Digital round-up – Jan/Feb 18

In case you missed them, some of the best reads on crisis comms, digital strategy and charity content from last month.

red boat. blue sky. sign saying: DANGER. intense sound signal operates without warning

Crisis comms

Charities have been in the headlines ever since the start of the year (Oxfam, President’s Club, Oxfam again, Jo Cox Foundation). There’s lots we can learn from these events in terms of how we need to respond to a crisis and rebuild trust.

Read, then review your crisis comms plan. Does it include the right people? Have you got clarity about the messages? Do they work across all channels? Have staff done media training? Are there enough people with social media skills to be able to respond to comments? (NB Oxfam put a call-out to staff for help and drafted in 40 colleagues to help with front-line messaging.)

It’s worth noting that it’s not just Oxfam who have been effected by this story. NCVO have been working tirelessly to share safeguarding best practice and represent the sector in media interviews.

Digital skills, design and strategy

Content

Still from Macmillan video - "it was one of the nicest things anyone has ever done"

#WorldCancerDay is a big day for lots of health charities. Macmillan launched this lovely #LittleActsOfKindness video. I really liked the way they displayed the subtitles.

In addition to the usual fundraising and bad poems, there were some harder-hitting Valentine’s Day charity comms. None quite as cringy as the DWP’s festive message though thankfully.

Tweet showing the mental health foundation video - vox pops on Millennium Bridge in the rain

Other charities joined in with #TimeToTalk day. This gentle video from the Mental Health Foundation makes us think about answers to ‘how are you?’

How can you use your archive to connect with topical stories? There were lots of charities marking the 100 years since (some) women got the vote. Age UK told the story of one of its founders Eleanor Rathbone.

I am a sucker for maps and data. These examples of (non-charity) content marketing campaigns using maps could give food for thought. How can you use your data to tell a bigger story?

tweet from rob long asking twitter users to activate and use accessibility settings.

This blind Twitter user’s plea which has now had 179k likes seems to have done so much more to raise awareness about image accessibility than any charity or Twitter themselves. Have you changed your settings? This guide to getting alt text right is a must-read if you are new to describing images.

Good to see Doncaster Council’s Chief Executive maintaining the gif standards in her comms.

And finally…

What did I miss?

I spent January doing an interim comms manager role as well as going to BarCampNFP and SMEX18 so might have missed other good stuff. What did you read / watch / produce this month? Please do share.

 

 

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SMEX18 – Telling stories

The keynote speech at this year’s Social Media Exchange (run by soundDelivery) was given by Dr Sue Black. Sue led the campaign to save Bletchley Park (do go if you haven’t been) and aims to have trained 1 million women through her #TechMums programme by 2020. She set up the BCS Women network and was recently named as one of the top 50 women in tech in the Europe. Her message was ‘If I can do it, so can you’.

This had also been the message of the day. Speakers shared tips and examples so others (mainly people from small charities) could develop their skills so they could do it too.

After a quick warm up, here are my top takeaways….

warm-up exercise at SMEX18 - everyone with their arms in the air

1. People want to tell their story

I went to sessions by Jessica Barlow who launched the @nhs account and George Olney, Stories Journalist at Crisis. Both of them work as facilitators of stories.

Take a look at the archive of stories as Twitter Moments from the brilliant @nhs account to see the insights being shared by medical professionals and patients. Then look at Crisis’ EverybodyIn campaign which works a bit like Humans of New York, sharing photos and stories from homeless people across the country.

screenshot of Crisis' stories

People want to share. They want you to understand something. They want you to learn. Listen.

How can you help the people you work with to tell their stories? Is your organisation stuck, not doing anything with stories in case it goes wrong or is off-message?

The Crisis stories don’t mention Crisis. The stories are helping us to understand the causes and impact of homelessness. The charity doesn’t need to get in the way of this.

Similarly, the @nhs curator is given freedom to talk about what is important to them. Tweets are not edited or approved. As a result they are engaging and authentic. [Read more about Twitter takeovers and rocur.]

> Get out of the way. Help people to tell their stories. Your organisation doesn’t need to be the story.

