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  • 01 Mar 2016
    Mike Bright is the founder of Help From Home, an initiative that promotes and encourages people to participate in easy, no-commitment, microvolunteering opportunities. Mike has been involved in the microvolunteering arena since 2005, initially as a participant and then more fully from December 2008 with his 'Help From Home' initiative. He is considered one of the pioneers of the microvolunteering concept, as well as the organiser behind Microvolunteering Day that occurs every April 15th. In 2011, the United Nations published a report in which it highlighted three of the fastest growing trends in volunteering around the world, one of them being microvolunteering. Five years on, and the concept still shows no sign of abating. To borrow a definition from the Institute of Volunteering Research, 'microvolunteering is bite-size volunteering with no commitment to repeat and with minimum formality, involving short and specific actions that are quick to start and complete'. The vast majority of microvolunteering tasks can be conducted online, on-demand, and on-the-go, whilst sporting a completion time of between 1 – 120 minutes, but more usually a maximum 30.   For Volunteers If you’re a volunteer looking to squeeze in a bit of bite-sized benevolence within your busy lifestyle, then microvolunteering may be the answer.  You could be helping to cure cancer, researching penguins in the Arctic, or describing pictures for the blind, all from the comfort of your own home, during your work lunchbreak, or in the supermarket check-out queue. Basically, the actions come to you, and not the other way round – a far cry then from traditional volunteering activities. Useful websites to seek out these microvolunteering opportunities are Help From Home, SkillsForChange, and CrowdCrafting. For Nonprofits Creating a microvolunteering action that perhaps only lasts 10 minutes might seem a bit daunting, especially when most volunteer managers' question the time taken to create an action is worth the impact generated from it. Well, it all depends on what type of action you're creating. Typically there are three different types: One-off, non-repeatable skilled actions. Examples include logo design, a small bit of translation, proofreading a document etc. Such tasks could be described and uploaded to the very pro-active SkillsForChange microvolunteering platform in about 10 minutes Repeatable skilled actions. Check out PhotoFoundation for an example of this type of task. Invite your supporters to use their photography skills to submit images to their platform, which in turn then have the potential to earn a royalties income for your nonprofit Repeatable unskilled actions. These actions can range from being as simple as tapping in to your supporters' social reach using Justcoz, or conversely being as complex and costly to create like Fraxinus, a pattern recognition Facebook game to save UK Ash trees Help From Home probably has the most definitive resource on creating micro-actions in cyberland, that includes 'How To' Guides, micro-task suggestions, photos of microvolunteering events, as well as ideas on how to generate discussions on the concept amongst your supporters. Growing Trends The microvolunteering arena seems to be constantly challenging the pre-conceived ideas of how volunteering can be conducted. With the internet's reach becoming all pervasive, it's been suggested that people could potentially participate in micro-actions in-flight on airplanes, on cruise ships during activity sessions, as well as by hotel overnighters in their rooms – all places where traditional volunteering simply cannot reach. But what of the current and growing trends within the microvolunteering arena? Students and volunteer centres are using their laptops to entice visitors to their pop-up stalls at volunteering fairs and the like to take part in on-demand tasks like FreeRice Some nonprofits have been renaming their more traditional bite-sized roles and calling them microvolunteering ones, eg Mariner Management More microvolunteering smartphone apps are being created which focus on a single volunteering action rather than as a gateway into a directory of volunteering opportunities Roughly 70% of microvolunteers are aged under 29, and approximately 75% of microvolunteers are female, according to this stats source Disabled people are tapping into the convenience of the microvolunteering concept The annual Microvolunteering Day on April 15th is going from strength to strength, and is now in its third year The term microvolunteering gained its’ first blip on the voluntary radar back in 2008, and over the years has been seen as either an evolution or a revolution in volunteering. With its huge potential to transform the way in which nonprofits and volunteers can crowdsource impact, a little effort really can go a long way!   Image courtesy of winnond, at FreeDigitalPhotos.net   Found this Blog useful? You may also like:  How to make friend with the media by Kay Parris How Charities can tap into the hyperlocal by Zoe Amar  The Power of Storytelling: Six Top Tips by Mike Zywina     
    1748 Posted by Mike Bright
  • Mike Bright is the founder of Help From Home, an initiative that promotes and encourages people to participate in easy, no-commitment, microvolunteering opportunities. Mike has been involved in the microvolunteering arena since 2005, initially as a participant and then more fully from December 2008 with his 'Help From Home' initiative. He is considered one of the pioneers of the microvolunteering concept, as well as the organiser behind Microvolunteering Day that occurs every April 15th. In 2011, the United Nations published a report in which it highlighted three of the fastest growing trends in volunteering around the world, one of them being microvolunteering. Five years on, and the concept still shows no sign of abating. To borrow a definition from the Institute of Volunteering Research, 'microvolunteering is bite-size volunteering with no commitment to repeat and with minimum formality, involving short and specific actions that are quick to start and complete'. The vast majority of microvolunteering tasks can be conducted online, on-demand, and on-the-go, whilst sporting a completion time of between 1 – 120 minutes, but more usually a maximum 30.   For Volunteers If you’re a volunteer looking to squeeze in a bit of bite-sized benevolence within your busy lifestyle, then microvolunteering may be the answer.  You could be helping to cure cancer, researching penguins in the Arctic, or describing pictures for the blind, all from the comfort of your own home, during your work lunchbreak, or in the supermarket check-out queue. Basically, the actions come to you, and not the other way round – a far cry then from traditional volunteering activities. Useful websites to seek out these microvolunteering opportunities are Help From Home, SkillsForChange, and CrowdCrafting. For Nonprofits Creating a microvolunteering action that perhaps only lasts 10 minutes might seem a bit daunting, especially when most volunteer managers' question the time taken to create an action is worth the impact generated from it. Well, it all depends on what type of action you're creating. Typically there are three different types: One-off, non-repeatable skilled actions. Examples include logo design, a small bit of translation, proofreading a document etc. Such tasks could be described and uploaded to the very pro-active SkillsForChange microvolunteering platform in about 10 minutes Repeatable skilled actions. Check out PhotoFoundation for an example of this type of task. Invite your supporters to use their photography skills to submit images to their platform, which in turn then have the potential to earn a royalties income for your nonprofit Repeatable unskilled actions. These actions can range from being as simple as tapping in to your supporters' social reach using Justcoz, or conversely being as complex and costly to create like Fraxinus, a pattern recognition Facebook game to save UK Ash trees Help From Home probably has the most definitive resource on creating micro-actions in cyberland, that includes 'How To' Guides, micro-task suggestions, photos of microvolunteering events, as well as ideas on how to generate discussions on the concept amongst your supporters. Growing Trends The microvolunteering arena seems to be constantly challenging the pre-conceived ideas of how volunteering can be conducted. With the internet's reach becoming all pervasive, it's been suggested that people could potentially participate in micro-actions in-flight on airplanes, on cruise ships during activity sessions, as well as by hotel overnighters in their rooms – all places where traditional volunteering simply cannot reach. But what of the current and growing trends within the microvolunteering arena? Students and volunteer centres are using their laptops to entice visitors to their pop-up stalls at volunteering fairs and the like to take part in on-demand tasks like FreeRice Some nonprofits have been renaming their more traditional bite-sized roles and calling them microvolunteering ones, eg Mariner Management More microvolunteering smartphone apps are being created which focus on a single volunteering action rather than as a gateway into a directory of volunteering opportunities Roughly 70% of microvolunteers are aged under 29, and approximately 75% of microvolunteers are female, according to this stats source Disabled people are tapping into the convenience of the microvolunteering concept The annual Microvolunteering Day on April 15th is going from strength to strength, and is now in its third year The term microvolunteering gained its’ first blip on the voluntary radar back in 2008, and over the years has been seen as either an evolution or a revolution in volunteering. With its huge potential to transform the way in which nonprofits and volunteers can crowdsource impact, a little effort really can go a long way!   Image courtesy of winnond, at FreeDigitalPhotos.net   Found this Blog useful? You may also like:  How to make friend with the media by Kay Parris How Charities can tap into the hyperlocal by Zoe Amar  The Power of Storytelling: Six Top Tips by Mike Zywina     
