View By Date

Tags

Statistics

  • 299
    Blogs
  • 105
    Active Bloggers
118 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
  • 08 Oct 2019
    Let me set the scene: We are in Israel, around 3,000 years ago, and a fight is about to go down between the Philistine’s mightiest warrior, Goliath and an unknown shepherd named David. Standing at 9 feet and 6 inches tall, covered head to toe in heavy bronze plates and carrying a sword the size of his opponent, Goliath is a thing of nightmares. In comparison, David is small and slight, wears no armour and is carrying just a few pebbles and a slingshot. The Israelite bookies aren’t anticipating an upset here, and the crowd are clamouring in the heat.  For the 80% of UK charities who generate under £100,000 in revenue each year, the charity landscape is beginning to feel as dangerous as that dusty battlefield. Weakened by decreasing funds, increased demand for services, volatile public trust and growing competition, these organisations have their work cut out. More than one in four Chief Executives of smaller charities feel strongly that they are ‘struggling to survive’. Despite making up 80% of the charity sector, these organisations bring in just 3% of total income. Let’s call these guys David’s. You can see where I’m going with this… On to the competition. Who are our metaphorical David’s up against? Well, they aren’t mighty in numbers - the charity sector’s Goliath is made up of a mere 1% of a total 168,000 registered UK charities. However, just like the Philistine warrior himself, they are enormous. That 1% generates a whopping 72% of total income to the sector. As you likely know, the fight does provide the Israeli crowds with an upset. David; the crowd behind him, more agile, and armed with different tactics, fells his opponent. So how can smaller charities learn from David’s success and continue to survive in an arena of Goliaths? Get your ‘crowd’ involved More than half of small charities income comes from individual donations. This means our David’s have a strong connection with their donor-base and can communicate with a personal touch. Goliath’s can find this trust very difficult to replicate. In one poll nearly half of the respondents said they trusted small community-based charities, whereas just 29% said they trusted national charities. This directly correlates with giving. The same proportion of people who trusted smaller charities were likely to donate to them, however only 17% said they were likely to donate to national organisations. Use your agility to your advantage David is small and nimble. Goliath, weighed down by his heavy armour and his size, moves as if coated in molasses. How can this same agility serve a charity’s mission? Well, put simply, a smaller charity equals a smaller team, and therefore a flatter hierarchy. Use this to your advantage, take bold, creative decisions to your board of trustees. In a world in which technology is fuelling growth, promise and incredible opportunity, the pace of organisational change is vital. Introduce new tactics Ultimately, David won the battle because he stunned Goliath with a new method of combat: his slingshot. The new method of combat for smaller charities? Technology. Technology has levelled the playing field across all sectors, and the charity world is no different. In fact, Goliath’s are more likely to cite ‘new technology’ as one of their top challenges in comparison to David’s. New tools on social media such as the donate sticker on Instagram is making it easier than ever before for charities to reach individual supporters. Plus, free services are available from other industry Goliaths, such as Google For Non-Profits. Contactless charity donation boxes allow charities to maximise their fundraising on the ground by tapping into a whole new donor base who just don’t carry cash anymore. Through this methodology, my very own ‘David’ TAP London, has raised over £100,000 from over 35,000 Londoners. So, to all the David’s out there. Don’t lose faith. Be personal, agile and most importantly – embrace new technologies. Polly Gilbert is the Marketing Director at GoodBox, a tech-for-good company which helps charities of all sizes better connect donors with charitable causes. She is also the co-founder of TAP London, a ‘David’ raising vital funds for London’s homeless.
