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  • 11 May 2016
    Emma Beeston is an experienced grant maker and philanthropy advisor. She advises funders and philanthropists on how best to donate their funds to effect social change. The 3-minute pitch is a fundraising classic Everyone involved in a charity, whether a fundraiser or not, should have their compelling ‘case for support’ ready to go at a moment’s notice. You never know who you will meet at a conference, on the train, or even in a lift, who may be in a position to donate to your charity if you just get the pitch right. However, time and time again, at funding fairs, workshops and events and even when visiting a charity to conduct an assessment, this is a common exchange: Q: Tell me about your charity? A: We were founded in 2006 and became a charity in 2007... I appreciate that I am a funding officer and not a major donor, so you don’t need to persuade me to hand over my own money. But I am a person who, alongside all the questions about finances and governance, really wants to know why you do what you do and the difference it makes. Once you have told me that, then you can go on and tell me about your background and how long you have been established. Or even better, just tell me that when I ask. The same rule applies as for all effective communication: be led by the audience. Don’t tell me what you want to say, tell me what I need to hear. And more importantly I have also facilitated meetings and network events where charities get to meet with MPs or other such high profile people and the same thing commonly happens. The charity representative starts with the history of the charity. If this is you and your staff, you need to break this habit and start talking about the purpose of your work. And even though they are unlikely to donate, that is exactly what an MP wants to hear too. In fact that really should be the first thing you tell pretty much everyone you meet. So next time you meet a funder, MP, neighbour, friend at a party and they ask what you do, please be ready: Q: Tell me about your charity? A: We work towards the eradication of slavery wherever it is found. We provide survivors with safety, hope and choice (from Unseen UK).   Found this Blog 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      
    1679 Posted by Emma Beeston
  • Emma Beeston is an experienced grant maker and philanthropy advisor. She advises funders and philanthropists on how best to donate their funds to effect social change. The 3-minute pitch is a fundraising classic Everyone involved in a charity, whether a fundraiser or not, should have their compelling ‘case for support’ ready to go at a moment’s notice. You never know who you will meet at a conference, on the train, or even in a lift, who may be in a position to donate to your charity if you just get the pitch right. However, time and time again, at funding fairs, workshops and events and even when visiting a charity to conduct an assessment, this is a common exchange: Q: Tell me about your charity? A: We were founded in 2006 and became a charity in 2007... I appreciate that I am a funding officer and not a major donor, so you don’t need to persuade me to hand over my own money. But I am a person who, alongside all the questions about finances and governance, really wants to know why you do what you do and the difference it makes. Once you have told me that, then you can go on and tell me about your background and how long you have been established. Or even better, just tell me that when I ask. The same rule applies as for all effective communication: be led by the audience. Don’t tell me what you want to say, tell me what I need to hear. And more importantly I have also facilitated meetings and network events where charities get to meet with MPs or other such high profile people and the same thing commonly happens. The charity representative starts with the history of the charity. If this is you and your staff, you need to break this habit and start talking about the purpose of your work. And even though they are unlikely to donate, that is exactly what an MP wants to hear too. In fact that really should be the first thing you tell pretty much everyone you meet. So next time you meet a funder, MP, neighbour, friend at a party and they ask what you do, please be ready: Q: Tell me about your charity? A: We work towards the eradication of slavery wherever it is found. We provide survivors with safety, hope and choice (from Unseen UK).   Found this Blog 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      
    May 11, 2016 1679
  • 05 May 2016
    
Ieva Padagaite is a co-founder and director of Blake House Filmmakers Cooperative and is involved in various social and environmental campaigns. Using Video for Effective Fundraising By working with people and organisations who make a real difference, I have had a chance to measure successful use of video in crowdfunding campaigns. I’ve been alert to how films foster empathy when working with vulnerable adults, children, and making videos for fundraisers, Corporate Social Responsibility and marketing projects. A third of all online activity is spent watching video and according to Cisco VNI™ forecast - 80 percent of all consumer Internet traffic in 2019 will be via video. It’s a critical time for the third sector to embrace this powerful medium to amplify causes, increase impact, widen reach and stay visible.   Get into the habit of recording your work on camera We are bombarded with all sorts of content every day, but videos are processed by the brain 60,000 times faster then text.To avoid demanding cognitive strain, we are drawn to information that is easy to process and more importantly, we are more likely to get emotionally attached to a story we see in a video than a story we read in an article. I recently worked with children's entertainment charity, The Flying Seagull Project, which was fundraising to provide mental relief for refugee children facing trauma on the borders of the EU. The charity came to me with some footage filmed on simple pocket cameras and mobile phones and a three week fundraising deadline. We shot a simply structured message to the camera in our office about the project, the problem, the solution and a call to action. Two days later, the video was released. By the second week, the charity surpassed its fundraising targets, gaining huge momentum and following for the campaign. Reflecting on this experience, it seems obvious that any group using fundraising in their organisation should start recording their work wherever the impact is visible, if it is appropriate to do so (noting ethical considerations). The content could come in handy not only when working on a fundraising video to back up your words and provide evidence for your work, but also enhancing your staff and volunteer engagement and morale.   Have a fundraising strategy and a team in place to effectively engage your audience So, video content is great, but it doesn’t work by itself. You need fundraising and marketing strategies in place to work out how to get the video in front of your target audience, plan their journey in supporting you as well as ways to get them to fundraise for you by sharing your campaign. Think about having a team to write engaging copy to support the video and an easy-to-follow call to action; keeping the conversation active with your supporters during and after the campaign is a key part of any campaign. I attended one of Localgiving’s workshops on fundraising strategy and highly recommend it to anybody wanting to learn more.   Collaborate The filming process doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive: plan ahead and gradually embed it into your work culture. It’s all about getting into the habit and finding a way to do it that suits your cause, capacity and budget. One way to do it is by finding a local filmmaker or video company that works on the same wavelength as you. Have a lookout for social enterprises, cooperatives and media charities using film to make a difference or start experimenting and utilising the wealth of knowledge stored online. Either way, you can’t afford to be camera shy!       Found this Blog useful? You may also like:  The Power of Storytelling: Six Top Tips by Mike Zywina     
    2228 Posted by Ieva Padagaite
  • 
Ieva Padagaite is a co-founder and director of Blake House Filmmakers Cooperative and is involved in various social and environmental campaigns. Using Video for Effective Fundraising By working with people and organisations who make a real difference, I have had a chance to measure successful use of video in crowdfunding campaigns. I’ve been alert to how films foster empathy when working with vulnerable adults, children, and making videos for fundraisers, Corporate Social Responsibility and marketing projects. A third of all online activity is spent watching video and according to Cisco VNI™ forecast - 80 percent of all consumer Internet traffic in 2019 will be via video. It’s a critical time for the third sector to embrace this powerful medium to amplify causes, increase impact, widen reach and stay visible.   Get into the habit of recording your work on camera We are bombarded with all sorts of content every day, but videos are processed by the brain 60,000 times faster then text.To avoid demanding cognitive strain, we are drawn to information that is easy to process and more importantly, we are more likely to get emotionally attached to a story we see in a video than a story we read in an article. I recently worked with children's entertainment charity, The Flying Seagull Project, which was fundraising to provide mental relief for refugee children facing trauma on the borders of the EU. The charity came to me with some footage filmed on simple pocket cameras and mobile phones and a three week fundraising deadline. We shot a simply structured message to the camera in our office about the project, the problem, the solution and a call to action. Two days later, the video was released. By the second week, the charity surpassed its fundraising targets, gaining huge momentum and following for the campaign. Reflecting on this experience, it seems obvious that any group using fundraising in their organisation should start recording their work wherever the impact is visible, if it is appropriate to do so (noting ethical considerations). The content could come in handy not only when working on a fundraising video to back up your words and provide evidence for your work, but also enhancing your staff and volunteer engagement and morale.   Have a fundraising strategy and a team in place to effectively engage your audience So, video content is great, but it doesn’t work by itself. You need fundraising and marketing strategies in place to work out how to get the video in front of your target audience, plan their journey in supporting you as well as ways to get them to fundraise for you by sharing your campaign. Think about having a team to write engaging copy to support the video and an easy-to-follow call to action; keeping the conversation active with your supporters during and after the campaign is a key part of any campaign. I attended one of Localgiving’s workshops on fundraising strategy and highly recommend it to anybody wanting to learn more.   Collaborate The filming process doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive: plan ahead and gradually embed it into your work culture. It’s all about getting into the habit and finding a way to do it that suits your cause, capacity and budget. One way to do it is by finding a local filmmaker or video company that works on the same wavelength as you. Have a lookout for social enterprises, cooperatives and media charities using film to make a difference or start experimenting and utilising the wealth of knowledge stored online. Either way, you can’t afford to be camera shy!       Found this Blog useful? You may also like:  The Power of Storytelling: Six Top Tips by Mike Zywina     