    Mar 01, 2016 1748
  • 25 Feb 2016
    Kay Parris is a freelance journalist and editor with substantial experience of the voluntary sector.  Strategic planning can seem like a daunting task, but it is simply a means to setting your charity’s goals and figuring out how to progress them. Just like a strategy for any other area of work, a communications strategy begins with the overall vision and purpose of the organisation. Specific goals about your messages and media channels then spring from that central purpose. Here’s a basic template: 1. Vision and mission There is no point planning any projects that won’t help your charity to achieve its purpose. Before you do anything else, ensure you fully understand what that purpose is. Get hold of your organisation’s vision and mission statements and reproduce them. The vision is how your charity sees the future. Oxfam’s vision, for example, is: “A just world without poverty”. The mission is your core purpose, your reason for existing. Oxfam’s mission is: “To create lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and social injustice”. Not every charity articulates a vision or a mission statement. Yet these brief statements are extremely valuable in helping an organisation to find its voice, focus clearly on its objectives and measure its own success. If you don’t have a vision or mission already, this could be the right moment to suggest or brainstorm one into being. It goes without saying – get any text agreed by the relevant people. 2. Set goals What are the key things your charity wants to achieve? Oxfam has six key goals arising out of its vision and mission, which include the following: • Champion equal rights for women • Safeguard global food supplies • Increase money for basic services You can agree goals to suit your charity’s context even if you do not have a mission statement. But it is easier to keep the goals focused and clear if you do. 3. Key messages What are the essential messages and values your charity wants to convey, in view of its mission and goals? In other words, what do you want people to know about you and the issues you are dealing with? Once the key messages are enshrined in your strategy document, you will have a reference point for the stories you choose to tell about your charity: do they reinforce your core messages, or could they risk undermining them?   4. Name your audiences The people who encounter, or could encounter, your messages will include internal and external audiences, those you already communicate with, and those you would like or may need to reach, for whatever reason. For example: -          members/supporters of the charity   -          volunteers – both current and former -          staff -          trustees -          press contacts -          funding agencies -          government bodies -          supporters of similar causes -          members of groups you have worked with -          members of the general public 5. Market assessment Present the results of any market research you have done (even if only a straw poll or a bit of googling) to show how your target audiences currently view your charity or its issues. What kind of information are these people likely to favour and in what format? 6. SWOT analysis Explain the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats you are working with from a communications point of view. You need to know about any constraints, and also about any potentially useful situations. The SWOT might reveal that you have a budget too tight for printing, for example, or a supporter base that lives in a dodgy wi-fi area. On the other hand, it might flag an annual event that presents a perfect awareness-raising opportunity. 7. Resources Indicate how much time and money, and how many people, can be allocated to driving your communications plan forward. Resist wishful thinking! 8. Communications tools Based on everything you have analysed so far, set out which communications channels you are planning to use. Newsletter, website, blogs, YouTube, Twitter, press/broadcast coverage, public meetings, leaflets, noticeboards – the options are endless but your resources and goals are not. Indicate the purposes intended for each channel. They could include: awareness-raising, attracting new members, raising funds, briefing volunteers. But how will these things happen? What kind of newsletter will it be? What kind of material will you be posting on YouTube, how often and why?  9. Timescales and targets: Include a list of key targets that you hope to meet through the communications strategy by a given date – often three years into the future. Perhaps you are anticipating an increase in web traffic, or a target number of social media followers, new supporters or members. Be sensible about this. It’s great to be ambitious, but there is nothing like falling short of unrealistic targets to demotivate hardworking staff or volunteers. 10. Review and adapt Return to the strategy periodically (say once a year) to review your tools, activities and messages. Consider how well they are reaching their audiences and serving their purposes. Adapt if necessary.    Found this Blog useful? You may also like:   Don't save you pitch for the elevator by Emma Beeston  The Power of Storytelling: Six Top Tips by Mike Zywina  Lessons for charities from Knee surgery by Richard Sved     
    4027 Posted by Kay Parris
  • Kay Parris is a freelance journalist and editor with substantial experience of the voluntary sector.  Strategic planning can seem like a daunting task, but it is simply a means to setting your charity’s goals and figuring out how to progress them. Just like a strategy for any other area of work, a communications strategy begins with the overall vision and purpose of the organisation. Specific goals about your messages and media channels then spring from that central purpose. Here’s a basic template: 1. Vision and mission There is no point planning any projects that won’t help your charity to achieve its purpose. Before you do anything else, ensure you fully understand what that purpose is. Get hold of your organisation’s vision and mission statements and reproduce them. The vision is how your charity sees the future. Oxfam’s vision, for example, is: “A just world without poverty”. The mission is your core purpose, your reason for existing. Oxfam’s mission is: “To create lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and social injustice”. Not every charity articulates a vision or a mission statement. Yet these brief statements are extremely valuable in helping an organisation to find its voice, focus clearly on its objectives and measure its own success. If you don’t have a vision or mission already, this could be the right moment to suggest or brainstorm one into being. It goes without saying – get any text agreed by the relevant people. 2. Set goals What are the key things your charity wants to achieve? Oxfam has six key goals arising out of its vision and mission, which include the following: • Champion equal rights for women • Safeguard global food supplies • Increase money for basic services You can agree goals to suit your charity’s context even if you do not have a mission statement. But it is easier to keep the goals focused and clear if you do. 3. Key messages What are the essential messages and values your charity wants to convey, in view of its mission and goals? In other words, what do you want people to know about you and the issues you are dealing with? Once the key messages are enshrined in your strategy document, you will have a reference point for the stories you choose to tell about your charity: do they reinforce your core messages, or could they risk undermining them?   4. Name your audiences The people who encounter, or could encounter, your messages will include internal and external audiences, those you already communicate with, and those you would like or may need to reach, for whatever reason. For example: -          members/supporters of the charity   -          volunteers – both current and former -          staff -          trustees -          press contacts -          funding agencies -          government bodies -          supporters of similar causes -          members of groups you have worked with -          members of the general public 5. Market assessment Present the results of any market research you have done (even if only a straw poll or a bit of googling) to show how your target audiences currently view your charity or its issues. What kind of information are these people likely to favour and in what format? 6. SWOT analysis Explain the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats you are working with from a communications point of view. You need to know about any constraints, and also about any potentially useful situations. The SWOT might reveal that you have a budget too tight for printing, for example, or a supporter base that lives in a dodgy wi-fi area. On the other hand, it might flag an annual event that presents a perfect awareness-raising opportunity. 7. Resources Indicate how much time and money, and how many people, can be allocated to driving your communications plan forward. Resist wishful thinking! 8. Communications tools Based on everything you have analysed so far, set out which communications channels you are planning to use. Newsletter, website, blogs, YouTube, Twitter, press/broadcast coverage, public meetings, leaflets, noticeboards – the options are endless but your resources and goals are not. Indicate the purposes intended for each channel. They could include: awareness-raising, attracting new members, raising funds, briefing volunteers. But how will these things happen? What kind of newsletter will it be? What kind of material will you be posting on YouTube, how often and why?  9. Timescales and targets: Include a list of key targets that you hope to meet through the communications strategy by a given date – often three years into the future. Perhaps you are anticipating an increase in web traffic, or a target number of social media followers, new supporters or members. Be sensible about this. It’s great to be ambitious, but there is nothing like falling short of unrealistic targets to demotivate hardworking staff or volunteers. 10. Review and adapt Return to the strategy periodically (say once a year) to review your tools, activities and messages. Consider how well they are reaching their audiences and serving their purposes. Adapt if necessary.    Found this Blog useful? You may also like:   Don't save you pitch for the elevator by Emma Beeston  The Power of Storytelling: Six Top Tips by Mike Zywina  Lessons for charities from Knee surgery by Richard Sved     