    4280 Posted by Polly Gilbert
  • Let me set the scene: We are in Israel, around 3,000 years ago, and a fight is about to go down between the Philistine’s mightiest warrior, Goliath and an unknown shepherd named David. Standing at 9 feet and 6 inches tall, covered head to toe in heavy bronze plates and carrying a sword the size of his opponent, Goliath is a thing of nightmares. In comparison, David is small and slight, wears no armour and is carrying just a few pebbles and a slingshot. The Israelite bookies aren’t anticipating an upset here, and the crowd are clamouring in the heat.  For the 80% of UK charities who generate under £100,000 in revenue each year, the charity landscape is beginning to feel as dangerous as that dusty battlefield. Weakened by decreasing funds, increased demand for services, volatile public trust and growing competition, these organisations have their work cut out. More than one in four Chief Executives of smaller charities feel strongly that they are ‘struggling to survive’. Despite making up 80% of the charity sector, these organisations bring in just 3% of total income. Let’s call these guys David’s. You can see where I’m going with this… On to the competition. Who are our metaphorical David’s up against? Well, they aren’t mighty in numbers - the charity sector’s Goliath is made up of a mere 1% of a total 168,000 registered UK charities. However, just like the Philistine warrior himself, they are enormous. That 1% generates a whopping 72% of total income to the sector. As you likely know, the fight does provide the Israeli crowds with an upset. David; the crowd behind him, more agile, and armed with different tactics, fells his opponent. So how can smaller charities learn from David’s success and continue to survive in an arena of Goliaths? Get your ‘crowd’ involved More than half of small charities income comes from individual donations. This means our David’s have a strong connection with their donor-base and can communicate with a personal touch. Goliath’s can find this trust very difficult to replicate. In one poll nearly half of the respondents said they trusted small community-based charities, whereas just 29% said they trusted national charities. This directly correlates with giving. The same proportion of people who trusted smaller charities were likely to donate to them, however only 17% said they were likely to donate to national organisations. Use your agility to your advantage David is small and nimble. Goliath, weighed down by his heavy armour and his size, moves as if coated in molasses. How can this same agility serve a charity’s mission? Well, put simply, a smaller charity equals a smaller team, and therefore a flatter hierarchy. Use this to your advantage, take bold, creative decisions to your board of trustees. In a world in which technology is fuelling growth, promise and incredible opportunity, the pace of organisational change is vital. Introduce new tactics Ultimately, David won the battle because he stunned Goliath with a new method of combat: his slingshot. The new method of combat for smaller charities? Technology. Technology has levelled the playing field across all sectors, and the charity world is no different. In fact, Goliath’s are more likely to cite ‘new technology’ as one of their top challenges in comparison to David’s. New tools on social media such as the donate sticker on Instagram is making it easier than ever before for charities to reach individual supporters. Plus, free services are available from other industry Goliaths, such as Google For Non-Profits. Contactless charity donation boxes allow charities to maximise their fundraising on the ground by tapping into a whole new donor base who just don’t carry cash anymore. Through this methodology, my very own ‘David’ TAP London, has raised over £100,000 from over 35,000 Londoners. So, to all the David’s out there. Don’t lose faith. Be personal, agile and most importantly – embrace new technologies. Polly Gilbert is the Marketing Director at GoodBox, a tech-for-good company which helps charities of all sizes better connect donors with charitable causes. She is also the co-founder of TAP London, a ‘David’ raising vital funds for London’s homeless.
    Oct 08, 2019 4280
  • 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
  • 23 Aug 2019
    It can often be difficult to keep up with the latest trends in the digital world. Everything from up and coming artificial intelligence, chat bots and the likes of Alexa voice control, to new releases and platforms updates, can result (and often, not result) in exciting and purposeful change for charities. In this blog, Social Misfits Media’s Angharad Francis takes a look at what we can expect to see in the second half of 2019! E-commerce within apps What could be easier than being able to buy all your favourite products whilst scrolling through social media? According to DigiDay, like social media giants Facebook and Instagram, Snapchat have now released a new feature allowing users to access shops within the app itself. This is powered by Shopify, and aims to increase engagement rates and dwell time within the Snapchat app. For now, this new option to have an e-commerce store within Snapchat is limited to select accounts. However, other social media platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram already allow brands to showcase shoppable products. Creating social media campaigns focusing on e-commerce opportunities could work particularly well around the Christmas period, whereby charities could showcase their goods, such as Christmas cards or clothing, to raise funds for a given campaign. Meaningful Engagement The more engaging a social media platform is, the more time a user will spend on it. One platform doing this well is Instagram, with their Stories feature. From GIFs, to countdowns, to quizzes and polls, there are endless options for users to experiment with, and create engaging stories to share with friends and family. Most recently, Instagram have released their new “Chat” sticker within Stories. This simple feature allows users to ask their followers to join a new chat group. Charities could use this to discuss a new report, a specific goal, or to have a Q&A with their CEO, allowing their audience to gain additional insight into the organisation and connect better online. If creative skills and resources are not a constraint, another new feature charities could use on Instagram is the new AR feature. This feature, created to increase dwell time within the platform, allows users to design their own effects within stories. Charities could use this as a way to create a more personalised experience for their audience, for example if a charity is selling a new product to raise funds, they could use the AR filter as a way for users to try the product on in their story before purchasing. Facebook Groups Although the Facebook algorithm continues to push user-generated content with its meaningful conversations update, platform users are increasingly turning to groups to communicate. Charities can create a group for their organisation, in order to generate organic engagement and awareness, and allow conversation with their audience beyond a Facebook page. Alternatively, if there is a lack of capacity and time to invest in social media, charities can engage in existing groups as a brand. The benefit of this is that instead of setting up a new group, charities are able to communicate with their audience using an already engaged group. This could help them to raise awareness of a fundraising event, locate volunteers or ask supporters to sign a petition. Podcasts The popularity of Podcasts continues to increase, not only with countless new comedy and lifestyle podcasts, but also within the charity sector. In the UK, the number of weekly podcast listeners has almost doubled in five years, from 3.2m (7% of adults aged 15+) in 2013 to 5.9m (11%) in 2018. In addition, Google recently announced that it will start surfacing podcasts alongside videos, images, news, and web pages related to a user’s search. This will make podcasts more discoverable, allowing an online audience to easily find and listen to them through Search.  Here, Kirsty Marrins lists her top ten charity podcasts, including our sister company Lightful’s charity podcast, Reclaim Social, which interviews people within the charity sector and looks at how they use social media to focus on sharing positive and inspiring news. Although this may require a certain level of time and resources, podcasts are a great way for charities to broadcast their latest news to new and existing audiences in an engaging and accessible way. I hope you found this article useful; if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to find us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram! Angharad Francis is a Community Manager at Social Misfits Media, who work exclusively with charities, foundations, social enterprises and non-profits to help better use social media to reach their goals.  Photo credits: Top - Thought Catalog, Bottom - Pete Pedroza.