    May 05, 2016 2228
  • 04 May 2016
    Isabelle Neumand is Communications Coordinator for Business in the Community (BITC). She is coordinating communications content around Give & Gain Day, the largest celebration of employee volunteering globally. BITC is the Prince’s Responsible Business Network, a business-led charity that mobilises businesses to tackle issues that are essential to creating a fairer society and a more sustainable future. What is Give & Gain Day? Business in the Community’s Give & Gain Day is the only global day of employee volunteering and it’s coming up soon. Give & Gain Day will happen on 20th May 2016 where it will see thousands of people from hundreds of companies volunteering. Employees from businesses will take some time out of work to volunteer for charities and community organisations. The big day is on 20th of May, but activity is also welcomed throughout the week of the 16th.   Skills Exchange Give & Gain Day activity varies from volunteers helping to refurbish a community centre, to running a sports day, or even bringing a disused green space back to life. Business in the Community is also seeing a growing number of activities focusing on skills exchange. Corporate employees offer their professional skills and experience to charities. Examples of previous skills based volunteering range from organising an employability workshop to mentoring ESOL students.   Start of a partnership between business and charity? Give & Gain Day is more than just a single day of volunteering. Every year partnerships between businesses and charities begin on Give & Gain Day. For example, last Give & Gain, a Community Conversation event was hosted at Waitrose George Street in Croydon. Waitrose are sponsors of Give & Gain Day.  The aim of a Community Conversation is for representatives from local businesses, charities, voluntary organisations and local government to come together and see how they can collaborate to improve their community. Businesses included Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays and local accountancy company Owadally & King. Charities were represented by Pathfinders and Lives Not Knives. They spoke about skills shortages in Croydon and the wider problems of long-term and youth unemployment in the area. The event generated four monthly meetings to set out a delivery strategy!   What have charities from previous years said about Give & Gain? Last year, we ran a post-Give & Gain Day Community partner survey, in which 100% of Community Partners said they would work with business volunteers again, highlighting the importance of the time and skills volunteers give to community organisations. Half of the respondents also said that Give & Gain Day helped to raise the profile of their organisation. Stephanie Harvey from Providence Row, a homelessness charity described Give & Gain Day as an opportunity to “bring people on site to breakdown perceptions of homelessness and for our clients to mix with a wide range of people.” A quarter of respondents believed that the activities carried out on the day raised service users’ aspirations. Linda Trew, from the Parent House, a charity that offers guidance to parents through training, one-to-one support and work placements, said: “The direct contact that our beneficiaries were able to experience with the world of work made all our efforts behind the scenes very worthwhile.”   Celebrate your volunteers this Give & Gain Day Whether you’ve registered for this year’s Give & Gain Day or have only just heard of it now, we would encourage you to take a moment during the week of the 16th May to celebrate the volunteers that support you. If you currently are engaging with corporate volunteers outside of Give & Gain Day, why not tell them about it and organise something with them the week of the 16th of May. You could also use Give & Gain Day as a perfect excuse to organise a meet up with your existing volunteers, reflecting on and celebrating their achievements and contributions to your charity! Whatever you end up doing, share you stories and pictures on Twitter and Instagram using #giveandgain Still got questions? Get in touch and let’s talk about how Give & Gain Day can support your work. Email: giveandgain@bitc.org.uk   Found this Blog 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    
    1507 Posted by Isabelle Neumand
  • Isabelle Neumand is Communications Coordinator for Business in the Community (BITC). She is coordinating communications content around Give & Gain Day, the largest celebration of employee volunteering globally. BITC is the Prince’s Responsible Business Network, a business-led charity that mobilises businesses to tackle issues that are essential to creating a fairer society and a more sustainable future. What is Give & Gain Day? Business in the Community’s Give & Gain Day is the only global day of employee volunteering and it’s coming up soon. Give & Gain Day will happen on 20th May 2016 where it will see thousands of people from hundreds of companies volunteering. Employees from businesses will take some time out of work to volunteer for charities and community organisations. The big day is on 20th of May, but activity is also welcomed throughout the week of the 16th.   Skills Exchange Give & Gain Day activity varies from volunteers helping to refurbish a community centre, to running a sports day, or even bringing a disused green space back to life. Business in the Community is also seeing a growing number of activities focusing on skills exchange. Corporate employees offer their professional skills and experience to charities. Examples of previous skills based volunteering range from organising an employability workshop to mentoring ESOL students.   Start of a partnership between business and charity? Give & Gain Day is more than just a single day of volunteering. Every year partnerships between businesses and charities begin on Give & Gain Day. For example, last Give & Gain, a Community Conversation event was hosted at Waitrose George Street in Croydon. Waitrose are sponsors of Give & Gain Day.  The aim of a Community Conversation is for representatives from local businesses, charities, voluntary organisations and local government to come together and see how they can collaborate to improve their community. Businesses included Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays and local accountancy company Owadally & King. Charities were represented by Pathfinders and Lives Not Knives. They spoke about skills shortages in Croydon and the wider problems of long-term and youth unemployment in the area. The event generated four monthly meetings to set out a delivery strategy!   What have charities from previous years said about Give & Gain? Last year, we ran a post-Give & Gain Day Community partner survey, in which 100% of Community Partners said they would work with business volunteers again, highlighting the importance of the time and skills volunteers give to community organisations. Half of the respondents also said that Give & Gain Day helped to raise the profile of their organisation. Stephanie Harvey from Providence Row, a homelessness charity described Give & Gain Day as an opportunity to “bring people on site to breakdown perceptions of homelessness and for our clients to mix with a wide range of people.” A quarter of respondents believed that the activities carried out on the day raised service users’ aspirations. Linda Trew, from the Parent House, a charity that offers guidance to parents through training, one-to-one support and work placements, said: “The direct contact that our beneficiaries were able to experience with the world of work made all our efforts behind the scenes very worthwhile.”   Celebrate your volunteers this Give & Gain Day Whether you’ve registered for this year’s Give & Gain Day or have only just heard of it now, we would encourage you to take a moment during the week of the 16th May to celebrate the volunteers that support you. If you currently are engaging with corporate volunteers outside of Give & Gain Day, why not tell them about it and organise something with them the week of the 16th of May. You could also use Give & Gain Day as a perfect excuse to organise a meet up with your existing volunteers, reflecting on and celebrating their achievements and contributions to your charity! Whatever you end up doing, share you stories and pictures on Twitter and Instagram using #giveandgain Still got questions? Get in touch and let’s talk about how Give & Gain Day can support your work. Email: giveandgain@bitc.org.uk   Found this Blog 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    
    May 04, 2016 1507
  • 12 Apr 2016