    Feb 25, 2016 4027
  • 23 Feb 2016
    There is a scientific difference between training well for physical challenges and training really well for physical challenges. Luckily, you also don’t need to be on an elite athlete training programme to make the jump. In this guide I’ll share my 3 best tips for approaching any physical charity challenge, taken from my own training as an Ultra-Marathon Cyclist. 1. Know your heart   People who run marathons for charity, don’t just have a big heart metaphorically, they are also likely to have a big heart literally. Generally your body pumps blood round your body efficiently in one of two ways. Distance athletes like marathon runners develop a larger heart through training, so the amount of blood pumped with one beat will be slightly more. Athletes who have a strength focus will have a physically smaller heart, but the walls of the heart will be more muscular, so they pump blood with more force. Of course the ideal scenario is to have both size and muscle, so balance out your training with some strengthening exercises, or endurance exercise depending on your challenge. The only thing to be wary of for endurance athletes is not to carry excess muscle weight. For runners, planking is great because it works your core without adding too much muscle weight onto your legs. 2. Don’t get injured The majority of muscle injuries are entirely preventable and the more you look after your muscles and joints, the better condition you’ll be in for your challenge. The first tip here is obvious, make sure you warm up. It can be difficult if you lead a busy life, but it’s worth every minute. Secondly, stretching will help to prevent muscle tears. Make sure you stretch before you train and after, as each has its own purpose. Stretching prior to training makes your muscles more malleable. Think about the idea of stretching an elastic band to its limit when it’s cold – your muscles work in a very similar way.  Stretching after training has a warming effect on your muscles. This helps with circulation and takes away toxins like lactic acid that will have built up during your training. This makes you less likely to cramp after exercise. Drinking plenty water also helps with this. 3. Remember why you’re doing your challenge While physical strength is all well and good, remembering why you’re doing your challenge in the first place can really help - not only with training, but also during the toughest parts of your challenge. When you’re almost at breaking point, a bit of inspiration can really help you get through the most painful moments. Keeping your goal in mind will give you will power on those cold mornings when you need to go out and train. It’s not easy to get up and train, when you’re curled up warm in your bed. But thinking of the end result and why you’re raising the money in the first place always helps. Just think mind over matter!   Found this Blog useful? You may also like:   The Sky is the limit for daring Granny WendyDawn rises over Mount KilimanjaroHow to make friend with the media by Kay ParrisGet your charity’s voice heard by Duncan Hatfield                 
    1685 Posted by Katie Ford
  • There is a scientific difference between training well for physical challenges and training really well for physical challenges. Luckily, you also don’t need to be on an elite athlete training programme to make the jump. In this guide I’ll share my 3 best tips for approaching any physical charity challenge, taken from my own training as an Ultra-Marathon Cyclist. 1. Know your heart   People who run marathons for charity, don’t just have a big heart metaphorically, they are also likely to have a big heart literally. Generally your body pumps blood round your body efficiently in one of two ways. Distance athletes like marathon runners develop a larger heart through training, so the amount of blood pumped with one beat will be slightly more. Athletes who have a strength focus will have a physically smaller heart, but the walls of the heart will be more muscular, so they pump blood with more force. Of course the ideal scenario is to have both size and muscle, so balance out your training with some strengthening exercises, or endurance exercise depending on your challenge. The only thing to be wary of for endurance athletes is not to carry excess muscle weight. For runners, planking is great because it works your core without adding too much muscle weight onto your legs. 2. Don’t get injured The majority of muscle injuries are entirely preventable and the more you look after your muscles and joints, the better condition you’ll be in for your challenge. The first tip here is obvious, make sure you warm up. It can be difficult if you lead a busy life, but it’s worth every minute. Secondly, stretching will help to prevent muscle tears. Make sure you stretch before you train and after, as each has its own purpose. Stretching prior to training makes your muscles more malleable. Think about the idea of stretching an elastic band to its limit when it’s cold – your muscles work in a very similar way.  Stretching after training has a warming effect on your muscles. This helps with circulation and takes away toxins like lactic acid that will have built up during your training. This makes you less likely to cramp after exercise. Drinking plenty water also helps with this. 3. Remember why you’re doing your challenge While physical strength is all well and good, remembering why you’re doing your challenge in the first place can really help - not only with training, but also during the toughest parts of your challenge. When you’re almost at breaking point, a bit of inspiration can really help you get through the most painful moments. Keeping your goal in mind will give you will power on those cold mornings when you need to go out and train. It’s not easy to get up and train, when you’re curled up warm in your bed. But thinking of the end result and why you’re raising the money in the first place always helps. Just think mind over matter!   Found this Blog useful? You may also like:   The Sky is the limit for daring Granny WendyDawn rises over Mount KilimanjaroHow to make friend with the media by Kay ParrisGet your charity’s voice heard by Duncan Hatfield                 
    Feb 23, 2016 1685
  • 19 Feb 2016
    Spice work with local communities and services to unlock time and skills from the local community and to support people to give their time. We believe everyone has something to give and everyone’s time is equal. Elly Townsend, Senior Project Manager: Business Development, Evaluation and Learning, talks about how Spice do this using their innovative Time Credit currency to enable great levels of giving, how they develop local networks to reach many more people, and the impact this is having across the country. What are Time Credits? People can earn Time Credits by giving their time to local services e.g. youth clubs, sheltered housing schemes and community groups. One Time Credit is earned for each hour of time given and acts as a thank you for the contribution of time. People earn Time Credits in a wide range of ways, such as supporting or running community activities, sharing their skills, peer support and advocacy. People then spend Time Credits to access events, training and leisure activities provided by public, community and private organisations, or to thank others in turn. Spending activities are contributed by local attractions and businesses, or put on by organisations using Time Credits or individuals who earn them.They include physical activity such as swimming, gym use or walking groups, theatre shows, sports events, training courses and social activities such as community coffee mornings or trips/outings. Our network includes fantastic places like the Tower of London, Blackpool Tower, Fusion Leisure Centres as well as lots of smaller businesses. Spending Time Credits enables people to access this wide range of activities they may not be able to otherwise. Building local Time Credit networks Spice are commissioned by organisations who want to build Time Credits into their work and unlock local community assets. We work with all sorts of organisations from local authorities, housing associations and social care service providers, through to community development organisations and schools. We work with each lead partner organisation to set local priorities for every programme. Asking, how do they want to use Time Credits? What do they want to achieve? Who are they trying to involve and where? Once we are clear on this we can then start to build a local network of people using the Time Credits currency. With the lead partner we sign up local groups and organisations and we support them to change the way they work with people and communities. Many of our network partners are small charities and community groups who use Time Credits to attract new volunteers or to develop new projects. In 2014, we surveyed organisations to find out what the impact of Time Credits had been on their organisation. 75% reported seeing benefits within the first 12 months of being involved, 62% reported being able to make better use of skills and resources in communities and 48% said they were able to deliver improved services. One community group responsible for managing a community centre for the last few years described how Time Credits has re-invigorated this asset, changing the focus from being a ‘letting out’ of the community centre space to engaging the community in the centre, with smaller groups using the centre and Time Credits being used to increase awareness and reward people for getting involved. Spice recently completed a further evaluation of our programmes of work in England and Wales with independent evaluators Apteligen. It showed that Time Credits are also having a profound impact for individuals earning Time Credits: We’d always like to do more, so if you’ve got a great idea for Time Credits or you’d like to talk more about how they might work in your organisation and enable people to give time locally do get in touch with elly@justaddspice.org. We always interested in having a chat!   Found this Blog useful? You may also like:   Storytelling Tips for Charities by Becky Slack 5 free tools to share your organisation's story by Nisha Kotecha Get your charity’s voice heard by Duncan HatfieldDon’t save you Pitch for the Elevator by Emma Beeston    