    3583 Posted by Angharad Francis
  • It can often be difficult to keep up with the latest trends in the digital world. Everything from up and coming artificial intelligence, chat bots and the likes of Alexa voice control, to new releases and platforms updates, can result (and often, not result) in exciting and purposeful change for charities. In this blog, Social Misfits Media’s Angharad Francis takes a look at what we can expect to see in the second half of 2019! E-commerce within apps What could be easier than being able to buy all your favourite products whilst scrolling through social media? According to DigiDay, like social media giants Facebook and Instagram, Snapchat have now released a new feature allowing users to access shops within the app itself. This is powered by Shopify, and aims to increase engagement rates and dwell time within the Snapchat app. For now, this new option to have an e-commerce store within Snapchat is limited to select accounts. However, other social media platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram already allow brands to showcase shoppable products. Creating social media campaigns focusing on e-commerce opportunities could work particularly well around the Christmas period, whereby charities could showcase their goods, such as Christmas cards or clothing, to raise funds for a given campaign. Meaningful Engagement The more engaging a social media platform is, the more time a user will spend on it. One platform doing this well is Instagram, with their Stories feature. From GIFs, to countdowns, to quizzes and polls, there are endless options for users to experiment with, and create engaging stories to share with friends and family. Most recently, Instagram have released their new “Chat” sticker within Stories. This simple feature allows users to ask their followers to join a new chat group. Charities could use this to discuss a new report, a specific goal, or to have a Q&A with their CEO, allowing their audience to gain additional insight into the organisation and connect better online. If creative skills and resources are not a constraint, another new feature charities could use on Instagram is the new AR feature. This feature, created to increase dwell time within the platform, allows users to design their own effects within stories. Charities could use this as a way to create a more personalised experience for their audience, for example if a charity is selling a new product to raise funds, they could use the AR filter as a way for users to try the product on in their story before purchasing. Facebook Groups Although the Facebook algorithm continues to push user-generated content with its meaningful conversations update, platform users are increasingly turning to groups to communicate. Charities can create a group for their organisation, in order to generate organic engagement and awareness, and allow conversation with their audience beyond a Facebook page. Alternatively, if there is a lack of capacity and time to invest in social media, charities can engage in existing groups as a brand. The benefit of this is that instead of setting up a new group, charities are able to communicate with their audience using an already engaged group. This could help them to raise awareness of a fundraising event, locate volunteers or ask supporters to sign a petition. Podcasts The popularity of Podcasts continues to increase, not only with countless new comedy and lifestyle podcasts, but also within the charity sector. In the UK, the number of weekly podcast listeners has almost doubled in five years, from 3.2m (7% of adults aged 15+) in 2013 to 5.9m (11%) in 2018. In addition, Google recently announced that it will start surfacing podcasts alongside videos, images, news, and web pages related to a user’s search. This will make podcasts more discoverable, allowing an online audience to easily find and listen to them through Search.  Here, Kirsty Marrins lists her top ten charity podcasts, including our sister company Lightful’s charity podcast, Reclaim Social, which interviews people within the charity sector and looks at how they use social media to focus on sharing positive and inspiring news. Although this may require a certain level of time and resources, podcasts are a great way for charities to broadcast their latest news to new and existing audiences in an engaging and accessible way. I hope you found this article useful; if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to find us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram! Angharad Francis is a Community Manager at Social Misfits Media, who work exclusively with charities, foundations, social enterprises and non-profits to help better use social media to reach their goals.  Photo credits: Top - Thought Catalog, Bottom - Pete Pedroza.