    I want to tell you about my right knee. Have you got a minute? You see, I had surgery to reconstruct my Anterior Cruciate Ligament a couple of months ago and have been recovering since. Don’t worry, I won’t show you my scar, though it’s really cool. Next time, maybe. No, instead I want to tell you about the lessons I’ve learned while recovering, lessons that I think can be applied to charities. So, please read on. Balance patience and impatience I’ve learned that I need to be patient. Time is the greatest healer, and all that. Getting better will take a while. And yet I need to be impatient as well. I need to push it along a little, try exercises out, make it hurt a little in order to improve. And I’ve found balancing these two contradictory mindsets quite tricky. I’ve realised that we face this issue all the time in charities, particularly with fundraising. We need to think about long term goals while at the same time trying for ‘quick wins’ and doing the painful smaller jobs that will push us along the way. We need to have both sets of targets in our heads at the same time? Be patient and impatient. “Good leg to heaven. Bad leg to hell!” Stairs are a bit of a killer after knee surgery. As you’d expect, I suppose. But there’s a mantra that has helped me to remember the best way of tackling them. Start with your good leg if you’re going up, and start with your bad leg if you’re going down. Simple, but effective. But how is this applicable to charities? Well, leading with your ‘good leg’ and focusing on your strengths when things are on the up makes sense, doesn’t it? What is more counterintuitive is that when times are tough we need to focus even more on what’s not working so well. How can it be strengthened? Think about regression to the mean Sometimes, I’ve noticed that my knee pain on an afternoon, say, is greater than it was a few hours earlier. And this can be upsetting, until I remember that generally, things are a lot better than they were a week ago. In other words there are repeated blips but I need to focus on the overall trend. This is what is known as regression to the mean, and I think charities do not account for it enough. We tend to focus on short term blips, and think they indicate a broader trend. They don’t. Let’s ensure that our analysis has some decent longitudinal basis. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be paying attention to sudden peaks or troughs, but we need to ensure that what we infer from them is correct. “Don’t limp like House!” Hugh Laurie may have scared us all silly in The Night Manager recently, but I wanted to talk about a previous character of his, House M.D. Remember how House limped with his walking stick? When I progressed to a single crutch, my physio was quite clear in his instruction: “Don’t limp like House!” In other words, again counterintuitively, I learned to hold the crutch on my good side, rather than leaning into it on the other side. This was a general lesson to me, and I think for charities too. Our weaker areas grow stronger not when we lean into them or overly support them, but when we think about our function as a whole body. If a fundraising initiative isn’t working well, for example, assuming we can see potential and want it to grow, let’s consider how it fits into the work of the department and the organisation as a whole. How can we draw strength from our constituent parts? So there you have it. That’s what charities can learn from knee surgery recovery, all courtesy of my physio. Four simple… erm… steps to think about, and you’ll be up and running in no time. Found this blog post useful? You may also like:   5 free tools to share your organisation's story by Nisha Kotecha The Refugee Crisis: make a difference on your doorstep How Charities can tap into the hyperlocal by Zoe AmarBig Strong Heart: Tips for your Charity Challenge   
    2279 Posted by Richard Sved
  • I want to tell you about my right knee. Have you got a minute? You see, I had surgery to reconstruct my Anterior Cruciate Ligament a couple of months ago and have been recovering since. Don’t worry, I won’t show you my scar, though it’s really cool. Next time, maybe. No, instead I want to tell you about the lessons I’ve learned while recovering, lessons that I think can be applied to charities. So, please read on. Balance patience and impatience I’ve learned that I need to be patient. Time is the greatest healer, and all that. Getting better will take a while. And yet I need to be impatient as well. I need to push it along a little, try exercises out, make it hurt a little in order to improve. And I’ve found balancing these two contradictory mindsets quite tricky. I’ve realised that we face this issue all the time in charities, particularly with fundraising. We need to think about long term goals while at the same time trying for ‘quick wins’ and doing the painful smaller jobs that will push us along the way. We need to have both sets of targets in our heads at the same time? Be patient and impatient. “Good leg to heaven. Bad leg to hell!” Stairs are a bit of a killer after knee surgery. As you’d expect, I suppose. But there’s a mantra that has helped me to remember the best way of tackling them. Start with your good leg if you’re going up, and start with your bad leg if you’re going down. Simple, but effective. But how is this applicable to charities? Well, leading with your ‘good leg’ and focusing on your strengths when things are on the up makes sense, doesn’t it? What is more counterintuitive is that when times are tough we need to focus even more on what’s not working so well. How can it be strengthened? Think about regression to the mean Sometimes, I’ve noticed that my knee pain on an afternoon, say, is greater than it was a few hours earlier. And this can be upsetting, until I remember that generally, things are a lot better than they were a week ago. In other words there are repeated blips but I need to focus on the overall trend. This is what is known as regression to the mean, and I think charities do not account for it enough. We tend to focus on short term blips, and think they indicate a broader trend. They don’t. Let’s ensure that our analysis has some decent longitudinal basis. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be paying attention to sudden peaks or troughs, but we need to ensure that what we infer from them is correct. “Don’t limp like House!” Hugh Laurie may have scared us all silly in The Night Manager recently, but I wanted to talk about a previous character of his, House M.D. Remember how House limped with his walking stick? When I progressed to a single crutch, my physio was quite clear in his instruction: “Don’t limp like House!” In other words, again counterintuitively, I learned to hold the crutch on my good side, rather than leaning into it on the other side. This was a general lesson to me, and I think for charities too. Our weaker areas grow stronger not when we lean into them or overly support them, but when we think about our function as a whole body. If a fundraising initiative isn’t working well, for example, assuming we can see potential and want it to grow, let’s consider how it fits into the work of the department and the organisation as a whole. How can we draw strength from our constituent parts? So there you have it. That’s what charities can learn from knee surgery recovery, all courtesy of my physio. Four simple… erm… steps to think about, and you’ll be up and running in no time. Found this blog post useful? You may also like:   5 free tools to share your organisation's story by Nisha Kotecha The Refugee Crisis: make a difference on your doorstep How Charities can tap into the hyperlocal by Zoe AmarBig Strong Heart: Tips for your Charity Challenge   
    Apr 12, 2016 2279
  • 05 Apr 2016
    The UK is one of the richest countries in the world and yet 1 in 7 people live in food poverty - meaning they struggle to obtain healthy, nutritious food. Meanwhile, 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted every year, almost 50% of which comes from our homes. So, what can we do to tackle this? Here’s five tips to help you cut down. 1. Share - three technology solutions to help you connect with your community Olio is a free app which connects neighbours with each other and with local shops and cafes so surplus food can be shared, not thrown away. FareShare and the Irish social enterprise FoodCloud have announced a collaborative partnership designed to help UK retailers address the issue of edible surplus food. If you are a charity or community group that uses food to support people, you can sign up to FareShare FoodCloud and collect good quality, surplus food from Tesco stores for free! Casserole Club is an online platofrm that brings together volunteers to share extra portions of home-cooked food with people in their area who aren’t always able to cook for themselves. Currently operating in Staffordshire, Cheshire West and Chester. 2. Grow - local community groups across the UK are growing food Dorking Community Orchard is a nearly two acre site located on the western end of Dorking. The orchard is home to 100 fruit trees as well as several mature fruit and nut trees. The site is maintained as a community orchard. The site is free and open to the public. The Orchard is available for school groups and community events. The Growing Project Pensilva is a community business that delivers weekly veg boxes or fruit bags with  superb food grown locally to organic standards. The Growing Project provides people of all abilities and from all walks of life with the opportunity to learn new skills, socialise, get fit and gain valuable training and work experience. Everyone is welcome to come and join in, whether you’re a seasoned allotment-eer or an spade-less newbie. They convene every Wednesday from 10 a.m. and a hearty lunch is always provided. Bring your wellies! Petworth Community Garden is a group of local volunteers of all ages and abilities, who meet together weekly to tend their organic community garden. They share the gardening tasks, along with tea, cakes and seasonal soup, and each take home fresh, free, organic fruit and vegetables. 3. Learn - local community groups who support people to connect with their environment Sacred Earth is dedicated to supporting life and learning. They aim to assist in regenerative culture through nature connection. Their programmes, courses and community events are vessels to help people of all ages establish healthy relationships with themselves, with each other and with the more-than-human world of nature. From a medicinal herb garden to an organic and bio-dynamic farm. Global Generation connects people to each other and their natural world by creating hands-on and reflective opportunities. They combine activities such as supporting bees, carpentry, urban food growing, cooking, and eating together with dialogue, story, creative writing, silence and stillness.   4. Meet-up - local people working on community sustainability Blackshaw Environmental Action Team (BEAT) began as an environmental group but in the last few years has worked on broader sustainability issues. BEAT has installed a community wind turbine to generate a regular income for the community, created two community orchards in Blackshaw Head and helped to establish community allotments in Charlestown. Transition Network aims is to inspire, encourage, connect, support and train communities to self-organise around the Transition model, creating initiatives that rebuild resilience and reduce CO2 emissions. The Conservation Volunteers work across the UK to create healthier and happier communities for everyone - communities where their activities have a lasting impact on people’s health, prospects and outdoor places. 5. Get inspired ReJuice re-directs food surpluses from local markets/supermarkets and transforms it into healthy socio-enviro friendly soups and smoothies. Rubie in the Rubble makes handmade chutneys and jam, made as much as possible from surplus fruits and vegetables, fresh from farms and markets before they’re discarded. Toast Ale is made using a Belgian recipe that includes fresh, surplus bread that would otherwise be wasted. It has a malty taste similar to amber ales and wheat beers. All profits go to the charity Feedback to support the fight against food waste  
    1289 Posted by Cara Sanquest
