Do you live-tweet?

Some tips about how to get the most out of live-tweeting from a conference or event.

This week it is the epic Institute of Fundraising annual conference. Three days, 100+ speakers, a festival of fundraising best practice, shared learnings and inspiration.

This year the #IoFFC programme is huge with ten different streams (such as digital and philanthropy) and sessions graded by level (intermediate or advanced). If you are there, it must be impossible to choose which sessions to go to. If you are not there it is pretty hard to follow the busy hashtag as there are sometimes nine sessions going on at once and hundreds of tweets coming out each day.

Screenshot of tweets using #IoFFC. There are 743 new tweets sent since the conference started.

Thank goodness for the handful of live-tweeters, working hard to share key points and their top takeaways in a way that is easy to follow (examples at the end).

How to get the most out of live-tweeting

If you are at a conference or event and planning to live-tweet, here are some tips about how to do it.

  • Sit at the front. You’ll take better photos of slides which will be easier to read.
  • Use threads. This makes it easier for everyone to follow the whole session you are at. Whether you are live-tweeting every important point or just one or two key takeaways, do it in a thread.
  • If you are at an event with more than one session, start a new thread for each session.
  • On the first tweet, include the name of the session and who is presenting, including their @names if they have one. Include a screenshot of the title slide or something else to make the tweet stand out.
  • Don’t worry if you miss an important point. You don’t have to cover everything. It can be quite stressful to try and keep up.
  • Include the event hashtag in each tweet.
  • If you are including images, especially of slides, use alt text to describe what the image is showing. If this is text, transcribe it (or better still include it in your tweet). If it is a graph or chart, try to describe the meaning. Make your tweets accessible to everyone.
  • RT the first tweet from your thread(s) at the end of the conference or the next day when people are back at their desks and wanting to reflect on what they have learnt. Your thread(s) will help them.

(NB Some people don’t like using threads because individual tweets can’t be included in a Wakelet or equivalent later. Personally I think it is more important to live-tweet in a way which helps someone follow everything you have shared. If you fire out lots of individual tweets, some will be missed.)

Why not have a go!

Live-tweeting isn’t for everyone. You may prefer to make your notes using a pen and pad to write or draw, or like to type longer-form notes. Or just sit and listen. We all have different ways of taking in new information. You need to get the most out of the event you are at.

But if you are confident on Twitter it can be a great way to take notes in a way that builds your profile and benefits others at the same time. If you can listen and tweet (and photograph) all at the same time you are good to go. Get on the wifi with your phone, tablet or laptop and start sharing.

You may find that having ready-made notes in this format, makes it easier to turn them into a blog post or report later. At the least you will have a thread (or series of threads) which you can look back on and / or share with colleagues.

#IoFFC live-tweeters

Here are some examples of people live-tweeting or sharing their takeaways from each session they go to, from day one of the conference:

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Can I help you?

Get in touch if I can help you with content planning, training or strategy. I work with charities of all shapes and sizes. I can help give your comms or digital processes a healthcheck and ideas injection.

I also live-tweet at conferences and events. If you are a conference organiser, don’t assume that there will be delegates who can help your expertly curated event reach a wider audience. I can help. Please get in touch.

 

 

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Small Charity Week – round-up of useful posts

Today I volunteered at the Big Advice Day event in London organised by the team at FSI as part of Small Charity Week. They organised an impressive 315 hours of advice between over 120 advisors and 100 charities in the room and over the phone / Skype. The room was buzzing all day!

I spent an hour in turn with people from five amazing small charities and talked about digital comms / marketing / fundraising. The charities were very different (two working in development / overseas, two health charities and one local branch of a national charity). And of different sizes and ages. All were doing properly amazing and vital work with limited funds.

Here are some of the main themes which we covered and some links to relevant posts I have written, useful to small charities.

(NB I mostly include examples from larger organisations in posts as these are easier to find. I would love to include more from smaller charities. I think we can all learn from each other. Did you see the Small Charities Coalition, #BigSupportSmall campaign which launched on Monday?)

urban street art - snoopy the dog looks up at a flying yellow woodstock (from Charlie Brown)

Legacy fundraising

Four out of the five charities I saw today wanted to talk about legacy fundraising. Many had received legacy gifts but felt that they could do more to drive this type of support. Some were uncomfortable about making an ask.