    1041 Posted by Elly Townsend
  • Spice work with local communities and services to unlock time and skills from the local community and to support people to give their time. We believe everyone has something to give and everyone’s time is equal. Elly Townsend, Senior Project Manager: Business Development, Evaluation and Learning, talks about how Spice do this using their innovative Time Credit currency to enable great levels of giving, how they develop local networks to reach many more people, and the impact this is having across the country. What are Time Credits? People can earn Time Credits by giving their time to local services e.g. youth clubs, sheltered housing schemes and community groups. One Time Credit is earned for each hour of time given and acts as a thank you for the contribution of time. People earn Time Credits in a wide range of ways, such as supporting or running community activities, sharing their skills, peer support and advocacy. People then spend Time Credits to access events, training and leisure activities provided by public, community and private organisations, or to thank others in turn. Spending activities are contributed by local attractions and businesses, or put on by organisations using Time Credits or individuals who earn them.They include physical activity such as swimming, gym use or walking groups, theatre shows, sports events, training courses and social activities such as community coffee mornings or trips/outings. Our network includes fantastic places like the Tower of London, Blackpool Tower, Fusion Leisure Centres as well as lots of smaller businesses. Spending Time Credits enables people to access this wide range of activities they may not be able to otherwise. Building local Time Credit networks Spice are commissioned by organisations who want to build Time Credits into their work and unlock local community assets. We work with all sorts of organisations from local authorities, housing associations and social care service providers, through to community development organisations and schools. We work with each lead partner organisation to set local priorities for every programme. Asking, how do they want to use Time Credits? What do they want to achieve? Who are they trying to involve and where? Once we are clear on this we can then start to build a local network of people using the Time Credits currency. With the lead partner we sign up local groups and organisations and we support them to change the way they work with people and communities. Many of our network partners are small charities and community groups who use Time Credits to attract new volunteers or to develop new projects. In 2014, we surveyed organisations to find out what the impact of Time Credits had been on their organisation. 75% reported seeing benefits within the first 12 months of being involved, 62% reported being able to make better use of skills and resources in communities and 48% said they were able to deliver improved services. One community group responsible for managing a community centre for the last few years described how Time Credits has re-invigorated this asset, changing the focus from being a ‘letting out’ of the community centre space to engaging the community in the centre, with smaller groups using the centre and Time Credits being used to increase awareness and reward people for getting involved. Spice recently completed a further evaluation of our programmes of work in England and Wales with independent evaluators Apteligen. It showed that Time Credits are also having a profound impact for individuals earning Time Credits: We’d always like to do more, so if you’ve got a great idea for Time Credits or you’d like to talk more about how they might work in your organisation and enable people to give time locally do get in touch with elly@justaddspice.org. We always interested in having a chat!   Found this Blog useful? You may also like:   Storytelling Tips for Charities by Becky Slack 5 free tools to share your organisation's story by Nisha Kotecha Get your charity’s voice heard by Duncan HatfieldDon’t save you Pitch for the Elevator by Emma Beeston    
    Feb 19, 2016 1041
  • 16 Feb 2016
    Felicity Christensen is the Communications & Events Manager at Small Charities Coalition - a national membership charity who help small charities access the skills, tools & information they need to get going and do what they do best. Whether you are a paid employee or volunteer in the charity sector, undoubtedly one of the key skills to crack is professional networking. Networking provides the opportunity to build up your professional contacts, share ideas and feel part of a wider working community outside the office. Here are the top 5 tips for getting the most out of networking events:   Find the good ones to go to – Eventbrite is a great place to find new networking events within the charity sector, as is Twitter, and they don’t even have to cost anything. (We regularly promote personally recommended small charity focussed networking events via the Small Charities Coalition E-bulletin.) Know how to introduce yourself – nobody needs reminding that first impressions count, so knowing how to introduce yourself well is a must. Keep it brief, to the point, and remember to smile! If you are representing a business be sure to have your elevator pitch ready. Be curious – asking questions not only helps to build connections with others but peer learning is a fun and informal way of sharing tips, sounding out ideas and potentially building useful relationships for the future. It gets better – like many new things the first time might be scary, but the more networking events you go to the more you will begin to see some familiar faces and begin to look forward to events as you see your network grow. It can be helpful to have personal goals set ahead of an event such as handing out a certain number of business cards or meeting a set number of new people. Be prepared - have business cards ready to share for follow-up conversations, and ask the organiser to share a list of attendees so you can get in contact afterwards. Social media is the fastest and least formal way to connect, so if you don’t have a Twitter or LinkedIn profile – make one   To see networking events that Eventbrite have to offer click here. The Charity Meetup events are popular and well-structured with fun ice-breakers.     Found this Blog useful? You may also like:  How Charities can tap into the hyperlocal by Zoe Amar The Power of Storytelling: Six Top Tips by Mike Zywina     
    2154 Posted by Felicity Christensen
  • Felicity Christensen is the Communications & Events Manager at Small Charities Coalition - a national membership charity who help small charities access the skills, tools & information they need to get going and do what they do best. Whether you are a paid employee or volunteer in the charity sector, undoubtedly one of the key skills to crack is professional networking. Networking provides the opportunity to build up your professional contacts, share ideas and feel part of a wider working community outside the office. Here are the top 5 tips for getting the most out of networking events:   Find the good ones to go to – Eventbrite is a great place to find new networking events within the charity sector, as is Twitter, and they don’t even have to cost anything. (We regularly promote personally recommended small charity focussed networking events via the Small Charities Coalition E-bulletin.) Know how to introduce yourself – nobody needs reminding that first impressions count, so knowing how to introduce yourself well is a must. Keep it brief, to the point, and remember to smile! If you are representing a business be sure to have your elevator pitch ready. Be curious – asking questions not only helps to build connections with others but peer learning is a fun and informal way of sharing tips, sounding out ideas and potentially building useful relationships for the future. It gets better – like many new things the first time might be scary, but the more networking events you go to the more you will begin to see some familiar faces and begin to look forward to events as you see your network grow. It can be helpful to have personal goals set ahead of an event such as handing out a certain number of business cards or meeting a set number of new people. Be prepared - have business cards ready to share for follow-up conversations, and ask the organiser to share a list of attendees so you can get in contact afterwards. Social media is the fastest and least formal way to connect, so if you don’t have a Twitter or LinkedIn profile – make one   To see networking events that Eventbrite have to offer click here. The Charity Meetup events are popular and well-structured with fun ice-breakers.     Found this Blog useful? You may also like:  How Charities can tap into the hyperlocal by Zoe Amar The Power of Storytelling: Six Top Tips by Mike Zywina     