    Aug 23, 2019 3583
  • 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
  • 26 Jul 2019
    Henry Rowling is co-founder of Flying Cars - an innovation, insight and strategy collective for charities and cause-driven brands. Henry has over a decade of experience working for some of the UK’s leading charities in strategy, innovation, product development and digital fundraising. We know that times are tough in fundraising. More than ever in a rapidly changing world, falling response rates in traditional channels and supporters with mushrooming expectations bought about by slick digital services - the need to innovate and do things differently is greater than ever. At Flying Cars we speak to charities large and small daily who want to find new ways to engage their audiences because the old ways are not working as well anymore. But the future is not as bleak as you may think. Through following an audience-led, iterative approach that tests and learns routinely, freeing up time in your work life by stopping the things that aren’t working, and investing in yourself and your team to learn new skills – you can succeed on a budget. Here’s how in 12 steps. Create space to innovate. Kill off projects in your portfolio that deliver marginal impact after several years. Without freeing up time you won’t have resource to deliver innovative projects Identify the most pressing problem you are trying to solve – without a problem – there is nothing to do! Pin down your core audience – who are you interested in involving in the solution to this problem? Who is best placed to help you solve it? Speak to your audience – conduct some insight work. Beware the internal echo chamber Follow an innovation methodology – Nesta has a lot of resources on their website Be networked – relentlessly build your networks of contacts inside and outside your organisation – successful innovation means using diverse brain power to solve problems in a new way Use your size to your advantage – being small means you can be nimble – don’t get bogged down in complex sign-off – find the quickest route to delivery In a small organisation you should be able to speak to your beneficiaries relatively quickly – co-create ideas with them if you can Use some of the many free tools available to test, prototype, mock up, learn new skills, smoke-test, analyse and conduct insight Test as cheaply as possible – innovation preaches lean-testing – this means getting a version of your product in front of the potential audience quickly and cheaply Don’t be afraid of failure – failure is an important part of building new solutions – if there is no failure – you aren’t trying hard enough Speak to me to talk about any impending projects you have or if you’d like a cheat sheet of free prototyping tools you can use. I would also be happy to connect you to others in this space.   
    5767 Posted by Henry Rowling
  • Henry Rowling is co-founder of Flying Cars - an innovation, insight and strategy collective for charities and cause-driven brands. Henry has over a decade of experience working for some of the UK’s leading charities in strategy, innovation, product development and digital fundraising. We know that times are tough in fundraising. More than ever in a rapidly changing world, falling response rates in traditional channels and supporters with mushrooming expectations bought about by slick digital services - the need to innovate and do things differently is greater than ever. At Flying Cars we speak to charities large and small daily who want to find new ways to engage their audiences because the old ways are not working as well anymore. But the future is not as bleak as you may think. Through following an audience-led, iterative approach that tests and learns routinely, freeing up time in your work life by stopping the things that aren’t working, and investing in yourself and your team to learn new skills – you can succeed on a budget. Here’s how in 12 steps. Create space to innovate. Kill off projects in your portfolio that deliver marginal impact after several years. Without freeing up time you won’t have resource to deliver innovative projects Identify the most pressing problem you are trying to solve – without a problem – there is nothing to do! Pin down your core audience – who are you interested in involving in the solution to this problem? Who is best placed to help you solve it? Speak to your audience – conduct some insight work. Beware the internal echo chamber Follow an innovation methodology – Nesta has a lot of resources on their website Be networked – relentlessly build your networks of contacts inside and outside your organisation – successful innovation means using diverse brain power to solve problems in a new way Use your size to your advantage – being small means you can be nimble – don’t get bogged down in complex sign-off – find the quickest route to delivery In a small organisation you should be able to speak to your beneficiaries relatively quickly – co-create ideas with them if you can Use some of the many free tools available to test, prototype, mock up, learn new skills, smoke-test, analyse and conduct insight Test as cheaply as possible – innovation preaches lean-testing – this means getting a version of your product in front of the potential audience quickly and cheaply Don’t be afraid of failure – failure is an important part of building new solutions – if there is no failure – you aren’t trying hard enough Speak to me to talk about any impending projects you have or if you’d like a cheat sheet of free prototyping tools you can use. I would also be happy to connect you to others in this space.   
    Jul 26, 2019 5767
  • 16 Jul 2019
    Good stories are personal. Great stories make your supporters feel like they are a part of them. If your supporters can interact with your story in real-time–by making a donation or volunteering–it means you are giving them an avenue to get invested in your cause. That kind of storytelling is uniquely useful for nonprofits. Your efforts as an organization directly help the people in your stories and involve your donors and volunteers. So how do you tell personal, interactive stories? The ways you communicate with your audience is just as important as the story itself. Choosing your storytelling medium Traditionally, email, social media, etc. are all good ways to get your story out to your supporters. It’s efficient, letting you reach a ton of people at once. And it works, convincing a lot of them to make a donation to your cause. But ask them about the gift a week later, and most would have already forgotten all about it. It’s evident in the numbers–The average nonprofit receives a repeat donation from less than half their yearly donors*. A significant amount of supporters stop giving because they don’t remember donating and because of minimal or non-existent communication on the part of the nonprofit.   