We talked about using hooks to make the ask easier like Remember a Charity Week in September, Free Wills Month in March or significant events like an anniversary or capital project.

We mostly talked about content and the importance of checking the digital experience (number of clicks, giving useful information, checking the stats to see where people are dropping off etc). We looked at examples of others being creative, confident and appropriate in the messaging. There are lots of examples of this here:

Involving people with ‘lived experience’

More and more charities are involving people with first-hand experience of the cause at board level, in co-design of services, and in strategy setting. Many of those I talked to today were doing this but not yet involving them in comms. There are big opportunities (and risks) to include first-hand storytelling in your on and offline comms, funding applications and in-person events.

Comms processes

Being a comms / marketing / fundraising person in a small charity means prioritising and juggling. It can be easy to be overwhelmed by needing to be on 24/7. Some of this pressure can be eased by sorting out your systems and processes so that you don’t waste time looking for an image or re-writing a standard piece of copy. (I have a crib sheet of standard tweets, messages and links I can modify and use which saves loads of time.)

Spending some time working out your image strategy, thinking about crisis comms or working on monthly comms plan is time well spent. In a small charity you can be reactive but to avoid feeling like you are always chasing your tail, make sure this is balanced with some planning and preparation.

Small Charity Week

There is lots going on during the rest of the week including fundraising day on Thursday and celebration day on Saturday. Do get involved. The hashtag is #SmallCharityWeek.

Find out about the small charities near where you live. There are sure to be lots of them working from kitchen tables (see this fab thread from Tiny Tickers sharing their working spaces) or shared offices. They are on the ground working in your community or supporting people further afield. Just look at this great A-Z of small charities in Camden curated by Camden Giving which gives a flavour of the volume and variety of organisations in one London borough.

Use the Charity Commission charity search to find a small charity near you. Then find out how you can help. Donate your money or time or skills to give them a boost. Small charities need your support.

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Digital round-up – May 2019

Highlights this month: mental health awareness, campaigns about talking, animals (dogs, cats, ravens) and lots of great digital charity reads.

Not sure where the summer has gone! Pop the kettle on, turn off the news and catch up with some of the things you might have missed in May.

dandelion fluffy clock plus a few buttercups

How to use: Pick and choose links to read, or open in new tabs for later. Or bookmark this post. Even better, subscribe and get future round-ups direct to your inbox.

Content

20 questions to start a conversation with a young person, including 'what are you most looking forward to this week' and 'what makes you feel calm'

This month, it was #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek so there was some great content around. For example, have a look at:

Also this month:

Still from End Loneliness video - two men have a chat. One says 'I think I might just just go for a little walk around and actually say hello to someone'

six photos of men with their cats (including one of cats in a car)

Twitter takeover of the month: Ceri and Krissie’s Twitter takeover of the Scope account showing how Scope have developed their digital experiences to make them easy to use and accessible.

What are you doing for #SmallCharityWeek next week (17-22 June)? If you don’t work for a small charity, why not find a local one to support. Keep an eye out for the #BigSupportSmall campaign too.

Comms

Don’t miss CharityComms’ Getting ahead in your comms career conference next week (20 June). Follow #CommsCareer if you are not there.

Digital – strategy, design, culture

NCVO have updated the Digital Maturity Matrix to include service design, data protection and security. Have you used this tool to assess the digital maturity of your organisation? In today’s Charity Digital Report, it was cited (question4)  by just 23% of respondents. Do take a look if you haven’t seen it already.

Once you have done that, read Digital transformation is a leadership problem about team culture and blockages by Mike Bracken. Here’s his definition as he says the term has got lost in all the noise: “digital transformation is the act of radically changing how your organisation works, so that it can survive and thrive in the internet era.”

Parkinson's UK service team's principles (including we are people focussed, we are transparent)

Fundraising

Don’t miss the free online conference from Resource Alliance – 12 & 13 June: Fundraising Online including an international line-up of speakers.