    Feb 16, 2016 2154
  • 28 Jan 2016
    Corrine Heaney loves all things digital. Currently completing her masters in Digital Media Communications at Ulster University. Media and Communications Manager for Save the Children Northern Ireland  | corrineheaney.com Technology has changed how we communicate. As it continues to evolve, how do we keep track of where are supporters are and what they are using? If you have big budgets you can pay for analysis of market trends and even employ an agency to pick out the very statistics you need but for smaller organisations, especially charities there just isn’t the money to pay for it. So how do you keep up to date with what media your supporters are using and find the most effective ways of communicating to them? The Communications Market Report is one useful FREE tool produced by OFCOM annually across the UK, with breakdowns for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It gives you the headline figures with useful summaries alongside the detailed report and analysis. So what does it tell us for the year ahead? ‘The UK is now a “smartphone society”. Something that probably doesn’t come as a surprise, but did you know our mobile phones have now become more popular than our laptop when it comes to getting online? This means your organisation needs to think about the information you are putting online. It looks different on a mobile or tablet compared to desktop, you need to focus on content with a smaller screen in mind. Whether that is on your website or on social media and the tailored apps they use. Be clear and consistent across the platforms and use relevant images as this increases engagement. The OFCOM Communications Market Report also covers TV, radio, telecoms and post which you can use to compare with online use. Adults spent on average nearly two hours online using a smartphone each day, but TV still takes up most of our time with 3 hours and 40 minutes a day. National differences In terms of the nations, the report tells us Scotland is becoming ‘more connected.’ 2014 saw the Scots “taking up smartphones at a faster rate than any other UK nation.” And by 2015 they are the most popular device for getting online and Scots have a higher than UK average for use of 4G service so they are using their phones on the move. Wales is leading the way in broadband connection. With significant investment, through government partnership, Wales now has the highest availability of superfast broadband of any of the devolved nations. In Northern Ireland, people spend the most time online, “up from 13.8 hours a week to 21.6 hours a week. This is above the UK average and highest of the four UK nations.”   Linking together information from this report alongside your organisation's statistics on supporters and engagements it can help provide a clearer picture on where and how you should be communicating with your supporters.   Found this Blog useful? You may also like:    The Power of Storytelling: Six Top Tips by Mike Zywina  5 free tools to share your organisation's story by Nisha Kotecha Dawn rises over Mount KilimanjaroHow 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     
    1686 Posted by Corrine Heaney
  • Corrine Heaney loves all things digital. Currently completing her masters in Digital Media Communications at Ulster University. Media and Communications Manager for Save the Children Northern Ireland  | corrineheaney.com Technology has changed how we communicate. As it continues to evolve, how do we keep track of where are supporters are and what they are using? If you have big budgets you can pay for analysis of market trends and even employ an agency to pick out the very statistics you need but for smaller organisations, especially charities there just isn’t the money to pay for it. So how do you keep up to date with what media your supporters are using and find the most effective ways of communicating to them? The Communications Market Report is one useful FREE tool produced by OFCOM annually across the UK, with breakdowns for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It gives you the headline figures with useful summaries alongside the detailed report and analysis. So what does it tell us for the year ahead? ‘The UK is now a “smartphone society”. Something that probably doesn’t come as a surprise, but did you know our mobile phones have now become more popular than our laptop when it comes to getting online? This means your organisation needs to think about the information you are putting online. It looks different on a mobile or tablet compared to desktop, you need to focus on content with a smaller screen in mind. Whether that is on your website or on social media and the tailored apps they use. Be clear and consistent across the platforms and use relevant images as this increases engagement. The OFCOM Communications Market Report also covers TV, radio, telecoms and post which you can use to compare with online use. Adults spent on average nearly two hours online using a smartphone each day, but TV still takes up most of our time with 3 hours and 40 minutes a day. National differences In terms of the nations, the report tells us Scotland is becoming ‘more connected.’ 2014 saw the Scots “taking up smartphones at a faster rate than any other UK nation.” And by 2015 they are the most popular device for getting online and Scots have a higher than UK average for use of 4G service so they are using their phones on the move. Wales is leading the way in broadband connection. With significant investment, through government partnership, Wales now has the highest availability of superfast broadband of any of the devolved nations. In Northern Ireland, people spend the most time online, “up from 13.8 hours a week to 21.6 hours a week. This is above the UK average and highest of the four UK nations.”   Linking together information from this report alongside your organisation's statistics on supporters and engagements it can help provide a clearer picture on where and how you should be communicating with your supporters.   Found this Blog useful? You may also like:    The Power of Storytelling: Six Top Tips by Mike Zywina  5 free tools to share your organisation's story by Nisha Kotecha Dawn rises over Mount KilimanjaroHow 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     
    Jan 28, 2016 1686
  • 27 Jan 2016
    On Monday last week, Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson MP was warmly welcomed as a volunteer by local Berkshire charity, Dingley Family and Specialist Early Years Centres. Mr Wilson MP, eager to gain hands on experience with a charity in his constituency of Reading East, contacted Localgiving last week to help him identify a group to work with. Longtime Localgiving member, Dingley Family and Specialist Early Years Centres, sprang to mind immediately. Dingley provides a unique space where young children with disabilities can go to develop skills through play. Parents and carers are also welcomed, providing a place to make friends, share experiences and gain valuable respite. Since joining Localgiving in 2011, Dingley has consistently inspired us with the life-changing impact it delivers to beneficiaries. Where better for Mr Wilson to learn more about the vital work that local charities and community groups do? Mr Wilson spent the morning of Monday 18th January with the staff and children of The Dingley Centre in Reading, taking part in ‘Learning Through Play’ sessions. Working in close partnership with other education and health care professionals, Dingley Family and Specialist Early Years Centres provide regular therapy sessions, as well as training and support for parents and carers. Throughout the morning, Mr Wilson MP was given the opportunity to see the benefits of the therapies on offer for children. He was even lucky enough to make some new young friends in the process! Two children shared their toys and interacted happily with him. Working alongside his mentor, Kathryn Mitchell, he motivated and guided a child to communicate with others through the exchange of a photograph to indicate what the child wanted to do. Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson MP, said: “It was a real pleasure to be able to volunteer at Dingley Family Centre today. The charity provides fantastic support to children and families across Reading and I hope that my morning of volunteering was helpful to them. I encourage everyone to dedicate some time to volunteering so that great causes like this can continue to help those who need it” Catherine McLeod MBE, CEO of Dingley Family & Specialist Early Years Centres, was equally enthusiastic about the visit, commenting that: “It was great to see our local MP taking the time to volunteer in a local charity, learning about the demands and joys of working in our sector. It has been a testing time for many charities, and so we were delighted to be chosen to host the Minister for Civil Society…Mr Wilson had the chance to interact with children and families, which will give him a valuable insight into some of the challenges that they face on a daily basis, and why the contribution of the local voluntary sector is so important.” Localgiving is delighted that the Minister for Civil Society has taken the opportunity to visit one of our member groups and is glad he enjoyed his experience with Dingley Family and Specialist Early Years Centres. We believe that through volunteering, MPs can gain a real understanding of the essential work carried out by local charities and community groups in their constituency every day.      