2. Stories come in different forms

We are in a golden age of content. But this means there is a lot of noise and you can break the rules. So now is your chance to be creative!

Look at Emma Lawton’s video blog. Since April 2017 she has been vlogging every day through her PD365 series on YouTube. This heavy content commitment means she has had to be creative and find different ways of sharing different messages.

screenshot of Emma Lawton's vlogs showing lots of different styles

Luke Williams ex of RNLI shared lots of examples of charities using 360 video, virtual reality and chat bots (take a look at Luke’s slides). More and more organisations are experimenting with new formats for stories. An immersive story where the user gets to experience something rather than just reading about it, will have greater impact.

> What format will have the most impact for your story? Experiment and just do it!

3. Personal connections matter

The most moving story was from Alison Hitchcock who wrote letters to her friend Brian through his treatment for bowel cancer. She subsequently set up From Me to You, a campaign to encourage people to write letters to friends, family and strangers with cancer.

A simple letter can be like holding someone’s hand. It can be a distraction. What a beautiful thing to do.

> How can you make a personal connection to help someone?

4. Just do it

Barbara from Behind Bras and Andy / David from Hair Unite shared their experiences of seeing a solution to a problem and rolling their sleeves up to get on with it.

Jessica from NHS England was the one who thought that a curated account would work to tell the hidden stories away of the health service press releases and tabloid stories. She researched and risk-assessed it, pitching the idea to colleagues.

Crisis know that they need to reframe perceptions and prejudices of homelessness in order to drive the change to end homelessness. Sharing stories and photographs helps them to do this.

> Don’t wait for someone else to make something happen. Be part of the change you want to see.

SMEX18

What were your highlights? What were your takeaways? Please do share.

Also, do take a look at Gemma Pettman’s blog post in which she shares the tips she picked up at the event.

More on storytelling

Can I help you? I am a digital freelancer, working with charities on their content, comms and digital strategies.

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Digital round-up – November

Good reads and great content from November 2017.

It’s cold outside. Pop the kettle on and catch up with what you missed last month.

snowy trees

News and good reads

In case you missed these events:

Content

Tweet: image says news Flush with counter showing that 505 toilets have been twinned!

Crisis' interactive story

Highlights from #OurDay 2017 including the amazing Twitter choose your own adventure story from Doncaster Council.

Highlights from #GivingTuesday on Twitter and my JustGiving post looking at three charities in more detail.

Videos

Still from Samaritans video

Small moments of joy

Charity Christmas

There’s lots of festive joy in this year’s crop of digital advent calendars (Storify list). I wrote this about my digital advent calendars highlights.

This week Father Christmas himself (well Raymond Briggs’ version) has been joining in with UK Charity Week and highlighting an organisation each day. Happy bloomin’ advent!

"Hello me dears, this #UKCharityWeek I’m dedicating a door of me bloomin’ #AdventCalendar to a charity each day. So send me some suggestions for the rest of the bloomin’ week, ta #FatherChristmas"

What you doing on Christmas day? If you are on your own or need someone one to talk to, look at Sarah Millican’s now annual #JoinIn on Twitter.

PR Week’s review of charity Christmas videos featuring  Marie Curie, Greenpeace, Shooting Star Chase, Alzheimer’s Research UK.

What did I miss?

What were your November good reads? Please do comment.

Happy December to you!

 

Digital advent calendars 2017

Here’s some festive cheer – the pick of this year’s digital advent calendars from charities, museums, heritage organisations, councils and other nonprofits.

MAA snowball

Some are using the opportunity to share gems from their archives or highlights from the year. Some use it for fundraising or to share important messages. Others set challenges, run competitions or just share lovely pictures. Some organisations are spreading their content over a more manageable 12 days.

Particular highlights

London Community Foundation

London Community Foundation are running a ’12 days of Christmas of small charities making a big difference across London’. Stories are released on their blog. On day 2 we meet Brixton-based Mosaic Clubhouse.

Gold star: This is a great way to highlight partners or projects.

Kindness Calendar

Action for Happiness’s Kindness Calendar. Each day has an act which anyone can do with the tag line ‘let’s spread more kindness this festive season’. An action is tweeted each day resulting in much interaction.