People and organisations

illustration for Citizen's Advice future of advice plan

And finally….

Your recommendations

What did you read, watch or launch this month? Please add your links in the comments.

Can I help you?

Get in touch if I can help you with content planning, training or strategy. I work with charities of all shapes and sizes. I can help give your comms or digital processes a healthcheck and ideas injection.

——

Did you miss April’s round-up? Catch up with more good reads!

How to use a Twitter Moment

Twitter Moments were launched in 2016. They are generally underused in charity comms. A quick survey of 50 charity’s Twitter accounts found that only 18 had ever done a Moment. Most of the 18, had only done one or two. Yet they are a quick and easy way to present and preserve content.

Screenshot of 2 Cats Protection Moments with a small number of Likes

Engagement levels of Moments seem to be generally low but if you are using them infrequently and only sharing them once, this isn’t surprising. You need to have a content plan for sharing and integrating them within your comms.

Value shouldn’t just be based on likes, shares and opens. Having a permanent document of something is useful for lots of different reasons. For example a Moment can make it easier to share the story of an event during and afterward. Having an archive of Moments can help you to take stock and plan future comms. A Moment can be a great way to show Twitter activity to colleagues. Moments can also be used and reused as evergreen content.

Here are the most common uses for Moments:

  • to share an event
  • to preserve or share fragmented content
  • to have a permanent record of something important
  • to showcase your community
  • to present content in a different way.

1. Events

Runs, fundraising challenges and other events can generate a lot of tweets. The good ones can get lost in the noise or missed altogether. Having a Moment is a great way to showcase and celebrate what happened. They can brilliantly show the live atmosphere and hype of the event better than any write-up. And they can be useful months later when recruiting for next year or sharing the impact of what happened.

screenshot of Macmillan Cancer's tweet sharing their Moment of the London Marathon

Top tip: Try and make the Moment as soon after the event as possible. People get home and want to relive it. If your Moment is ready then, more people will look at it and share it with their friends. A Moment made a week later has missed the boat.

2. Content curation

Moments are also a great way to curate content on Twitter. Think of them as a simplified, single channel (much missed) Storify or Wakelet.

A Moment can be used to bring content together that would otherwise be hard to find. For example, responses to a question (user-generated content) or a series of tweets not made into a thread or when you want to include tweets from other people into your messaging.

screenshot of Time to Change Moment 1.4Likes

3. A permanent record

If something big is happening, why not make a Moment of it? Tweets will soon get lost in your back catalogue, never to be seen or used again. Document it live or after the event to help others follow what happened.

Tweet promoting Heads Together's Moment of the #MentalHealthMinute for Mental Health Awareness Week

See also: Rocur and Twitter takeovers – blog post from 2017.

4. Community building

I didn’t find very many examples of Moments being used to showcase community action. How could you use a Moment to thank or celebrate your community?

  • Cambridge CVS showcased small charities during Small Charity Week 2018.
  • Cats Protection gathered some of the best responses to their #CatMenDo campaign.

5. Fun / interesting content

Be creative. Moments can work in lots of different ways. Could you use a Moment to show your impact or as a brochure to your services or present complicated information (such as symptoms or research) in a Moment? Here are some examples of more unusual uses.

How to make a Moment – tips

If you haven’t ever made a Moment, they are pretty simple to do, just follow the steps once you click ‘Create new Moment’. Here’s a how-to guide from Twitter if you need one.

Here’s are some tips on how to do them well.

  • Choose a great cover image which will will be eye-catching and sets the scene for your Moment. I tend to put this tweet at the end of the Moment so that people don’t see the image twice straightaway.
  • Think of a Moment like an essay with an introduction, main points in the middle and conclusions at the end. Ease people in with a tweet which introduces the topic and at the end finish with something fun or silly or thoughtful. Don’t just trail off. I have sometimes written a tweet purposefully to use at the end of a Moment either in thanks or to ask a question or to signpost to further reading or a donation.
  • There should be a rhythm to your Moment. You have to curate it, so it flows and tells a story. For example you might put tweets next to each other which use the same colours.
  • Try not to include tweets which are very similar to others. Be ruthless. Not many people will make it to the end of a 20 tweet Moment. Put some good ones at the end – reward people for getting there!
  • Try to use tweets which only have one image. Tweets will multiple images take up more space and can disrupt the flow.
  • Include tweets with video or gifs or graphics to keep it interesting.
  • Make the title clear and short. Include the #hashtag if you are using one.
  • Tweet your Moment and @mention some of the accounts you have included to broaden engagement.