  • The UK is one of the richest countries in the world and yet 1 in 7 people live in food poverty - meaning they struggle to obtain healthy, nutritious food. Meanwhile, 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted every year, almost 50% of which comes from our homes. So, what can we do to tackle this? Here’s five tips to help you cut down. 1. Share - three technology solutions to help you connect with your community Olio is a free app which connects neighbours with each other and with local shops and cafes so surplus food can be shared, not thrown away. FareShare and the Irish social enterprise FoodCloud have announced a collaborative partnership designed to help UK retailers address the issue of edible surplus food. If you are a charity or community group that uses food to support people, you can sign up to FareShare FoodCloud and collect good quality, surplus food from Tesco stores for free! Casserole Club is an online platofrm that brings together volunteers to share extra portions of home-cooked food with people in their area who aren’t always able to cook for themselves. Currently operating in Staffordshire, Cheshire West and Chester. 2. Grow - local community groups across the UK are growing food Dorking Community Orchard is a nearly two acre site located on the western end of Dorking. The orchard is home to 100 fruit trees as well as several mature fruit and nut trees. The site is maintained as a community orchard. The site is free and open to the public. The Orchard is available for school groups and community events. The Growing Project Pensilva is a community business that delivers weekly veg boxes or fruit bags with  superb food grown locally to organic standards. The Growing Project provides people of all abilities and from all walks of life with the opportunity to learn new skills, socialise, get fit and gain valuable training and work experience. Everyone is welcome to come and join in, whether you’re a seasoned allotment-eer or an spade-less newbie. They convene every Wednesday from 10 a.m. and a hearty lunch is always provided. Bring your wellies! Petworth Community Garden is a group of local volunteers of all ages and abilities, who meet together weekly to tend their organic community garden. They share the gardening tasks, along with tea, cakes and seasonal soup, and each take home fresh, free, organic fruit and vegetables. 3. Learn - local community groups who support people to connect with their environment Sacred Earth is dedicated to supporting life and learning. They aim to assist in regenerative culture through nature connection. Their programmes, courses and community events are vessels to help people of all ages establish healthy relationships with themselves, with each other and with the more-than-human world of nature. From a medicinal herb garden to an organic and bio-dynamic farm. Global Generation connects people to each other and their natural world by creating hands-on and reflective opportunities. They combine activities such as supporting bees, carpentry, urban food growing, cooking, and eating together with dialogue, story, creative writing, silence and stillness.   4. Meet-up - local people working on community sustainability Blackshaw Environmental Action Team (BEAT) began as an environmental group but in the last few years has worked on broader sustainability issues. BEAT has installed a community wind turbine to generate a regular income for the community, created two community orchards in Blackshaw Head and helped to establish community allotments in Charlestown. Transition Network aims is to inspire, encourage, connect, support and train communities to self-organise around the Transition model, creating initiatives that rebuild resilience and reduce CO2 emissions. The Conservation Volunteers work across the UK to create healthier and happier communities for everyone - communities where their activities have a lasting impact on people’s health, prospects and outdoor places. 5. Get inspired ReJuice re-directs food surpluses from local markets/supermarkets and transforms it into healthy socio-enviro friendly soups and smoothies. Rubie in the Rubble makes handmade chutneys and jam, made as much as possible from surplus fruits and vegetables, fresh from farms and markets before they’re discarded. Toast Ale is made using a Belgian recipe that includes fresh, surplus bread that would otherwise be wasted. It has a malty taste similar to amber ales and wheat beers. All profits go to the charity Feedback to support the fight against food waste  
    Apr 05, 2016 1289
  • 01 Apr 2016
    Becky Slack is founder and managing director of Slack Communications, and author of Effective Media Relations for Charities: what journalists want and how to deliver it. Recently I met with a volunteer clown who had been working with child refugees in Europe. He told me how, armed with a purple curly wig and a red nose, he had spent time on the Greek island of Lesvos, helping spread a little love and cheer among the families who had made the treacherous journey by boat from Syria. He described how the children, with their mucky faces and scared eyes, were at first very suspicious of his games and magic tricks, but before too long they would be grinning from ear to ear, all desperate to play along. The story of those children and the image it created in my mind really stuck with me. Much more so than the statistics I’ve read, or the calls for the refugees to be “resettled” (whatever that means) that have come from many aid organisations and politicians. Storytelling is a key component of effective communications. Neuroscience has taught us that humans learn and communicate best through stories. Fundraising research has highlighted how strong personal stories help supporters connect to the cause. Human interest stories form the foundation of most journalism. So how can charities create engaging stories about their work and the impact they achieve? 1. Tell real stories about real people People are interested in other people. They give money to help other people. They buy magazines and newspapers to read about other people. Therefore, charity stories should focus on people. From the people the organisation has helped to those who work and volunteer for, and donate to, the organisation, charities have a wealth of stories about real lives that they can share. Where possible, the person in the story should be allowed to speak for themselves; this can be a powerful way to demonstrate how an organisation makes a difference. For an excellent example of this in practice, check out Invisible People, an organisation that uses film to share the experiences of people who are homeless.   2. Use techniques used by traditional storytellers Traditional storytelling techniques involve characters – usually a protagonist and antagonist, and structures centred around themes such as conflict and resolution, or triumph over tragedy. These techniques translate perfectly to charity communications: could your charity or the person you helped be the hero? Can you identify a problem and explain how your organisation brought a resolution? The Invisible Children documentary about child soldiers in Africa provides a great example of this. The story has a bad guy (Warlord Joseph Kony), lots of good guys (the children, the charity workers, the donors), and it highlights how something terrible can be transformed into something positive (conflict and resolution). The story had a global impact with 100 million views over just six days and 3.7 million people pledging support.   3. Don’t be afraid to use emotion Charity communications should be centred around a number of key messages, the objective of which is to influence how people think, feel and behave, particularly in relation to the way in which they support your organisation. Psychologists and therapists use visual, audio and kinesthetic modalities to help the mind imagine different experiences. When an individual thinks about an emotional and/or sensory experience, parts of the brain light up as if they’re actually happening for real. Encouraging people to think about how they would feel in a particular situation helps immerse them in that story, and will help connect them to that experience. This means providing more than just a basic outline. To really visualize what is happening/has happened, the story needs to contain descriptions of the key elements, such as the location, the weather, the look on someone’s face, what they were wearing etc etc. A case in point is this story by the Guardian, which featured as part of its 2015 charity Christmas appeal and helped raise a record-breaking £2m.   4. Think about style, tone and format Minds wander, very quickly. If you haven’t grabbed someone’s attention in the first few seconds you will have lost them altogether. Opening with a question can be a good way of achieving this, as can introducing a tantalizing nugget of information that will leave audiences wanting more. The length of a story is also important, particularly in relation to digital media. While there are some occasions where long-read essays are welcomed, in the main online stories need to be short, sweet and concise. Language is also very important. Littering a story with complex technical terms will almost certainly turn people off. Use plain English at all times. For examples of charity jargon at its best (or worst, depending on which way you look at it), read Aidan Warner’s blog on charity clichés. It’s a couple of years old but the same sentiment still applies.   5. Make the most of photos, video and audio As the saying goes, a picture tells a thousand words. Photos, graphics, cartoons and illustrations can all be used to help convey complex ideas simply and effectively. Indeed, digital content, be it on Facebook, Twitter or websites, receives many more click-throughs and shares if accompanied by a photo. Video and audio can also be hugely impactful. A colleague of mine told me about the time she interviewed a number of donors about why they gave to her charity. These were then played to the entire organisation in a darkened theatre. Removing all other sensory elements while the team listened to the supporters was a hugely emotional and motivational experience for all those involved. WaterAid used images – both still and moving – to full effect as part of its The Big Dig. They armed their workers on the ground with smart phones and instructed them to report back on the progress made as they provided a village with clean water. Day-by-day, week-by-week, images of the build and stories of the villagers were uploaded, providing supporters with an almost real-time perspective on how their money was making a difference. In a world where we receive thousand of messages every day, standing out is difficult. Storytelling can help you cut through the clutter and engage people in powerful, emotive and inspiring messages. Tell a memorable story, and chances are your audience will remember you.     Found this Blog useful? You may also like:    The Power of Storytelling: Six Top Tips by Mike Zywina  Storytelling Tips for Charities by Becky Slack How to make friend with the media by Kay ParrisGet your charity’s voice heard by Duncan Hatfield        Image © WaterAid/ Jason Larkin/ Emily Fyso  
    4874 Posted by Becky Slack