Gold star: Simple actions everyone can do.

Blurt's 30 day challenge to bring calmness to the festive period

The Blurt Foundation are running a #BlurtMerryCalmness challenge on Instagram and Twitter with the aim of ‘adding some calm to the festive fuss’. Each day has a theme and you are invited to build a pause, some joy and play into the specified days, interpreted as you like. People are sharing images which illustrate what they did (1500 on Instagram, 5 days in).

Gold star: Brilliantly focused challenge but with enough room in it for people to join in how they want. Very shareable with lovely graphics and tone of voice.

RI: David Attenborough with minor birds from 1973

Royal Institution’s archive films from their Christmas lectures. Day 1 is a dashing young David Attenborough from 1973. You can subscribe to the calendar to get instalments via email.

Gold star: Great use of a very rich archive.

National Library of Scotland's penguin adventures

National Library of Scotland are bringing their collection to life through the adventures of penguins #FlurryandFloe. Each day, now that they have their library cards, we see them on tour round the library seeing items from the collection. Where will they go next, what will they see?!

Gold star: Creative and cute! Written with humour and images to match. Festive joy.

More calendars

Want more? Here’s the full storify of digital advent calendars 2017, packed with great festive comms.

Seen any others? Let me know and I’ll add them.

 

See also: Nonprofit digital advent calendars – a round-up of tips and examples

 

#GivingTuesday 2017

Now in its fourth year in the UK, #GivingTuesday is a chance for charities large and small to ask, thank and share news of the difference they make. It is the antidote to #BlackFriday and #CyberMonday (all of which seem to last much longer than a single day).

Here are some great Twitter examples from this year’s day.

BT image from the London BT Tower scrolling #GivingTuesday video

Short and simple

#GivingTuesday is a hugely busy hashtag (trending across the world on the day) so there is a lot of competition. On all channels, a simple, eye-catching ask stands out.

The standard digital fundraising rules apply – cater to short attention spans, make donating time or money easy to do and pleasurable and give a reward.

Dogs Trust - 4 ways to give + silly dog video

This tweet from Dogs Trust ticks all the boxes. It clearly lists four ways to give support, it uses eye-catching emojis and readable / edited bit.ly links plus a bonus video of a dog rolling in the grass!

"It’s #givingtuesday at LSE! We have four ways in which you can give."

Similarly, LSE student volunteer centre shared four images on Twitter along with four actions.

  • Independent Age clearly listed their text giving options
  • Crisis showed what someone who attends Crisis at Christmas receives
  • Lumos produced a simple animation of five words which explain what they do
  • Refuge were asking people to buy a Christmas dinner parcel for £5
  • Breakfast in a Bag simply asked for £3 donations.

Giving thanks

#GivingTuesday is as much a chance to say thank you as it is to ask. It is an opportunity to celebrate all your amazing fundraisers, donors, campaigners and volunteers. Personal thanks or general thanks work well.

Help for Heroes thank you video

Help for Heroes produced this lovely video to thank their fundraisers, volunteers, supporters and partners. It means more as it is a face-to-face thanks from the people whose lives have been helped by the charity.

The British Heart Foundation are expert producers of thank you gifs and images. Their feed is full of great thank you images like this one.

Marie Curie's hand drawn thanks for supporter Michelle

Marie Curie produced hand-drawn doodles for a selection of their supporters to say thank you.

There are lots more examples of how large and small charities used #GivingTuesday to say thank you (ZurichVolSec)

Taking full advantage

For one day only, Facebook matched donations made via their native giving tool (not those made by clicking a donation button on the platform which links elsewhere).

This tweet from Winston’s Wish explains the ask. A link to the Facebook page would have helped to encourage supporters to shift platform.

Winston's Wish FB ask

Selected Big Give charities are part of their Christmas Challenge which launched at midday on #GivingTuesday. The 500 organisations lucky enough to be included are benefitting from doubled-donations to their listed projects. In the first five minutes, half a million pounds were raised!

ChildhoodTrust - Cats Vs Kids campaign

Eye-catching campaigns like Cats Vs Kids from The Childhood Trust, aim to inspire new supporters as well as current ones through #GivingTuesday and the #ChristmasChallenge17.