Top Moment makers

More about Moments

Do you use Moments?

Have you used Moments? Do you like them or think they are a waste of time?

Share your favourites and top tips in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.

Digital round-up – April

 

Highlights this month: Notre Dame, Extinction Rebellion, New Power, April Fool comms, surveys and more….

Another Bank Holiday? Already? Excellent! Catch up with charity digital content and reads you might have missed while you were trying to squeeze some work in between days off.

cherry tree heavy with pink blossom

How to use: Pick and choose links to read, or open in new tabs for later. Or bookmark this post. Even better, subscribe and get future round-ups direct to your inbox.

Content

screenshot from National Trust video - 'freshly baked cheese scones. Ketchup or Mayo first?'
screenshot of National Library of Scotland's tweet showing the black hole over the Edinburgh skyline

Comms and marketing

Digital – strategy, design, culture

Screenshot of Matt Collins' article

Fundraising

People and organisations

There has been lots of talk this month about shifts in power, diversity and representation. Here are some useful reads (and watches):

acevo leadership framework

And finally….

Your recommendations

What did you read, watch or launch this month? Please add your links in the comments.

Can I help you?

Get in touch if I can help you with content planning, training or strategy. I work with charities of all shapes and sizes. I can help give your comms or digital processes a healthcheck and ideas injection.

——

Did you miss March’s round-up? Catch up with more good reads!

Digital round-up – March 2019

Highlights this month: innovation, charities doing great at digital, responsible tech, #GBSpringClean, The Samaritans new website, representation in images and comms. 

Don’t let Brexit misery drag you down. Get outside for a nice walk in the sunshine, have an ice cream, then settle back to catch up on this month’s good reads and great content. 

model of 1950s seaside. woman sits reading a book while two boys queue for ice cream

How to use: Pick and choose links to read, or open in new tabs for later. Or bookmark this post. Even better, subscribe and get future round-ups direct to your inbox.

Content

screenshot from Wildlife Trusts' video of animated Wind in the Willows

Comms

Charity Comms' Innovation report

Digital – strategy, design, culture

Samaritans - screenshot of new homepage

The web at 30

The world wide web was 30 this month. I looked at how the charity web has changed through the evolution of the British Red Cross website

Fundraising

People and organisations

One of the 10 tips - don't ignore succession planning and empowering teams

And finally….

Your recommendations

What did you read, watch or launch this month? Please add your links in the comments.

Can I help you?

Get in touch if I can help you with content planning, training or strategy. I work with charities of all shapes and sizes. I can help give your comms or digital processes a healthcheck and ideas injection.

——

Did you miss February’s round-up? Catch up with more good reads!

Charity web at 30

The World Wide Web is 30 today (11 March 2019). Five years ago I used the Wayback Machine to look at trends in charity website design, using British Red Cross as an example. Here is the post, now updated with lessons from 2019.

Is your charity website keeping up with the latest developments in design and functionality?

Starting out – 1998

British Red Cross website 1998

The British Red Cross homepage in 1998 shows that the web standard of logo in top-left was there from the start. The site was very basic, probably hand-coded in html and uploaded via FTP.

  • Brochure-ware content – dense homepage to be read like a book.
  • Email to make a donation.
  • ‘Click here’ links.
  • No images.
  • No search.
  • Approx 10 pages. Only one-level down.
  • Sponsored by Vauxhall.

Increased functionality – 2006

British Red Cross 2006

Fast-forward eight years and the 2006 homepage leads with an appeal. Fundraising and raising awareness is now most important. There is greater awareness of design. More thought about actions and audience.