    1398 Posted by Lewis Garland
  • On Monday last week, Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson MP was warmly welcomed as a volunteer by local Berkshire charity, Dingley Family and Specialist Early Years Centres. Mr Wilson MP, eager to gain hands on experience with a charity in his constituency of Reading East, contacted Localgiving last week to help him identify a group to work with. Longtime Localgiving member, Dingley Family and Specialist Early Years Centres, sprang to mind immediately. Dingley provides a unique space where young children with disabilities can go to develop skills through play. Parents and carers are also welcomed, providing a place to make friends, share experiences and gain valuable respite. Since joining Localgiving in 2011, Dingley has consistently inspired us with the life-changing impact it delivers to beneficiaries. Where better for Mr Wilson to learn more about the vital work that local charities and community groups do? Mr Wilson spent the morning of Monday 18th January with the staff and children of The Dingley Centre in Reading, taking part in ‘Learning Through Play’ sessions. Working in close partnership with other education and health care professionals, Dingley Family and Specialist Early Years Centres provide regular therapy sessions, as well as training and support for parents and carers. Throughout the morning, Mr Wilson MP was given the opportunity to see the benefits of the therapies on offer for children. He was even lucky enough to make some new young friends in the process! Two children shared their toys and interacted happily with him. Working alongside his mentor, Kathryn Mitchell, he motivated and guided a child to communicate with others through the exchange of a photograph to indicate what the child wanted to do. Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson MP, said: “It was a real pleasure to be able to volunteer at Dingley Family Centre today. The charity provides fantastic support to children and families across Reading and I hope that my morning of volunteering was helpful to them. I encourage everyone to dedicate some time to volunteering so that great causes like this can continue to help those who need it” Catherine McLeod MBE, CEO of Dingley Family & Specialist Early Years Centres, was equally enthusiastic about the visit, commenting that: “It was great to see our local MP taking the time to volunteer in a local charity, learning about the demands and joys of working in our sector. It has been a testing time for many charities, and so we were delighted to be chosen to host the Minister for Civil Society…Mr Wilson had the chance to interact with children and families, which will give him a valuable insight into some of the challenges that they face on a daily basis, and why the contribution of the local voluntary sector is so important.” Localgiving is delighted that the Minister for Civil Society has taken the opportunity to visit one of our member groups and is glad he enjoyed his experience with Dingley Family and Specialist Early Years Centres. We believe that through volunteering, MPs can gain a real understanding of the essential work carried out by local charities and community groups in their constituency every day.      
    Jan 27, 2016 1398
  • 18 Jan 2016
    Myfanwy Nixon is the Marketing and Communications manager at mySociety, a charity that builds digital technologies that open up access to democracy. Starting as a UK concern, the organisation now works globally to help people deploy their software and empower their own citizens. For over a decade, mySociety has been running well-known and much-used websites that empower citizens — but you may be unaware that they all have features that can benefit charities, too. Here are four ways in which charities can use mySociety sites. They’ll all give you a helping hand in your day-to-day work, and they’re all completely free to use. Simple campaigning software If you ever ask your supporters to contact their MP, MEPs, or other elected representatives, you’ll know that that’s much more likely to happen if they don’t have to leave your website to do so. The functionality behind WriteToThem, mySociety’s contact-your-representative site, can be placed right on your own campaign page. Even better, your supporters don’t need to know the name of their representative before they send their message: WriteToThem works it out from their postcode. You can find full details for embedding the WriteToThem technology on your website here. Keep an eye on Parliament   For all sorts of reasons, it’s useful to know when key topics are being debated in Parliament: you can lobby MPs, monitor which representatives are sympathetic to your cause, put out newsletters while public interest is high, or tie activities in with stories in the news. But how do you make sure you’re not taken by surprise? TheyWorkForYou is mySociety’s parliamentary site, which publishes all of Hansard. It also displays forthcoming events. So far so good, but the site really comes into its own with its alerts service. Input the keywords which interest you, and it will send you an email every time they are mentioned in Parliament, or in Parliament’s future schedule. Find out how to set up your alerts for forthcoming business here. And this post explains how to receive an alert every time your chosen keyword has been mentioned in the day’s proceedings. A powerful research tool If your campaigning depends on facts, figures and maybe even previously-buried information, then the Freedom of Information Act could be a very useful tool. It gives everyone the right to ask for information from publicly-funded bodies. WhatDoTheyKnow makes the perhaps-daunting process of submitting an FOI request very simple indeed. It also publishes the responses in a vast online archive, so you can search through information that has already been released, too. Here is a step-by-step guide to making a request via the site. Improving communities FixMyStreet makes it really easy to report problems like broken paving, potholes or rubbish to the people responsible for getting them fixed. If you are a charity working within a local community, input your postcode for a quick browse of the site: this can be an immediate way to find out what the main issues are in your own neighbourhood. if you’d like this information to drop right into your inbox, sign up to receive an alert every time someone makes a report in your chosen area. FixMyStreet also provides an excellent way of keeping track of the improvements and repairs you have requested - reports are published online as well as being sent to the council. And if you’re a charity campaigning on behalf of people with poor mobility, sight impairment, et cetera, FixMyStreet can also be a useful resource for your supporters: they can use it to campaign in their own local area, against unsafe streets, unlit byways or inadequate parking spaces, and so on. mySociety If you’d like to find out more about our work, visit www.mysociety.org, where you can see lots more about what we do.     Found this Blog 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 Charities can tap into the hyperlocal by Zoe Amar    
    2372 Posted by Myf Nixon
  • Myfanwy Nixon is the Marketing and Communications manager at mySociety, a charity that builds digital technologies that open up access to democracy. Starting as a UK concern, the organisation now works globally to help people deploy their software and empower their own citizens. For over a decade, mySociety has been running well-known and much-used websites that empower citizens — but you may be unaware that they all have features that can benefit charities, too. Here are four ways in which charities can use mySociety sites. They’ll all give you a helping hand in your day-to-day work, and they’re all completely free to use. Simple campaigning software If you ever ask your supporters to contact their MP, MEPs, or other elected representatives, you’ll know that that’s much more likely to happen if they don’t have to leave your website to do so. The functionality behind WriteToThem, mySociety’s contact-your-representative site, can be placed right on your own campaign page. Even better, your supporters don’t need to know the name of their representative before they send their message: WriteToThem works it out from their postcode. You can find full details for embedding the WriteToThem technology on your website here. Keep an eye on Parliament   For all sorts of reasons, it’s useful to know when key topics are being debated in Parliament: you can lobby MPs, monitor which representatives are sympathetic to your cause, put out newsletters while public interest is high, or tie activities in with stories in the news. But how do you make sure you’re not taken by surprise? TheyWorkForYou is mySociety’s parliamentary site, which publishes all of Hansard. It also displays forthcoming events. So far so good, but the site really comes into its own with its alerts service. Input the keywords which interest you, and it will send you an email every time they are mentioned in Parliament, or in