CAF were offering to add a bonus £100 to a £10 donation for individuals opening a new account before 30 November.

Action on Hearing Loss Scotland devoted the whole day to share stories of amazing fundraisers, achievements, future events and their #earringforhearing campaign.

Using targets

The Myton Hospices

The Myton Hospices were aiming for a Christmas miracle, raising £3220 in 24 hours, enough to pay for an inpatient bed for one week. Through persistent tweeting, a thunderclap and rallying of their supporters, they smashed their target! Throughout the day, they updated supporters with a total. (Read more about their campaign in my JustGiving post on #GivingTuesday highlights.)

Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust‘s campaign aimed to raise enough money to plant 100 trees.

(NB Toilet Twinning are really good at sharing regular News Flush updates with a running total on World Toilet Day, pinning the latest total as a top tweet on the day.)

Being creative

#GivingTuesday is a great opportunity to break all the rules, produce something special and have fun.

Southmead Hospital Charity video - Giving Back this #GivingTuesday

Southmead Hospital Charity produced a charming video which explained how a £5 donation would help.

Didn’t get involved this year?

UK Fundraising reported that almost 2000 partner charities and businesses joined in with #GivingTuesday this year. CAF shared stats on the reach of the day, including an impressive 383million impressions on Twitter. And CAF’s press release said that the hashtag was trending on Twitter in the UK from 8.30am to 5.30pm. Blackbaud shared data too including that 26% of online donations were made via mobile.

The #GivingTuesday hashtag was used in over 150 countries on the day.

If you didn’t get involved this year, make sure it is on your calendar for 2018 – 27 November. And think about how you can make your comms stand out from the crowd.

What did you spot?

Share your favourite #GivingTuesday examples from Twitter or other channels here. I’d love to see them.

I also shared my top three highlights from the day in this JustGiving post.

It’s interesting to see how the comms have evolved since #GivingTuesday launched in the UK in 2014. Here’s my storify with examples from the first year.

 

See also: 10 tips for great online legacy fundraising

Winning at #OurDay 2017

#OurDay is ‘the annual tweetathon that gives everyone who works or volunteers in local public services the chance to share their stories of how they improve the quality of life of residents’. Each year there are thousands of tweets from across the country about the tireless work councils do to keep our streets clean, deliver services and support residents.

Amongst all the tweets about refuse collections, fly tipping and graffiti cleaning (there were loads!), there were some real gems. I have made a Moment collecting some creative #OurDay examples. Here are my top three (in no particular order).

Doncaster Council’s choose your own adventure game

Do you answer the phone or stay and have another cup of tea?

Following on from the boat fly tipping tweets and the quest to name the new gritter (which made it on the Sky News!), Doncaster have definitely raised the bar for council comms.

Their #OurDay campaign is an interactive game where you get to live the experience of working for the council. Follow the story, choose what you do and you’ll be rewarded with gifs, emoji and insights you never knew you needed!

It must have taken lots of planning to put it together. Getting the logic right and creating new videos for the stories is no mean feat. They also created a new Twitter account so that all the components of the story didn’t appear on the main council account and then. Very smart.

Go and have a play with this now! And here’s part two of the story.

West Sussex County Council – Scamp cam

Video of sniffer dog Scamp

Many council have animals on the payroll. WSCC gave us a view from a sniffer dog, Scamp. We see Scamp on a dramatic mission to find illegal tobacco.

Watch Scamp’s mission

Forest Heath Council’s choir

#OurDay, sounds a bit like My Way doesn’t it? Well Forest Heath Council and St Edmundsbury Council wrote and recorded their version of My Way celebrating all that they do.

Video of the choir

Watch the first verse of the #OurDay song. The full three verse version is on YouTube.

Your favourites?

Have you seen any other brilliant examples? Do share. It’s a busy hashtag, so hard to keep up!