  • Becky Slack is founder and managing director of Slack Communications, and author of Effective Media Relations for Charities: what journalists want and how to deliver it. Recently I met with a volunteer clown who had been working with child refugees in Europe. He told me how, armed with a purple curly wig and a red nose, he had spent time on the Greek island of Lesvos, helping spread a little love and cheer among the families who had made the treacherous journey by boat from Syria. He described how the children, with their mucky faces and scared eyes, were at first very suspicious of his games and magic tricks, but before too long they would be grinning from ear to ear, all desperate to play along. The story of those children and the image it created in my mind really stuck with me. Much more so than the statistics I’ve read, or the calls for the refugees to be “resettled” (whatever that means) that have come from many aid organisations and politicians. Storytelling is a key component of effective communications. Neuroscience has taught us that humans learn and communicate best through stories. Fundraising research has highlighted how strong personal stories help supporters connect to the cause. Human interest stories form the foundation of most journalism. So how can charities create engaging stories about their work and the impact they achieve? 1. Tell real stories about real people People are interested in other people. They give money to help other people. They buy magazines and newspapers to read about other people. Therefore, charity stories should focus on people. From the people the organisation has helped to those who work and volunteer for, and donate to, the organisation, charities have a wealth of stories about real lives that they can share. Where possible, the person in the story should be allowed to speak for themselves; this can be a powerful way to demonstrate how an organisation makes a difference. For an excellent example of this in practice, check out Invisible People, an organisation that uses film to share the experiences of people who are homeless.   2. Use techniques used by traditional storytellers Traditional storytelling techniques involve characters – usually a protagonist and antagonist, and structures centred around themes such as conflict and resolution, or triumph over tragedy. These techniques translate perfectly to charity communications: could your charity or the person you helped be the hero? Can you identify a problem and explain how your organisation brought a resolution? The Invisible Children documentary about child soldiers in Africa provides a great example of this. The story has a bad guy (Warlord Joseph Kony), lots of good guys (the children, the charity workers, the donors), and it highlights how something terrible can be transformed into something positive (conflict and resolution). The story had a global impact with 100 million views over just six days and 3.7 million people pledging support.   3. Don’t be afraid to use emotion Charity communications should be centred around a number of key messages, the objective of which is to influence how people think, feel and behave, particularly in relation to the way in which they support your organisation. Psychologists and therapists use visual, audio and kinesthetic modalities to help the mind imagine different experiences. When an individual thinks about an emotional and/or sensory experience, parts of the brain light up as if they’re actually happening for real. Encouraging people to think about how they would feel in a particular situation helps immerse them in that story, and will help connect them to that experience. This means providing more than just a basic outline. To really visualize what is happening/has happened, the story needs to contain descriptions of the key elements, such as the location, the weather, the look on someone’s face, what they were wearing etc etc. A case in point is this story by the Guardian, which featured as part of its 2015 charity Christmas appeal and helped raise a record-breaking £2m.   4. Think about style, tone and format Minds wander, very quickly. If you haven’t grabbed someone’s attention in the first few seconds you will have lost them altogether. Opening with a question can be a good way of achieving this, as can introducing a tantalizing nugget of information that will leave audiences wanting more. The length of a story is also important, particularly in relation to digital media. While there are some occasions where long-read essays are welcomed, in the main online stories need to be short, sweet and concise. Language is also very important. Littering a story with complex technical terms will almost certainly turn people off. Use plain English at all times. For examples of charity jargon at its best (or worst, depending on which way you look at it), read Aidan Warner’s blog on charity clichés. It’s a couple of years old but the same sentiment still applies.   5. Make the most of photos, video and audio As the saying goes, a picture tells a thousand words. Photos, graphics, cartoons and illustrations can all be used to help convey complex ideas simply and effectively. Indeed, digital content, be it on Facebook, Twitter or websites, receives many more click-throughs and shares if accompanied by a photo. Video and audio can also be hugely impactful. A colleague of mine told me about the time she interviewed a number of donors about why they gave to her charity. These were then played to the entire organisation in a darkened theatre. Removing all other sensory elements while the team listened to the supporters was a hugely emotional and motivational experience for all those involved. WaterAid used images – both still and moving – to full effect as part of its The Big Dig. They armed their workers on the ground with smart phones and instructed them to report back on the progress made as they provided a village with clean water. Day-by-day, week-by-week, images of the build and stories of the villagers were uploaded, providing supporters with an almost real-time perspective on how their money was making a difference. In a world where we receive thousand of messages every day, standing out is difficult. Storytelling can help you cut through the clutter and engage people in powerful, emotive and inspiring messages. Tell a memorable story, and chances are your audience will remember you.     Found this Blog useful? You may also like:    The Power of Storytelling: Six Top Tips by Mike Zywina  Storytelling Tips for Charities by Becky Slack How to make friend with the media by Kay ParrisGet your charity’s voice heard by Duncan Hatfield        Image © WaterAid/ Jason Larkin/ Emily Fyso  
    Apr 01, 2016 4874
  • 01 Apr 2016
    James Rees, Anthony Nutt Senior Research Fellow, The Open University Business School These are difficult and unsettling times for voluntary organisations – with resource constraints, increasing media scrutiny, and turbulence in public perceptions being added to the ongoing challenge of responding to public policies and diverse social needs.  In such times of uncertainty it is more important than ever that organisations have effective leadership; and particular concern has been expressed about the need for smaller organisations in the sector to develop and enhance their leadership skills. Leadership skills, of course, can be applied at different levels of organisations. New sector resource from The Open University It is against this backdrop, and thanks to a generous donation by an alumnus, Anthony Nutt, that the Open University Business School has established a new resource that provides access to free leadership courses and knowledge for voluntary sector organisations. The Centre for Voluntary Sector Leadership builds on research and expertise within the university and aims to progress new research of particular relevance to the leadership challenges faced by smaller organisations. Smaller organisations make up the majority of the sector – they really represent the backbone of much voluntary and community effort – but in many ways have been under-researched and many issues facing them are poorly understood. The Centre will work with stakeholders from academic, practitioner and policy groups to advance understanding of the complex issues voluntary organisations face, the ambiguities of stakeholder responsibilities and accountabilities, and the dynamics caused by changing public policies.  As well as providing free leadership development opportunities, it will lead on new areas of research and help to disseminate best practice and new thinking. Free courses The first online course, Introducing the Voluntary Sector, is eight weeks long and is now available on the free learning website OpenLearn. Involving three hours of study each week, the course covers the structure of the UK voluntary sector, funding issues, stakeholders and the role of volunteering.   It is a Badged Open Course (BOC), which means that on completing the course, each learner will get a digital badge and certificate of participation. This can be shared on social media profiles, made public in the learner’s OpenLearn profile, and can help build confidence by providing a record of achievement. Working in the Voluntary Sector, the second course from the new Centre, focuses on the practicalities of working or volunteering in voluntary and community organisations including: working with volunteers; marketing and communication; budgets; fundraising; taking part in meetings; working in teams and partnerships; and building resilience.  This course will be available later in the year and is also a BOC. Two further free courses focusing on leadership will be available in Autumn 2016.  The courses are open for anyone interested in learning about and developing leadership in the context of voluntary organisations.  You do not need to be in a position of seniority to enrol.  Volunteers and professional staff at any level are welcome; indeed a key argument made in the courses is that leadership can come from many levels.   Found this Blog useful? You may also like:    Storytelling Tips for Charities by Becky Slack How to make friend with the media by Kay ParrisGet your charity’s voice heard by Duncan Hatfield      
    1878 Posted by James Rees