Parliament’s future schedule. Find out how to set up your alerts for forthcoming business here. And this post explains how to receive an alert every time your chosen keyword has been mentioned in the day’s proceedings. A powerful research tool If your campaigning depends on facts, figures and maybe even previously-buried information, then the Freedom of Information Act could be a very useful tool. It gives everyone the right to ask for information from publicly-funded bodies. WhatDoTheyKnow makes the perhaps-daunting process of submitting an FOI request very simple indeed. It also publishes the responses in a vast online archive, so you can search through information that has already been released, too. Here is a step-by-step guide to making a request via the site. Improving communities FixMyStreet makes it really easy to report problems like broken paving, potholes or rubbish to the people responsible for getting them fixed. If you are a charity working within a local community, input your postcode for a quick browse of the site: this can be an immediate way to find out what the main issues are in your own neighbourhood. if you’d like this information to drop right into your inbox, sign up to receive an alert every time someone makes a report in your chosen area. FixMyStreet also provides an excellent way of keeping track of the improvements and repairs you have requested - reports are published online as well as being sent to the council. And if you’re a charity campaigning on behalf of people with poor mobility, sight impairment, et cetera, FixMyStreet can also be a useful resource for your supporters: they can use it to campaign in their own local area, against unsafe streets, unlit byways or inadequate parking spaces, and so on. mySociety If you’d like to find out more about our work, visit www.mysociety.org, where you can see lots more about what we do.     Found this Blog 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 Charities can tap into the hyperlocal by Zoe Amar    
    Jan 18, 2016 2372
  • 15 Dec 2015
    Catherine Raynor is Director of Mile 91, a story gathering team for charities and changemakers. Mile 91 helps charities capture stories that inspire action and encourage giving. We are all used to seeing household names profiled in big fundraisers like Text Santa and Children in Need or seasonal national newspaper appeals. These charities have big fundraising and communications departments with money to spend on professional filmmakers and copywriters. It is easy to feel daunted in the face of their storytelling might, but don’t be – local charities have stories that are just as powerful. Here’s some advice on capturing and telling great stories on a budget: Feel confident! The first thing to remember is to feel confident. You are operating right in the heart of your community. This means you see the impact of your work both firsthand and instantly. Unlike global or national organisations that often have head offices far away from their work, your stories are easy to access- they are right in front of you every day. Think about the ‘because’.  Stories don’t come from the ‘what’, they come from the ‘because’. What inspires people to volunteer or give is understanding the change and improvement their contribution can make. It is far more inspiring to read ‘Because of our meal service 68 old people in Wakefield will enjoy Christmas dinner with company this year’ than ‘we will deliver 68 meals on Christmas Day this year.’ Start thinking in terms of impact not intervention. Understand story structure. Storytelling is actually pretty formulaic and we learn story structure from a very early age. Good stories have a beginning, middle and end and more often than not they have a hero and a villain. For charity storytelling the beginning is the problem you are solving, the middle is what you are doing and the end is the change. The villain is the problem, the hero is you. If your stories have all three components and clearly show how the hero is conquering the villain you are doing well. Use free tools. There are many free storytelling tools and apps that can help you bring your work to life. Set up an Instagram account to share photo stories, use Audioboo for short interviews or Vine for short films. These are all really simple to use and can be connected to Twitter and Facebook so you can easily share your stories. Don’t miss the obvious. There are likely to be stories around you all the time that can bring your work to life. What does the 8-year-old enjoy about coming along to the community allotment on a Saturday? Ask them and snap a picture of them digging. What motivates that busy Mum to volunteer once a week? Ask her and you might uncover a really heartwarming story. Look for local expertise. You almost certainly have professional writers and filmmakers living in your area. Why not see if they want to volunteer a few hours or a day here and there to help you make professional films or to write some stories for your website or grant application forms.  Mile 91 uses words, pictures and film to help charities show the impact of their work on individuals, communities and the environments they live in. For regular tips on charity storytelling sign up to our blog: www.mile91.co.uk/blog/   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 Get your charity’s voice heard by Duncan Hatfield How Charities can tap into the hyperlocal by Zoe Amar    
    1071 Posted by Catherine Raynor
  • Catherine Raynor is Director of Mile 91, a story gathering team for charities and changemakers. Mile 91 helps charities capture stories that inspire action and encourage giving. We are all used to seeing household names profiled in big fundraisers like Text Santa and Children in Need or seasonal national newspaper appeals. These charities have big fundraising and communications departments with money to spend on professional filmmakers and copywriters. It is easy to feel daunted in the face of their storytelling might, but don’t be – local charities have stories that are just as powerful. Here’s some advice on capturing and telling great stories on a budget: Feel confident! The first thing to remember is to feel confident. You are operating right in the heart of your community. This means you see the impact of your work both firsthand and instantly. Unlike global or national organisations that often have head offices far away from their work, your stories are easy to access- they are right in front of you every day. Think about the ‘because’.  Stories don’t come from the ‘what’, they come from the ‘because’. What inspires people to volunteer or give is understanding the change and improvement their contribution can make. It is far more inspiring to read ‘Because of our meal service 68 old people in Wakefield will enjoy Christmas dinner with company this year’ than ‘we will deliver 68 meals on Christmas Day this year.’ Start thinking in terms of impact not intervention. Understand story structure. Storytelling is actually pretty formulaic and we learn story structure from a very early age. Good stories have a beginning, middle and end and more often than not they have a hero and a villain. For charity storytelling the beginning is the problem you are solving, the middle is what you are doing and the end is the change. The villain is the problem, the hero is you. If your stories have all three components and clearly show how the hero is conquering the villain you are doing well. Use free tools. There are many free storytelling tools and apps that can help you bring your work to life. Set up an Instagram account to share photo stories, use Audioboo for short interviews or Vine for short films. These are all really simple to use and can be connected to Twitter and Facebook so you can easily share your stories. Don’t miss the obvious. There are likely to be stories around you all the time that can bring your work to life. What does the 8-year-old enjoy about coming along to the community allotment on a Saturday? Ask them and snap a picture of them digging. What motivates that busy Mum to volunteer once a week? Ask her and you might uncover a really heartwarming story. Look for local expertise. You almost certainly have professional writers and filmmakers living in your area. Why not see if they want to volunteer a few hours or a day here and there to help you make professional films or to write some stories for your website or grant application forms.  Mile 91 uses words, pictures and film to help charities show the impact of their work on individuals, communities and the environments they live in. For regular tips on charity storytelling sign up to our blog: www.mile91.co.uk/blog/   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 Get your charity’s voice heard by Duncan Hatfield How Charities can tap into the hyperlocal by Zoe Amar    
    Dec 15, 2015 1071
  • 08 Dec 2015