See also:

 

 

WrapUp London

WrapUp London, now in its seventh year, is a call to action. It invites Londoners to clear out their old coats, take them to drop off points from where they will be sorted and distributed to partner charities who work with homeless people, older people, refugees and women’s refuges. This year I volunteered for two out of the three drop off days at Liverpool Street Station. It was tiring but brilliant work. Usually I work at home, mostly liaising with colleagues and clients by phone or email. This was a chance to talk to people face-to-face and be in the thick of something brilliant.

On Tuesday we filled 49 giant sacks with donations. Each sack took between 10-20 coats. Today we filled 89, plus two suitcases! In total the good people of Liverpool Street and Broadgate donated men’s, women’s and children’s coats filling 154 sacks over the three days.

View into Liverpool Street Underground Station from upper concourse

Here’s why it works.

Clear branding and marketing

Wrap Up London – the name is beautifully clear, strong and emotive.

Clever marketing used red coats on London prominent statues which was eye-catching and simple. Amy Winehouse’s statue in Camden wore a red coat and branding on the banners included Nelson in a dashing red puffer jacket.

Of course, there were still people who hadn’t heard of the campaign (and those who weren’t interested) despite awareness raising in the run up to the collection days on social media and leafleting. But there were enough that did and many who had been looking out for the campaign after they had donated in 2016.

Clear action

Get rid of your old coat and it will be given directly to someone who needs it.

This simple transaction is motivating. It helps the donor to clear something they don’t want any more and they can imagine the person who might benefit from it instead. It is a simple ‘from me to you’ without any cost to the donor and a streamlined, well organised process to drive it.

Most people have an old coat somewhere – maybe a child’s coat grown out of or an impulse buy. There are some who are moved on the day to donate. One woman actually took her coat off and gave it to us (and then came back to retrieve her train ticket from its pocket!)

However, although it is a simple ask, the process of donating for most isn’t without effort. It will be time-consuming to find the coats, put them in a strong bag and it will take effort to remember to pick them up on the way in to work, then lug them on a squashed-in commute, and potentially modify their journey to pass by a drop-off point. It is precisely all this effort which makes it meaningful.

Some people go the extra mile. For example, some had specifically washed or dry cleaned their coats before handing them over. Many gave large donations of heavy and bulky items, some delivered them in suitcases which they then took onwards, empty. There were some people who bought donations every day. Some had travelled a long way or in difficult circumstances (including several people on crutches).  The highlight of my Wednesday was the stars from Spitalfields City Farm who delivered several bin bags and boxes of coats via three wheelbarrows which they’d pushed all the way from the other side of Brick Lane!

What struck me most was the urge people had to donate, to do something positive, something lots of other people were doing at the same time.  The kindness and enthusiasm was reassuring and wonderful.

Volume

This is a London-wide event, now firmly in the calendar. There are six tube collection points (at the major train stations – London Bridge, King’s Cross, Waterloo, Victoria, Liverpool Street plus Canary Wharf – with thousands of people passing through) open for three days, all staffed by volunteers plus drop-off points at Safestores for longer.

Many of the people donating today came with bin bags full of coats which were a collective donation from their office. It was something they could do together as no cost.

Thanks and encouragement

Donors of course felt good about what they had done. The transactional process of handing over a bag was met with smiles, thank you’s, chat, selfies and a cool sticker. Sometimes it was quick as people were rushing off to work or to get a train. Other times people stayed to talk.

People were also being thanked on social media by individual volunteers and @WrapUpLondon using #WrapUpLondon and #HandsOnHeroes. The energy of the campaign was infectious especially through the three days of the tube collection.

I wrapped up London stickers

It was brilliant. I thoroughly recommend volunteering next year if you get a chance (you can volunteer from 7-9 so still get to work on time) or taking part in other similar events. I can’t wait to hear how many sacks each of the locations collected and whether donations beat last year’s total and the difference they make.

In these miserable times, it was wonderful to see kindness and generosity first-hand and to see people doing something practical to help others.

Do can do something positive

You can still get involved – donation points are open until 24 November or you can text donations to 70070.

See also: WrapUp Manchester which happened at the same time. Here is a Moment from their day 2.

Think about how you could apply these principles to your fundraising or campaign.

If you want to galvanise collective giving, why not run a reverse advent calendar in the run up to Christmas.