Today’s donors crave and are more likely to remember authentic, personal interactions with the organizations that they support.  Doing that means reaching out to people as individuals, and a channel like text messaging is excellent at that.  Text messaging in the UK Smartphone ownership is only set to grow in the UK, with a predicted 92% ownership by 2023. With the texting being so ubiquitous, it makes sense for charities to use texting as one of their primary modes of communication with supporters. Another factor to consider is what donors really want from your communications.  According to the 2014 UK Giving Report, 68% of respondents agreed that charities proving their impact was most likely to be valued by supporters. You probably want to show your supporters the successes you have had in your campaigns. The challenge is showing the impact in a way that reaches people. Supporters aren’t going to visit your website unless they have a reason to, and the standard email open rate is not very impressive. Communicating the impact your organization makes towards your campaigns needs to be done in a way that is direct and likely to be seen.  A channel that has a high chance of being read, like texting lets you do that and make your communications personal at the same time. Using text messages to tell and promote stories Messaging, whether it is through SMS, Whatsapp, or even Facebook Messenger, lets you have conversations with your supporters in real-time, without having to meet face-to-face. That means being able to provide updates on the people you are helping and answer questions as your supporters ask them. Of course, it’s not possible to reply to every text in person. You could automate texts to go out based on keywords in the messages you receive and jump in whenever you need to. Storytelling in the form of a text conversation Having conversations about your charity’s missions and goals can be made more personal and persuasive through peer-to-peer texting. With a messaging software, a single volunteer can have around one thousand conversations every hour.  For example, an initial text message could introduce them to your latest campaign and ask them if they would like to know more instead of asking them for a donation up front. If they respond positively, you can send a link to your donation page. After a successful donation, thank them through the same conversation. One thing to note about storytelling through text messages is that the story is in the form of a conversation. For it to be most effective, you need to keep them updated on how your mission is progressing, and how their support is helping your cause. Keep your supporters up-to-date and invested with your cause through follow up texts. Your next text could tell them about the funds raised from the last campaign: Your final update should let them know about how their funds were used and tell the stories of those who were positively impacted by your campaign. Your supporters will appreciate your transparency and willingness to keep them looped in. An invested and informed supporter is more likely to make further donations or volunteer for your cause. How else can you use texting? An alternative to peer-to-peer texting is to use text messages strictly as a way to link to your blog and website. This can be a broadcast message to all your supporters, telling them they can learn more about your campaign by following the link. There can be many other ways to use texting to engage your supporters. You can send reminders to campaigners and supporters to attend upcoming events and rallies (with their corresponding venue/timing details). Depending upon the volunteer’s role, you can also send texts reminding them of their respective duties on upcoming campaigns. It is evident that telling a charity’s stories in a way that can bring in donors and keep them engaged needs nonprofits to rethink donor communications. Channels like texting let supporters talk to you directly and make them feel like they truly are an important part of your cause. Augustus Franklin is the founder and CEO of CallHub, a California-based Voice and SMS service company bridging the communication gap for political campaigns and advocacy groups. When he is not working, he is either making toys with his kids or training for a marathon. *2018 Fundraising Effectiveness Survey Report  
    6068 Posted by Augustus Franklin
  • Good stories are personal. Great stories make your supporters feel like they are a part of them. If your supporters can interact with your story in real-time–by making a donation or volunteering–it means you are giving them an avenue to get invested in your cause. That kind of storytelling is uniquely useful for nonprofits. Your efforts as an organization directly help the people in your stories and involve your donors and volunteers. So how do you tell personal, interactive stories? The ways you communicate with your audience is just as important as the story itself. Choosing your storytelling medium Traditionally, email, social media, etc. are all good ways to get your story out to your supporters. It’s efficient, letting you reach a ton of people at once. And it works, convincing a lot of them to make a donation to your cause. But ask them about the gift a week later, and most would have already forgotten all about it. It’s evident in the numbers–The average nonprofit receives a repeat donation from less than half their yearly donors*. A significant amount of supporters stop giving because they don’t remember donating and because of minimal or non-existent communication on the part of the nonprofit.   Today’s donors crave and are more likely to remember authentic, personal interactions with the organizations that they support.  Doing that means reaching out to people as individuals, and a channel like text messaging is excellent at that.  Text messaging in the UK Smartphone ownership is only set to grow in the UK, with a predicted 92% ownership by 2023. With the texting being so ubiquitous, it makes sense for charities to use texting as one of their primary modes of communication with supporters. Another factor to consider is what donors really want from your communications.  According to the 2014 UK Giving Report, 68% of respondents agreed that charities proving their impact was most likely to be valued by supporters. You probably want to show your supporters the successes you have had in your campaigns. The challenge is showing the impact in a way that reaches people. Supporters aren’t going to visit your website unless they have a reason to, and the standard email open rate is not very impressive. Communicating the impact your organization makes towards your campaigns needs to be done in a way that is direct and likely to be seen.  