    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.  Did you know that the average email open rate in the charity sector is around 20%? This means that for every five people that you write to, four of them won't read it – and for many charities the numbers are worse than that. In the age of online content, we read things quickly in a spare moment and are accustomed to punchy and engaging information, otherwise we switch off. People tend to be on several charity mailing lists, so trying to make your charity newsletter get noticed can be a real challenge. The problem As my day job involves providing fundraising support to small charities, I have a natural interest in charity news. However, many smaller charities rely on the old-fashioned method of sending newsletters as a mass email with a PDF attachment, which can be really ineffective. If you’re doing this then not only are you missing an easy opportunity to engage your supporters better, you may not be aware of how little they are engaging. PDF newsletters tend to look flat, dated and uninspiring. If you have a lot to say, it’s difficult to present it in a way that is friendly for the reader – newsletters running across five or more pages can be daunting! They can also fail to create that important call to action – the reader simply reads a couple of stories then either deletes the newsletter or files it away. Manually sending out mass emails with a PDF attachment can take ages, especially if you have to do it in batches of 50 or 100 to avoid issues with your email provider. This is also a sure-fire way to trigger spam filters, so many emails won’t ever reach your supporters' inboxes. Yet you’ll be working in the dark because it’s impossible to know how many people are opening them, what they’re reading and what they like to see. The solution If all this sounds rather familiar to you, it’s time to start using email marketing software. There’s no need to worry, a lot of this software is cheap, quick and easy to set up. This little technology upgrade will enable you to manage your email subscribers, design newsletter templates and send them out in one click. There are many advantages: Design an engaging email template to use quickly every time. This will give your newsletters a much more consistent and professional feel. Send mailings at the touch of a button. They're gone in seconds, there's no need to send them in batches and there's far less risk of getting caught in any spam filters. Manage content between your newsletter and website. Including shorter stories in your newsletter with links to full articles on your website will make your mailings more engaging and digestible. You can also see how popular your content is by monitoring which stories people click through to read fully (see below). Your best content will achieve more as it will be seen by both your newsletter subscribers and website visitors. See crucial statistics at a glance. This software lets you easily see how many people opened your mailings, who clicked on links and how many email addresses bounced. You can start to build a picture of what type of content is most popular and follow up with individual supporters who, for example, click through to an events sign-up page. Save time. People can unsubscribe with one click and are removed from your mailing list automatically. New subscribers will automatically join your list ready for your next mailing (bear in mind that you may still need to update any separate database/CRM).   If you’re worried about the time and cost involved, you shouldn’t be. There are many great email marketing packages which are cheap or even free. For instance, Mailchimp - which I use myself for our Lime Green Consulting mailings - is completely free if you have less than 2,000 contacts, and prices start at £6 per month after that. If you can design a PDF newsletter or do basic web page editing, you’ll be capable of using the software. The small amount of time that you invest up front in getting to grips with it will be outweighed by the ongoing time and efficiency savings. There really is no excuse for persisting with PDF mailings – it’s time to get out of the dark ages!   For further advice on supporter communication and fundraising, please visit limegreenconsulting.co.uk or download our free fundraising helpsheets.   Found this blog post useful? You may also like: The Power of Storytelling: Six Top Tips by Mike Zywina  Storytelling Tips for Charities by Becky Slack 5 free tools to share your organisation's story by Nisha Kotecha Dawn rises over Mount KilimanjaroHow to make friend with the media by Kay Parris How Charities can tap into the hyperlocal by Zoe Amar      
    1893 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.  Did you know that the average email open rate in the charity sector is around 20%? This means that for every five people that you write to, four of them won't read it – and for many charities the numbers are worse than that. In the age of online content, we read things quickly in a spare moment and are accustomed to punchy and engaging information, otherwise we switch off. People tend to be on several charity mailing lists, so trying to make your charity newsletter get noticed can be a real challenge. The problem As my day job involves providing fundraising support to small charities, I have a natural interest in charity news. However, many smaller charities rely on the old-fashioned method of sending newsletters as a mass email with a PDF attachment, which can be really ineffective. If you’re doing this then not only are you missing an easy opportunity to engage your supporters better, you may not be aware of how little they are engaging. PDF newsletters tend to look flat, dated and uninspiring. If you have a lot to say, it’s difficult to present it in a way that is friendly for the reader – newsletters running across five or more pages can be daunting! They can also fail to create that important call to action – the reader simply reads a couple of stories then either deletes the newsletter or files it away. Manually sending out mass emails with a PDF attachment can take ages, especially if you have to do it in batches of 50 or 100 to avoid issues with your email provider. This is also a sure-fire way to trigger spam filters, so many emails won’t ever reach your supporters' inboxes. Yet you’ll be working in the dark because it’s impossible to know how many people are opening them, what they’re reading and what they like to see. The solution If all this sounds rather familiar to you, it’s time to start using email marketing software. There’s no need to worry, a lot of this software is cheap, quick and easy to set up. This little technology upgrade will enable you to manage your email subscribers, design newsletter templates and send them out in one click. There are many advantages: Design an engaging email template to use quickly every time. This will give your newsletters a much more consistent and professional feel. Send mailings at the touch of a button. They're gone in seconds, there's no need to send them in batches and there's far less risk of getting caught in any spam filters. Manage content between your newsletter and website. Including shorter stories in your newsletter with links to full articles on your website will make your mailings more engaging and digestible. You can also see how popular your content is by monitoring which stories people click through to read fully (see below). Your best content will achieve more as it will be seen by both your newsletter subscribers and website visitors. See crucial statistics at a glance. This software lets you easily see how many people opened your mailings, who clicked on links and how many email addresses bounced. You can start to build a picture of what type of content is most popular and follow up with individual supporters who, for example, click through to an events sign-up page. Save time. People can unsubscribe with one click and are removed from your mailing list automatically. New subscribers will automatically join your list ready for your next mailing (bear in mind that you may still need to update any separate database/CRM).   If you’re worried about the time and cost involved, you shouldn’t be. There are many great email marketing packages which are cheap or even free. For instance, Mailchimp - which I use myself for our Lime Green Consulting mailings - is completely free if you have less than 2,000 contacts, and prices start at £6 per month after that. If you can design a PDF newsletter or do basic web page editing, you’ll be capable of using the software. The small amount of time that you invest up front in getting to grips with it will be outweighed by the ongoing time and efficiency savings. There really is no excuse for persisting with PDF mailings – it’s time to get out of the dark ages!   For further advice on supporter communication and fundraising, please visit limegreenconsulting.co.uk or download our free fundraising helpsheets.   Found this blog post useful? You may also like: The Power of Storytelling: Six Top Tips by Mike Zywina  Storytelling Tips for Charities by Becky Slack 5 free tools to share your organisation's story by Nisha Kotecha Dawn rises over Mount KilimanjaroHow to make friend with the media by Kay Parris How Charities can tap into the hyperlocal by Zoe Amar      
    Dec 08, 2015 1893