  • James Rees, Anthony Nutt Senior Research Fellow, The Open University Business School These are difficult and unsettling times for voluntary organisations – with resource constraints, increasing media scrutiny, and turbulence in public perceptions being added to the ongoing challenge of responding to public policies and diverse social needs.  In such times of uncertainty it is more important than ever that organisations have effective leadership; and particular concern has been expressed about the need for smaller organisations in the sector to develop and enhance their leadership skills. Leadership skills, of course, can be applied at different levels of organisations. New sector resource from The Open University It is against this backdrop, and thanks to a generous donation by an alumnus, Anthony Nutt, that the Open University Business School has established a new resource that provides access to free leadership courses and knowledge for voluntary sector organisations. The Centre for Voluntary Sector Leadership builds on research and expertise within the university and aims to progress new research of particular relevance to the leadership challenges faced by smaller organisations. Smaller organisations make up the majority of the sector – they really represent the backbone of much voluntary and community effort – but in many ways have been under-researched and many issues facing them are poorly understood. The Centre will work with stakeholders from academic, practitioner and policy groups to advance understanding of the complex issues voluntary organisations face, the ambiguities of stakeholder responsibilities and accountabilities, and the dynamics caused by changing public policies.  As well as providing free leadership development opportunities, it will lead on new areas of research and help to disseminate best practice and new thinking. Free courses The first online course, Introducing the Voluntary Sector, is eight weeks long and is now available on the free learning website OpenLearn. Involving three hours of study each week, the course covers the structure of the UK voluntary sector, funding issues, stakeholders and the role of volunteering.   It is a Badged Open Course (BOC), which means that on completing the course, each learner will get a digital badge and certificate of participation. This can be shared on social media profiles, made public in the learner’s OpenLearn profile, and can help build confidence by providing a record of achievement. Working in the Voluntary Sector, the second course from the new Centre, focuses on the practicalities of working or volunteering in voluntary and community organisations including: working with volunteers; marketing and communication; budgets; fundraising; taking part in meetings; working in teams and partnerships; and building resilience.  This course will be available later in the year and is also a BOC. Two further free courses focusing on leadership will be available in Autumn 2016.  The courses are open for anyone interested in learning about and developing leadership in the context of voluntary organisations.  You do not need to be in a position of seniority to enrol.  Volunteers and professional staff at any level are welcome; indeed a key argument made in the courses is that leadership can come from many levels.   Found this Blog useful? You may also like:    Storytelling Tips for Charities by Becky Slack How to make friend with the media by Kay ParrisGet your charity’s voice heard by Duncan Hatfield      
    Apr 01, 2016 1878
  • 16 Mar 2016
    Mike Zywina is an experienced fundraiser and the founder of Lime Green Consulting, providing affordable consultancy to smaller charities specialising in fundraising strategy, events management and individual giving. He is also a trustee for AbleChildAfrica and an ambassador for Good News Shared.  Sunday 20 March is World Storytelling Day, an annual celebration of the art of storytelling. Given that charities typically have a wealth of inspirational material at their fingertips, this is a timely reminder of what we could achieve if we used stories more to inspire our supporters and share our key messages. There’s no doubt about it, the humble story is still holding its own. In a world full of data, statistics and spreadsheets, there are loads of ways that charities can demonstrate their impressive impact and the hard-hitting reality of the problem they’re trying to solve. Yet studies have repeatedly proved that most people are more inspired by a great story, a compelling case study, and the impact their donation can have on a single beneficiary. Stories captivate us on an emotional level in a way that rational facts rarely can – and many of us trust our heart over our head when making decisions such as donating to a charity or buying a product. Stories can burn an image onto our brain and help us to make sense of the world and our experiences. They’re a bigger driver of our behaviour than many of us realise. Commercial Storytelling Many companies are brilliant at exploiting this. Frequently the story dominates to such an extent that the product is barely mentioned. The John Lewis Christmas advert feels like the official opening ceremony for the festive period these days – who can forget last year’s man on the moon? This love story about milk bottles is actually about something completely different, but you wouldn’t know it until the very end.   Charities are learning fast Charities are increasingly harnessing the power of storytelling to stand out in a world where there are thousands of good causes competing for our donations and attention. As charities, we enjoy the natural advantage of having powerful and inspiring stories to tell. We support people who battle against personal challenges, often showing huge courage in the face of adversity. Our heroic supporters dedicate their time, energy and creativity to volunteering and quirky fundraising efforts. Telling a story is a great way of explaining your vision of a better world and what needs to change. Stories are memorable and easy for your supporters to share with others, and they motivate staff and volunteers. In a world where we are more interconnected than ever, this is really powerful. A great example is the remarkable story of Stephen Sutton, who turned his battle with cancer into a £4million fundraising effort for Teenage Cancer Trust. Stephen’s personal story inspired millions of people to take action in a way that no statistic or charity newsletter could have done. Stories are a great ‘leveller’ for smaller charities You may not have the budget for that expensive marketing campaign or fundraising app, but your stories cost nothing to find and little to share. However, in my experience, many charities don’t capitalise on this, perhaps because they don’t take the time to look within themselves for a great story, or don’t realise quite how inspirational that story could be. Here are my six top tips for telling your own powerful stories: 1. Delve deep into your organisation – trustees and senior management don’t have a monopoly on good ideas. The best stories are unlikely to emerge from your boardroom. You need to engage project staff, volunteers, beneficiaries and fundraisers. This is a great way to find authentic content and engage everybody from top to bottom in the task of finding the story that best represents your cause. 2. Keep it positive – evidence shows that people are tired of ‘traditional’ charity appeals about suffering and pain. Increasingly we must deal in hope, change and happy endings. If you’re looking for inspiration then I’m proud to be an ambassador for Good News Shared, a website which shares brilliant stories that showcase the positive and inspiring work done by charities and social enterprises. Check out www.goodnewsshared.com for some storytelling inspiration 3. Faces not figures – a personal story is always more memorable than even a powerful statistic. Make your story about one inspiring individual and include photos and background information to make it feel more authentic. 4. Mix your media – no matter how good the story, too much text will always put people off. We live in a world full of videos, audio books and infographics, and organisations are finding ever more creative ways to share their content. So keep the text to a minimum, use plenty of vivid images and try creating a video of your story – it doesn't have to be professionally produced to be engaging. 5. Make it easy to share – why do all the hard work yourself? Every person has the potential to spread the word to others. You never know who may mention you to a company, trust or high value donor. Encourage supporters to share your stories by making them clear, memorable, short and bursting with pride. 6. What next? Don’t leave your supporters wondering what they can do to help. Finish with a clear call to action – this could be a request to donate a certain amount, sign up to an event or share the story on social media. Why not mark this year’s World Storytelling Day by spending a few minutes thinking about how your charity can be better at storytelling? Here’s some further inspiration to help you: The NCVO has published a piece by Rowan Boase on how to ‘storify’ the information that you share about your outcomes and impact This great blog by Nisha Kotecha, the Founder of Good News Shared, provides some practical tools for sharing your story Check out Localgiving’s Local Hero campaign which celebrates all the brilliant stories being created by fantastic fundraisers as they accomplish great feats in the name of raising money for local causes For further advice on supporter communication and fundraising, please visit www.limegreenconsulting.co.uk or download our free fundraising helpsheets.   Found this blog post useful? You may also like:   Storytelling Tips for Charities by Becky Slack 5 free tools to share your organisation's story by Nisha Kotecha How to make friend with the media by Kay ParrisGet your charity’s voice heard by Duncan Hatfield How Charities can tap into the hyperlocal by Zoe Amar  
    4988 Posted by Mike Zywina
  • Mike Zywina is an experienced fundraiser and the founder of Lime Green Consulting, providing affordable consultancy to smaller charities specialising in fundraising strategy, events management and individual giving. He is also a trustee for AbleChildAfrica and an ambassador for Good News Shared.  Sunday 20 March is World Storytelling Day, an annual celebration of the art of storytelling. Given that charities typically have a wealth of inspirational material at their fingertips, this is a timely reminder of what we could achieve if we used stories more to inspire our supporters and share our key messages. There’s no doubt about it, the humble story is still holding its own. In a world full of data, statistics and spreadsheets, there are loads of ways that charities can demonstrate their impressive impact and the hard-hitting reality of the problem they’re trying to solve. Yet studies have repeatedly proved that most people are more inspired by a great story, a compelling case study, and the impact their donation can have on a single beneficiary. Stories captivate us on an emotional level in a way that rational facts rarely can – and many of us trust our heart over our head when making decisions such as donating to a charity or buying a product. Stories can burn an image onto our brain and help us to make sense of the world and our experiences. They’re a bigger driver of our behaviour than many of us realise. Commercial Storytelling Many companies are brilliant at exploiting this. Frequently the story dominates to such an extent that the product is barely mentioned. The John Lewis Christmas advert feels like the official opening ceremony for the festive period these days – who can forget last year’s man on the moon? This love story about milk bottles is actually about something completely different, but you wouldn’t know it until the very end.   