  • Published using CMS.
  • Images but no coherent design.
  • Site-wide (top) and left-hand navigation.
  • Fundraising prominent – 6/12 ‘Quick Links’ are fundraising. Donate now tab.
  • Search button.
  • Functionality – ‘In my area’.
  • Accessible links.
  • No social media (Facebook launched in 2004, Twitter in 2006).

Integrated digital comms – 2014

British Red Cross website 2014

Another eight years and now the 2014 website still leads with an appeal using a single emotive image. The site is sophisticated offering many opportunities for interaction, transaction, discussion and commerce but also has a presence across many other digital platforms (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, blog, Apps, games etc). It feels like digital is now being taken more seriously.

  • Multiple channels (links to six network channels at the bottom of the page).
  • Optimised for mobile / tablet.
  • Many opportunities for interaction.
  • Greater use of video, audio, photos, games to tell a story.
  • Donation button and quick PayPal option on homepage.
  • CMS powered, integration with CRM and other databases.
  • Evolution of ‘in your area’ functionality.
  • Accessibility buttons.

Website in 2019

Red Cross homepage in 2019. 10s full-screen video

Now the 2019 homepage is all about clarity and impact. Previously the homepage would have had to work hard at promoting everything as most people would go to the homepage first. Now sites are so well indexed with people going direct to the pages they are looking for, so the homepage can be devoted to telling a story or running a campaign. The homepage can appeal to hearts and minds rather than acting as a directory.

The currently site uses a full-screen video for the current appeal. It shows 10 seconds of different views from Yemen to tell a story to drive donations.

Below the appeal, the page is segmented into sections with different types of links (UK appeals, get help in a crisis, support, first aid, how we help, shop). These use colour and photos to make it easy to use. This architecture is replicated in the top-level navigation which is now reduced to five options.

  • Images are more powerful, instantly telling a story. Video is centre-stage.
  • Simplified navigation (no more What we do, Where we work etc).
  • Language is shorter and has more impact. Links are 1-3 words. Appeal text is ‘Help give life-saving aid to families in desperate need’. In contrast with ‘Help us continue giving thousands of people vital aid in this desperate situation. Please give what you can today’ from 2014.
  • Donate button on top right-hand side.

Web design in 2019

I have been training people on writing for the web since 2003 – over half of the web’s life – and working on websites since 1996. Many of the old rules still apply (short sentences, headings, meaningful link text etc). But the way we consume information and content online in 2019 means that we now need to be even tighter with our words. Attention spans are shorter and screens are smaller. The language we use needs to be immediate, strong and clear. There is no room for wasteful words on the homepage or in navigation links.

Photographs and images now need to have more impact. They should use strong colours and instantly tell a story. Compare the images used in 2006 / 2014 with the images used now. They use close-ups and are not afraid of sharing an intimate moment, pain or emotion. They are beautiful and difficult to look at.

Homepages generally use a hero image (or in some cases video) which is shown at full-screen. This image has to work very hard to communicate everything you want in that key real estate location. Do you have images that are strong enough to do that? Take a look at the homepages of Crisis, NCT, Brathay Trust, and Bloodwise for examples. (See also Review and improve your use of images.)

Your digital strategy

You don’t need to be the size of British Red Cross to need a clear plan for how your website and wider digital platforms support the goals of your organisation. Technologies and design standards are changing all the time. Just today, Samaritans launched its new website which has a cool features such as a dynamic homepage which changes depending on the time of day.

A digital strategy can help you to persuade trustees to invest in new technology or staff. You may use it to plan your increasing use of social media, create digital services and have a reference for how you’ll deal with a crisis. Or it may help you plan the next 6-12 months, ensuring you are using your resources in the right way and keeping up with your peers.

Take a look at the Charity Digital Code of Practice which was launched at the end of 2018. It aims to help charities increase their impact, develop skills and improve digital sustainability. Zoe Amar recently shared data from the self-assessment tool to show where charities are at with Code.

Whatever the priorities for your website, it is worth investing your time in producing a digital strategy to support its future evolution.

Useful links

If you need in-person help, there are lots of Digital Strategy courses and freelancers / consultants who can support you.

More on the web at 30

Read more about the web at 30:

Look at other examples of how design has evolved via the web design museum.

Google Doodle for the web at 30