal issues (homelessness, disability advice, refugee support, LGBTQ  issues). These groups have a strong crossover with the work of well know national charities and groups. However, in most cases this crossover is complementary.  While more heavily resourced national or international groups excel at wide scale campaigning, infrastructural support etc, the value of grassroots groups lies in their acute knowledge of how these wider issues play out at a local level and how they are best addressed. HERe NI work to combat social exclusion and discrimination among the LGBT+ community in Northern Ireland.  Their acute knowledge of the specific issues facing LGBT+ women in Northern Ireland enable them to provide personalised support and bespoke awarenss raising. 2) Strong Trusting Relationships As well as understanding the needs of their community, the fact that local groups are often deeply embeddedness in their local community enables them to foster strong trusting relationships with their beneficiaries.  The value of these relationships, though difficult to quantify, cannot be underestimated. One clear benefit to these close relationships is that it enables these groups to access harder to reach parts of their community. Another advantage is that people often feel a strong attachment, even sense of ownership over local groups. Many local charities are not simply service providers but a key element of the fabric and character of their communities. These informal community bonds would be impossible to replicate.  However, the difference they make to the quality of service provided by groups and the resulting benefit to their service users can be huge. 3) Flexibility and reaction time Local charities and small charities should not be treated as synonymous – for example many hospices have a local or regional remit but have medium to large turnover.  However, given that 95% of local charities have an annual income of under £1 Million there is a strong crossover. One of the benefits of being small is that these groups are often far less bureaucratic and, as a consequence, more flexible and able to react  quickly. When coupled with local charities’ acute knowledge or their local demographics and resources, this often means that local groups are able to provide support quicker, more targeted support than larger, national counterparts. One example is the Community Foundation for Calderdale’s Boxing Day 2015 Flood appeal. On Boxing Day 2016 Storm Eva caused the River Calder to burst it's banks devastating businesses and homes across Calderdale. CFFC Immediately responded – launching a fundraising appeal that received national attention. Of course,  there are numerous other reasons why the local voluntary  sector is so valuable. This is a sector that continues to amaze us with its resourcefulness, passion and innovation. On Local Charities Day (16th December) make it your mission to find a charity near you and see what you can do to support their cause.   Also keep your eyes open for our 2016 Local Charity and Community Report released on the day.  Found this blog post useful? You may also like:    The Power of Storytelling: Six Top Tips by Mike Zywina   Storytelling Tips for Charities by Becky Slack  5 free tools to share your organisation's story by Nisha Kotecha   
    Dec 07, 2016 5416
  • 27 Jan 2016
    On Monday last week, Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson MP was warmly welcomed as a volunteer by local Berkshire charity, Dingley Family and Specialist Early Years Centres. Mr Wilson MP, eager to gain hands on experience with a charity in his constituency of Reading East, contacted Localgiving last week to help him identify a group to work with. Longtime Localgiving member, Dingley Family and Specialist Early Years Centres, sprang to mind immediately. Dingley provides a unique space where young children with disabilities can go to develop skills through play. Parents and carers are also welcomed, providing a place to make friends, share experiences and gain valuable respite. Since joining Localgiving in 2011, Dingley has consistently inspired us with the life-changing impact it delivers to beneficiaries. Where better for Mr Wilson to learn more about the vital work that local charities and community groups do? Mr Wilson spent the morning of Monday 18th January with the staff and children of The Dingley Centre in Reading, taking part in ‘Learning Through Play’ sessions. Working in close partnership with other education and health care professionals, Dingley Family and Specialist Early Years Centres provide regular therapy sessions, as well as training and support for parents and carers. Throughout the morning, Mr Wilson MP was given the opportunity to see the benefits of the therapies on offer for children. He was even lucky enough to make some new young friends in the process! Two children shared their toys and interacted happily with him. Working alongside his mentor, Kathryn Mitchell, he motivated and guided a child to communicate with others through the exchange of a photograph to indicate what the child wanted to do. Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson MP, said: “It was a real pleasure to be able to volunteer at Dingley Family Centre today. The charity provides fantastic support to children and families across Reading and I hope that my morning of volunteering was helpful to them. I encourage everyone to dedicate some time to volunteering so that great causes like this can continue to help those who need it” Catherine McLeod MBE, CEO of Dingley Family & Specialist Early Years Centres, was equally enthusiastic about the visit, commenting that: “It was great to see our local MP taking the time to volunteer in a local charity, learning about the demands and joys of working in our sector. It has been a testing time for many charities, and so we were delighted to be chosen to host the Minister for Civil Society…Mr Wilson had the chance to interact with children and families, which will give him a valuable insight into some of the challenges that they face on a daily basis, and why the contribution of the local voluntary sector is so important.” Localgiving is delighted that the Minister for Civil Society has taken the opportunity to visit one of our member groups and is glad he enjoyed his experience with Dingley Family and Specialist Early Years Centres. We believe that through volunteering, MPs can gain a real understanding of the essential work carried out by local charities and community groups in their constituency every day.      
    2531 Posted by Lewis Garland
  • On Monday last week, Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson MP was warmly welcomed as a volunteer by local Berkshire charity, Dingley Family and Specialist Early Years Centres. Mr Wilson MP, eager to gain hands on experience with a charity in his constituency of Reading East, contacted Localgiving last week to help him identify a group to work with. Longtime Localgiving member, Dingley Family and Specialist Early Years Centres, sprang to mind immediately. Dingley provides a unique space where young children with disabilities can go to develop skills through play. Parents and carers are also welcomed, providing a place to make friends, share experiences and gain valuable respite. Since joining Localgiving in 2011, Dingley has consistently inspired us with the life-changing impact it delivers to beneficiaries. Where better for Mr Wilson to learn more about the vital work that local charities and community groups do? Mr Wilson spent the morning of Monday 18th January with the staff and children of The Dingley Centre in Reading, taking part in ‘Learning Through Play’ sessions. Working in close partnership with other education and health care professionals, Dingley Family and Specialist Early Years Centres provide regular therapy sessions, as well as training and support for parents and carers. Throughout the morning, Mr Wilson MP was given the opportunity to see the benefits of the therapies on offer for children. He was even lucky enough to make some new young friends in the process! Two children shared their toys and interacted happily with him. Working alongside his mentor, Kathryn Mitchell, he motivated and guided a child to communicate with others through the exchange of a photograph to indicate what the child wanted to do. Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson MP, said: “It was a real pleasure to be able to volunteer at Dingley Family Centre today. The charity provides fantastic support to children and families across Reading and I hope that my morning of volunteering was helpful to them. I encourage everyone to dedicate some time to volunteering so that great causes like this can continue to help those who need it” Catherine McLeod MBE, CEO of Dingley Family & Specialist Early Years Centres, was equally enthusiastic about the visit, commenting that: “It was great to see our local MP taking the time to volunteer in a local charity, learning about the demands and joys of working in our sector. It has been a testing time for many charities, and so we were delighted to be chosen to host the Minister for Civil Society…Mr Wilson had the chance to interact with children and families, which will give him a valuable insight into some of the challenges that they face on a daily basis, and why the contribution of the local voluntary sector is so important.” Localgiving is delighted that the Minister for Civil Society has taken the opportunity to visit one of our member groups and is glad he enjoyed his experience with Dingley Family and Specialist Early Years Centres. We believe that through volunteering, MPs can gain a real understanding of the essential work carried out by local charities and community groups in their constituency every day.      
    Jan 27, 2016 2531