Charities are learning fast Charities are increasingly harnessing the power of storytelling to stand out in a world where there are thousands of good causes competing for our donations and attention. As charities, we enjoy the natural advantage of having powerful and inspiring stories to tell. We support people who battle against personal challenges, often showing huge courage in the face of adversity. Our heroic supporters dedicate their time, energy and creativity to volunteering and quirky fundraising efforts. Telling a story is a great way of explaining your vision of a better world and what needs to change. Stories are memorable and easy for your supporters to share with others, and they motivate staff and volunteers. In a world where we are more interconnected than ever, this is really powerful. A great example is the remarkable story of Stephen Sutton, who turned his battle with cancer into a £4million fundraising effort for Teenage Cancer Trust. Stephen’s personal story inspired millions of people to take action in a way that no statistic or charity newsletter could have done. Stories are a great ‘leveller’ for smaller charities You may not have the budget for that expensive marketing campaign or fundraising app, but your stories cost nothing to find and little to share. However, in my experience, many charities don’t capitalise on this, perhaps because they don’t take the time to look within themselves for a great story, or don’t realise quite how inspirational that story could be. Here are my six top tips for telling your own powerful stories: 1. Delve deep into your organisation – trustees and senior management don’t have a monopoly on good ideas. The best stories are unlikely to emerge from your boardroom. You need to engage project staff, volunteers, beneficiaries and fundraisers. This is a great way to find authentic content and engage everybody from top to bottom in the task of finding the story that best represents your cause. 2. Keep it positive – evidence shows that people are tired of ‘traditional’ charity appeals about suffering and pain. Increasingly we must deal in hope, change and happy endings. If you’re looking for inspiration then I’m proud to be an ambassador for Good News Shared, a website which shares brilliant stories that showcase the positive and inspiring work done by charities and social enterprises. Check out www.goodnewsshared.com for some storytelling inspiration 3. Faces not figures – a personal story is always more memorable than even a powerful statistic. Make your story about one inspiring individual and include photos and background information to make it feel more authentic. 4. Mix your media – no matter how good the story, too much text will always put people off. We live in a world full of videos, audio books and infographics, and organisations are finding ever more creative ways to share their content. So keep the text to a minimum, use plenty of vivid images and try creating a video of your story – it doesn't have to be professionally produced to be engaging. 5. Make it easy to share – why do all the hard work yourself? Every person has the potential to spread the word to others. You never know who may mention you to a company, trust or high value donor. Encourage supporters to share your stories by making them clear, memorable, short and bursting with pride. 6. What next? Don’t leave your supporters wondering what they can do to help. Finish with a clear call to action – this could be a request to donate a certain amount, sign up to an event or share the story on social media. Why not mark this year’s World Storytelling Day by spending a few minutes thinking about how your charity can be better at storytelling? Here’s some further inspiration to help you: The NCVO has published a piece by Rowan Boase on how to ‘storify’ the information that you share about your outcomes and impact This great blog by Nisha Kotecha, the Founder of Good News Shared, provides some practical tools for sharing your story Check out Localgiving’s Local Hero campaign which celebrates all the brilliant stories being created by fantastic fundraisers as they accomplish great feats in the name of raising money for local causes For further advice on supporter communication and fundraising, please visit www.limegreenconsulting.co.uk or download our free fundraising helpsheets.   Found this blog post useful? You may also like:   Storytelling Tips for Charities by Becky Slack 5 free tools to share your organisation's story by Nisha Kotecha How to make friend with the media by Kay ParrisGet your charity’s voice heard by Duncan Hatfield How Charities can tap into the hyperlocal by Zoe Amar  
    Mar 16, 2016 4988
  • 07 Mar 2016
     Duncan is communications officer at CharityComms. He runs the Digital Benchmark and AskCharity service. A philosophy and politics graduate of Manchester University, Duncan spent three months after university in Burkina Faso volunteering with International Service. AskCharity is a free service, run by CharityComms, which connects charities with journalists. Over 3,000 charities currently use the service to get their stories in the press, with hundreds of active journalists sending out thousands of emails every week. Its premise is simple: journalists send out requests for stories to a database of charity representatives, who then respond to any requests they think they can help with. The service sees over 20 requests go out a week and leads to stories across the media, from ITV to The Sun to The Guardian to Fabulous on topics ranging from surrogate mothers to firework phobias. And best of all, it’s free and easy to sign up. Through AskCharity, just a few emails can secure your charity some positive press – just look at how Rethink and Mind got positive coverage of mental illness.   Now you've signed your charity up, how can you make the most of it? These five tips are a good place to start: Understand what journalists are looking for – read the publications you want to be featured in to get a feel for the type of stories they like. Reflect this in your response to the journalist’s request. Know their target audience and include key details to reflect it – age and occupation of case studies, their story (or a synopsis of it) and how it fits the request. There's more on what journalists look for in this interview with freelance journalist Jill Foster. Be clear in your responses – you don’t necessarily have to reveal your case study or story immediately, particularly if it’s sensitive, but do make it clear what you need to know first. So ask for their angle, if copy approval will be given (most journalists are happy to allow read backs) and anything else you need to know. Don’t just say ‘feel free to call me’ – requests are going out to thousands of charities so don’t expect to be the only person the journalist’s dealing with. Likewise, make sure to meet deadlines – this all helps to build up a good relationship with a journalist. Size isn’t everything – journalists are looking for new angles and new ideas, so small charities, who people haven’t heard from before, may be exactly what they’re looking for.Take it from Kate Hilpern, who's written for everyone from the Daily Express to Good Housekeeping: “How I would love to see some of the smaller ones getting their amazing and stirring stories out there.” You can see her wish list for how charities can help journalists here. Don’t be downhearted if you don’t get a response, but always be prepared – the requests go out to thousands of people, so it may be that the journalist was overwhelmed with responses and yours wasn't quite the best match. Rest assured, when it is, you’ll hear back. Try to have in mind a few people who might make for interesting stories so you can respond quickly and effortlessly to requests. Remember the Answer Service isn’t the only avenue to secure coverage - there’s also the search function, where journalists with a specific interest can find the charity allied to that cause. Make sure to set up a clear page for your charity with all the basic info on what your charity does (so a journalist can easily search for you) and up to date contact details (including name and job title so journalists know who they’re contacting), so if your charity happens to match a story, you’ll be the first to know.   Here’s what charities using AskCharity think of it: “AskCharity has become one of the most useful PR resources for me in my role at DEBRA. It not only helps us pitch for slots we may not have previously known about, it’s also helped me build up a great media contact list.” Sara McIlroy, marketing and PR officer, DEBRA “Through AskCharity we've secured direct media coverage and worked with journalists to expand ideas for articles and features. It's also helped us make new contacts and build on-going relationships with the media.” Kellie Stewart, communications manager, Bliss Connect with journalists who want to tell your stories: sign up for free here. Or to find out more, read our AskCharity FAQs here.   Found this Blog useful? You may also like:   The Power of Storytelling: Six Top Tips by Mike Zywina   A-Z of Fundraising Ideas by Localgiving 5 free tools to share your organisation's story by Nisha Kotecha       Image courtesy of Jon S/6277209256
    2345 Posted by Duncan Hatfield
  •  Duncan is communications officer at CharityComms. He runs the Digital Benchmark and AskCharity service. A philosophy and politics graduate of Manchester University, Duncan spent three months after university in Burkina Faso volunteering with International Service. AskCharity is a free service, run by CharityComms, which connects charities with journalists. Over 3,000 charities currently use the service to get their stories in the press, with hundreds of active journalists sending out thousands of emails every week. Its premise is simple: journalists send out requests for stories to a database of charity representatives, who then respond to any requests they think they can help with. The service sees over 20 requests go out a week and leads to stories across the media, from ITV to The Sun to The Guardian to Fabulous on topics ranging from surrogate mothers to firework phobias. And best of all, it’s free and easy to sign up. Through AskCharity, just a few emails can secure your charity some positive press – just look at how Rethink and Mind got positive coverage of mental illness.   