A channel that has a high chance of being read, like texting lets you do that and make your communications personal at the same time. Using text messages to tell and promote stories Messaging, whether it is through SMS, Whatsapp, or even Facebook Messenger, lets you have conversations with your supporters in real-time, without having to meet face-to-face. That means being able to provide updates on the people you are helping and answer questions as your supporters ask them. Of course, it’s not possible to reply to every text in person. You could automate texts to go out based on keywords in the messages you receive and jump in whenever you need to. Storytelling in the form of a text conversation Having conversations about your charity’s missions and goals can be made more personal and persuasive through peer-to-peer texting. With a messaging software, a single volunteer can have around one thousand conversations every hour.  For example, an initial text message could introduce them to your latest campaign and ask them if they would like to know more instead of asking them for a donation up front. If they respond positively, you can send a link to your donation page. After a successful donation, thank them through the same conversation. One thing to note about storytelling through text messages is that the story is in the form of a conversation. For it to be most effective, you need to keep them updated on how your mission is progressing, and how their support is helping your cause. Keep your supporters up-to-date and invested with your cause through follow up texts. Your next text could tell them about the funds raised from the last campaign: Your final update should let them know about how their funds were used and tell the stories of those who were positively impacted by your campaign. Your supporters will appreciate your transparency and willingness to keep them looped in. An invested and informed supporter is more likely to make further donations or volunteer for your cause. How else can you use texting? An alternative to peer-to-peer texting is to use text messages strictly as a way to link to your blog and website. This can be a broadcast message to all your supporters, telling them they can learn more about your campaign by following the link. There can be many other ways to use texting to engage your supporters. You can send reminders to campaigners and supporters to attend upcoming events and rallies (with their corresponding venue/timing details). Depending upon the volunteer’s role, you can also send texts reminding them of their respective duties on upcoming campaigns. It is evident that telling a charity’s stories in a way that can bring in donors and keep them engaged needs nonprofits to rethink donor communications. Channels like texting let supporters talk to you directly and make them feel like they truly are an important part of your cause. Augustus Franklin is the founder and CEO of CallHub, a California-based Voice and SMS service company bridging the communication gap for political campaigns and advocacy groups. When he is not working, he is either making toys with his kids or training for a marathon. *2018 Fundraising Effectiveness Survey Report  
    Jul 16, 2019 6068
  • 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
  • 27 Mar 2019
    When I started my career as a fundraiser 30 years ago, many of the things we now take for granted did not exist.  We did not have the internet, mobile phones, smart phones, e-mail or social media. A shared computer sat, neglected in the corner of the office as we struggled to use its counter-intuitive software and retreated to the familiarity of our desks, telephones, Rolodex, pens and paper.  I was a Community Fundraiser.  We had the best jobs in fundraising.  We could not compete with the glamour of the High Level Donor teams, or the prestige of the slick, suited Corporate Fundraisers. But we didn’t care because in our hearts we knew that we practiced the art of building relationships in all their human, unpredictable, chaotic, grassroots glory.  The community was the place to be. Then, one day my boss arrived and with great fanfare installed something called Windows. From that moment, the world changed quickly.  We saw unprecedented mass marketing and data crunching. Words like acquisition, retention, attrition and segmentation became part of our fundraising vocabulary. The rise of the database meant that big charities cultivated direct marketing teams who mapped out donor journeys and, in turn generated work for a vast number of creative agencies and fulfilment houses. In the mid-1990s we could feel the tectonic plates of fundraising shift.  In the big-charity world community fundraising became the poor and noisy relation of teams that delivered a better, faster, more clinical return on investment.  Technology meant that significant funds could be generated quickly at arm’s length. Suddenly there was no need to get down into the messy grassroots, or engage with challenging, complex, emotional people. Since then I have worked my way up through the fundraising ranks, to middle manager, Department Head and Director of Fundraising.  I’m no luddite, but there have been times during my career that I have hankered after the days when fundraising was about communities, not segments. When we valued the quality of relationship above the in-year return on investment. To my delight I feel the tectonic plates shifting once more. I see global and local hashtag communities coming together to demonstrate, march and fundraise in all their messy, noisy glory.  I see the arm’s length direct marketing one-way traffic slowed by legislation, regulation and reputation.  And I see emotional and passionate people and communities back at the heart of fundraising and activism. Ironically technology has helped us to come full circle and given a voice to communities once again.  There was a point when I thought that technology would kill off Community Fundraising. But now I have hope, because they are two sides of the same coin.  So, my message to all those fantastic, entrepreneurial, innovative local charities and groups is embrace technology. Not to send one-way, direct marketing, envelopes through doors asking for £2 per month. Embrace technology to find your voice, tell your story and build your community, whether it’s on your doorstep or another continent. This is a new, reinvigorated, generation of community fundraisers.  
    3336 Posted by Leesa Harwood
  • When I started my career as a fundraiser 30 years ago, many of the things we now take for granted did not exist.  We did not have the internet, mobile phones, smart phones, e-mail or social media. A shared computer sat, neglected in the corner of the office as we struggled to use its counter-intuitive software and retreated to the familiarity of our desks, telephones, Rolodex, pens and paper.  I was a Community Fundraiser.  We had the best jobs in fundraising.  We could not compete with the glamour of the High Level Donor teams, or the prestige of the slick, suited Corporate Fundraisers. But we didn’t care because in our hearts we knew that we practiced the art of building relationships in all their human, unpredictable, chaotic, grassroots glory.  The community was the place to be. Then, one day my boss arrived and with great fanfare installed something called Windows. From that moment, the world changed quickly.  We saw unprecedented mass marketing and data crunching. Words like acquisition, retention, attrition and segmentation became part of our fundraising vocabulary. The rise of the database meant that big charities cultivated direct marketing teams who mapped out donor journeys and, in turn generated work for a vast number of creative agencies and fulfilment houses. In the mid-1990s we could feel the tectonic plates of fundraising shift.  In the big-charity world community fundraising became the poor and noisy relation of teams that delivered a better, faster, more clinical return on investment.  Technology meant that significant funds could be generated quickly at arm’s length. Suddenly there was no need to get down into the messy grassroots, or engage with challenging, complex, emotional people. Since then I have worked my way up through the fundraising ranks, to middle manager, Department Head and Director of Fundraising.  I’m no luddite, but there have been times during my career that I have hankered after the days when fundraising was about communities, not segments. When we valued the quality of relationship above the in-year return on investment. To my delight I feel the tectonic plates shifting once more. I see global and local hashtag communities coming together to demonstrate, march and fundraise in all their messy, noisy glory.  I see the arm’s length direct marketing one-way traffic slowed by legislation, regulation and reputation.  And I see emotional and passionate people and communities back at the heart of fundraising and activism. Ironically technology has helped us to come full circle and given a voice to communities once again.  There was a point when I thought that technology would kill off Community Fundraising. But now I have hope, because they are two sides of the same coin.  So, my message to all those fantastic, entrepreneurial, innovative local charities and groups is embrace technology. Not to send one-way, direct marketing, envelopes through doors asking for £2 per month. Embrace technology to find your voice, tell your story and build your community, whether it’s on your doorstep or another continent. This is a new, reinvigorated, generation of community fundraisers.  
    Mar 27, 2019 3336
  • 28 Feb 2019
    Social media is vital for the growth of every charity, and is a powerful tool to deepen relationships with your beneficiaries, donors and supporters. Having engaging conversations and interacting with your audience will help you to build trust and relationships online, which in turn can lead to increased donations, traffic and awareness. However, it’s not always easy to engage and grow your charity’s online presence – it takes time, and should be done carefully and thoughtfully. I’ve had the pleasure of working with a range of amazing local charities recently. It has become apparent that working in a small charity often means that there is a lack of resource and time to focus on growing social media. With this in mind, I have compiled a list of seven recommendations on easy ways to help your online presence: 1) Use analytics to inform your content All social media platforms have their own analytics and insights, which show a range of data, including demographic breakdown of your audience, top interests and engagement metrics. By checking these insights on a regular basis across your different social media platforms, you can discover exactly who your audience is (rather than assuming you already know), and tailor content to ensure that it resonates with your audience. For example, on Twitter you can take a deep-dive into your audience’s interests. If the majority of your audience is interested in food and cooking, you could encourage them to carry out a bake sale fundraising at their work, raising money for your charity. 2) Source content from a variety of places (and ensure it’s relevant) (Photo credit: Georgia de Lotz) If all your content is from one source, the level of growth on your social media will quickly stagnate. Ensuring that content is a mix of own publications (blogs) and external publications will keep your audience engaged. If you find it difficult to source content from different places, invest time in creating Google alerts with relevant key words, making a list of publications that post interesting industry news, following thought leaders on LinkedIn, and creating Twitter lists. All of these methods will help keep your content varied, and keep your audience engaged. Remember to keep your target audience in mind – will they find this interesting or useful? What actions will this inspire them to take?   3) Make content visual, with a particular focus on video Research shows that video drives better results. For example, Facebook video posts have the highest average engagement and, on average, will produce twice the level of engagement of other post types. With more and more brands investing in video, charities could benefit from creating their own visual content. Information is more engaging if you see your favourite brand post a funny video or GIF, or explain a process through a helpful infographic. This is also the case for your charity; you can use a variety of content types to grow your audience, using humorous or compelling, interesting content to appeal to your audience. 4) Adapt content for different platforms (Photo credit: William Iven) According to GlobalWebIndex’s flagship report on the latest trends in social media, internet users around the world actively use an average of 7.6 social media channels. Using this data, it is safe to assume that your audience will be active on several different channels, and might even be following you on multiple accounts. As a social media consumer, their expectations of what they will see on each platform will vary. Avoid using the same content in the same format, across different platforms. For example, use fun and colloquial language on Facebook, post opinions on Twitter, and industry news and opportunities on LinkedIn. In addition, make sure image sizes and description lengths are optimised for each channel – always think of the user experience. There are various tools online that can help you to achieve this, for example you can use Canva for free, allowing you to amend images to optimal sizes for each social media platform. 5) Have a process for dealing with negative comments It’s not always sunshine and rainbows in the social media world, and there are often occasions where your charity will have to deal with negative responses online. Having a process in place will allow you to deal with these types of comments in a swift and professional manner. Our simple but effective online harassment infographic will help you navigate the process, with advice on when to comment, when to ignore and when to block. 6) Know what best practice looks like on each platform The layout, functions and purpose of each social media platform are different, therefore what works well on Facebook may not work well on Instagram. By knowing the fundamental basics and best practices of each platform, it will allow you to maximise your charity’s reach and engagement with your audience. If this is an element of your social media strategy that is challenging, then check out our sister company Lightful’s best practice guides for Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to help you. 7) Don’t use social media just to promote your organisation and services If you simply promote your own campaigns, you can guarantee that people will soon stop engaging with your platforms and your audience will slowly decrease in size. Social media should be about having a conversation and building relationships, posting a mix of stories about your audience, industry news and thought-leadership articles. This way, people will use your social media as a hub for information, where they can also discover more about exciting campaigns, news and your services. I hope you find this article useful; if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to find us on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram! Angharad Francis is a Community Manager at Social Misfits Media, who work exclusively with charities, foundations, social enterprises and non-profits to help better use social media to reach their goals.   