Now you've signed your charity up, how can you make the most of it? These five tips are a good place to start: Understand what journalists are looking for – read the publications you want to be featured in to get a feel for the type of stories they like. Reflect this in your response to the journalist’s request. Know their target audience and include key details to reflect it – age and occupation of case studies, their story (or a synopsis of it) and how it fits the request. There's more on what journalists look for in this interview with freelance journalist Jill Foster. Be clear in your responses – you don’t necessarily have to reveal your case study or story immediately, particularly if it’s sensitive, but do make it clear what you need to know first. So ask for their angle, if copy approval will be given (most journalists are happy to allow read backs) and anything else you need to know. Don’t just say ‘feel free to call me’ – requests are going out to thousands of charities so don’t expect to be the only person the journalist’s dealing with. Likewise, make sure to meet deadlines – this all helps to build up a good relationship with a journalist. Size isn’t everything – journalists are looking for new angles and new ideas, so small charities, who people haven’t heard from before, may be exactly what they’re looking for.Take it from Kate Hilpern, who's written for everyone from the Daily Express to Good Housekeeping: “How I would love to see some of the smaller ones getting their amazing and stirring stories out there.” You can see her wish list for how charities can help journalists here. Don’t be downhearted if you don’t get a response, but always be prepared – the requests go out to thousands of people, so it may be that the journalist was overwhelmed with responses and yours wasn't quite the best match. Rest assured, when it is, you’ll hear back. Try to have in mind a few people who might make for interesting stories so you can respond quickly and effortlessly to requests. Remember the Answer Service isn’t the only avenue to secure coverage - there’s also the search function, where journalists with a specific interest can find the charity allied to that cause. Make sure to set up a clear page for your charity with all the basic info on what your charity does (so a journalist can easily search for you) and up to date contact details (including name and job title so journalists know who they’re contacting), so if your charity happens to match a story, you’ll be the first to know.   Here’s what charities using AskCharity think of it: “AskCharity has become one of the most useful PR resources for me in my role at DEBRA. It not only helps us pitch for slots we may not have previously known about, it’s also helped me build up a great media contact list.” Sara McIlroy, marketing and PR officer, DEBRA “Through AskCharity we've secured direct media coverage and worked with journalists to expand ideas for articles and features. It's also helped us make new contacts and build on-going relationships with the media.” Kellie Stewart, communications manager, Bliss Connect with journalists who want to tell your stories: sign up for free here. Or to find out more, read our AskCharity FAQs here.   Found this Blog useful? You may also like:   The Power of Storytelling: Six Top Tips by Mike Zywina   A-Z of Fundraising Ideas by Localgiving 5 free tools to share your organisation's story by Nisha Kotecha       Image courtesy of Jon S/6277209256
    Mar 07, 2016 2345
  • 02 Mar 2016
    ...and why your premises should mean as much to you as your colleagues   So what is the state of your organisation’s bricks and mortar? Possibly not a question to fire the imagination of the average volunteer or community group for it is, of course, your communities which inspire you to deliver those small miracles every day.  Yet this is a vital question. After staff costs, property is always the second biggest budget item for any voluntary organisation, and as the Charity Commission will tell you, is one of the biggest areas of concern for charities seeking help. My own organisation the Ethical Property Foundation was set up in 2004 with the mission to support charities and voluntary groups with expert property advice, free at the point of access. We have advised 3000+ clients to date and last February became lead referral partners to the Charity Commission for land and property advice. These are tough times for our sector, and it has never been more important to understand the how vital property is. It is the second biggest item out of our sector’s £39bn general annual expenditure and the sector owns operating premises worth £22bn - unsurprisingly statistics for a sector comprising 160,000 organisations and employing 820,000 people. (NCVO Civil Society Almanac 2015) Yes, we are a sector worth listening to about property. However,  as we know, we are too often written off as cheap and cheerful and, by implication, unimportant. This has to stop. What we need is a clear picture of the sector’s property challenges and opportunities so we can talk to policy makers, local authorities and the property. Hence why I am now asking for your help. Charity Property Matters Survey 2016 This month the third Charity Property Matters Survey 2016 is launched by the Ethical Property Foundation 2016 in partnership with Charity Commission. This is the only one of its kind which asks voluntary groups about property. It just takes five minutes so please help us help the sector – Click here to complete survey Every week in our office we talk to voluntary and community groups about their property issues. Below are our top 10 property tips to consider for a confident property future: Review your budget. Has your organisation fully factored in the costs of running your premises: maintenance, utilities, security, service charges, etc? Are the calculations based on figures from a reliable source - the owner / landlord / a survey or guesswork? Check what repairs and maintenance obligations your organisation has with regard to the building. Have you planned how to meet these costs? Have you taken professional advice on the terms of your lease to ensure you are getting the best possible deal? If your organisation is taking on a building, ensure it has commissioned a condition survey to highlight potential problems and advise on the correct planned maintenance. Does your organisation have a planned maintenance schedule? When was the last condition survey? Has your organisation set aside money in the budget as a ‘sinking fund’? – a pot for unplanned premises expenditure should an emergency arise. How would you meet any unplanned costs?  How do you plan to / currently raise income from your building? Is the asset being used effectively? Are there other potential uses that are being missed? Re-read your business plan. Are premises needs included? Has could these needs may change over time? Check who on your team is responsible for looking after the premises in their job description? Check they have the proper training, knowledge and support. If your board decides that the organisation should rent space to other charities, are there proper tenant agreements in place? How is this managed? Is there space? Who are the tenants? As you can see property is quite a business! Do contact the Ethical Property Foundation if ever you need property support – and please Click here to complete survey   Found this Blog useful? You may also like:    Storytelling Tips for Charities by Becky Slack How to make friend with the media by Kay ParrisGet your charity’s voice heard by Duncan HatfieldDon’t save you Pitch for the Elevator by Emma Beeston    
    928 Posted by Antonia Swinson
  • ...and why your premises should mean as much to you as your colleagues   So what is the state of your organisation’s bricks and mortar? Possibly not a question to fire the imagination of the average volunteer or community group for it is, of course, your communities which inspire you to deliver those small miracles every day.  Yet this is a vital question. After staff costs, property is always the second biggest budget item for any voluntary organisation, and as the Charity Commission will tell you, is one of the biggest areas of concern for charities seeking help. My own organisation the Ethical Property Foundation was set up in 2004 with the mission to support charities and voluntary groups with expert property advice, free at the point of access. We have advised 3000+ clients to date and last February became lead referral partners to the Charity Commission for land and property advice. These are tough times for our sector, and it has never been more important to understand the how vital property is. It is the second biggest item out of our sector’s £39bn general annual expenditure and the sector owns operating premises worth £22bn - unsurprisingly statistics for a sector comprising 160,000 organisations and employing 820,000 people. (NCVO Civil Society Almanac 2015) Yes, we are a sector worth listening to about property. However,  as we know, we are too often written off as cheap and cheerful and, by implication, unimportant. This has to stop. What we need is a clear picture of the sector’s property challenges and opportunities so we can talk to policy makers, local authorities and the property. Hence why I am now asking for your help. Charity Property Matters Survey 2016 This month the third Charity Property Matters Survey 2016 is launched by the Ethical Property Foundation 2016 in partnership with Charity Commission. This is the only one of its kind which asks voluntary groups about property. It just takes five minutes so please help us help the sector – Click here to complete survey Every week in our office we talk to voluntary and community groups about their property issues. Below are our top 10 property tips to consider for a confident property future: Review your budget. Has your organisation fully factored in the costs of running your premises: maintenance, utilities, security, service charges, etc? Are the calculations based on figures from a reliable source - the owner / landlord / a survey or guesswork? Check what repairs and maintenance obligations your organisation has with regard to the building. Have you planned how to meet these costs? Have you taken professional advice on the terms of your lease to ensure you are getting the best possible deal? If your organisation is taking on a building, ensure it has commissioned a condition survey to highlight potential problems and advise on the correct planned maintenance. Does your organisation have a planned maintenance schedule? When was the last condition survey? Has your organisation set aside money in the budget as a ‘sinking fund’? – a pot for unplanned premises expenditure should an emergency arise. How would you meet any unplanned costs?  How do you plan to / currently raise income from your building? Is the asset being used effectively? Are there other potential uses that are being missed? Re-read your business plan. Are premises needs included? Has could these needs may change over time? Check who on your team is responsible for looking after the premises in their job description? Check they have the proper training, knowledge and support. If your board decides that the organisation should rent space to other charities, are there proper tenant agreements in place? How is this managed? Is there space? Who are the tenants? As you can see property is quite a business! Do contact the Ethical Property Foundation if ever you need property support – and please Click here to complete survey   Found this Blog useful? You may also like:    Storytelling Tips for Charities by Becky Slack How to make friend with the media by Kay ParrisGet your charity’s voice heard by Duncan HatfieldDon’t save you Pitch for the Elevator by Emma Beeston    
    Mar 02, 2016 928