    6253 Posted by Angharad Francis
  • Social media is vital for the growth of every charity, and is a powerful tool to deepen relationships with your beneficiaries, donors and supporters. Having engaging conversations and interacting with your audience will help you to build trust and relationships online, which in turn can lead to increased donations, traffic and awareness. However, it’s not always easy to engage and grow your charity’s online presence – it takes time, and should be done carefully and thoughtfully. I’ve had the pleasure of working with a range of amazing local charities recently. It has become apparent that working in a small charity often means that there is a lack of resource and time to focus on growing social media. With this in mind, I have compiled a list of seven recommendations on easy ways to help your online presence: 1) Use analytics to inform your content All social media platforms have their own analytics and insights, which show a range of data, including demographic breakdown of your audience, top interests and engagement metrics. By checking these insights on a regular basis across your different social media platforms, you can discover exactly who your audience is (rather than assuming you already know), and tailor content to ensure that it resonates with your audience. For example, on Twitter you can take a deep-dive into your audience’s interests. If the majority of your audience is interested in food and cooking, you could encourage them to carry out a bake sale fundraising at their work, raising money for your charity. 2) Source content from a variety of places (and ensure it’s relevant) (Photo credit: Georgia de Lotz) If all your content is from one source, the level of growth on your social media will quickly stagnate. Ensuring that content is a mix of own publications (blogs) and external publications will keep your audience engaged. If you find it difficult to source content from different places, invest time in creating Google alerts with relevant key words, making a list of publications that post interesting industry news, following thought leaders on LinkedIn, and creating Twitter lists. All of these methods will help keep your content varied, and keep your audience engaged. Remember to keep your target audience in mind – will they find this interesting or useful? What actions will this inspire them to take?   3) Make content visual, with a particular focus on video Research shows that video drives better results. For example, Facebook video posts have the highest average engagement and, on average, will produce twice the level of engagement of other post types. With more and more brands investing in video, charities could benefit from creating their own visual content. Information is more engaging if you see your favourite brand post a funny video or GIF, or explain a process through a helpful infographic. This is also the case for your charity; you can use a variety of content types to grow your audience, using humorous or compelling, interesting content to appeal to your audience. 4) Adapt content for different platforms (Photo credit: William Iven) According to GlobalWebIndex’s flagship report on the latest trends in social media, internet users around the world actively use an average of 7.6 social media channels. Using this data, it is safe to assume that your audience will be active on several different channels, and might even be following you on multiple accounts. As a social media consumer, their expectations of what they will see on each platform will vary. Avoid using the same content in the same format, across different platforms. For example, use fun and colloquial language on Facebook, post opinions on Twitter, and industry news and opportunities on LinkedIn. In addition, make sure image sizes and description lengths are optimised for each channel – always think of the user experience. There are various tools online that can help you to achieve this, for example you can use Canva for free, allowing you to amend images to optimal sizes for each social media platform. 5) Have a process for dealing with negative comments It’s not always sunshine and rainbows in the social media world, and there are often occasions where your charity will have to deal with negative responses online. Having a process in place will allow you to deal with these types of comments in a swift and professional manner. Our simple but effective online harassment infographic will help you navigate the process, with advice on when to comment, when to ignore and when to block. 6) Know what best practice looks like on each platform The layout, functions and purpose of each social media platform are different, therefore what works well on Facebook may not work well on Instagram. By knowing the fundamental basics and best practices of each platform, it will allow you to maximise your charity’s reach and engagement with your audience. If this is an element of your social media strategy that is challenging, then check out our sister company Lightful’s best practice guides for Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to help you. 7) Don’t use social media just to promote your organisation and services If you simply promote your own campaigns, you can guarantee that people will soon stop engaging with your platforms and your audience will slowly decrease in size. Social media should be about having a conversation and building relationships, posting a mix of stories about your audience, industry news and thought-leadership articles. This way, people will use your social media as a hub for information, where they can also discover more about exciting campaigns, news and your services. I hope you find this article useful; if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to find us on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram! Angharad Francis is a Community Manager at Social Misfits Media, who work exclusively with charities, foundations, social enterprises and non-profits to help better use social media to reach their goals.   
    Feb 28, 2019 6253