Is your SMT/trustees page inspiring?

How to give the pages about your senior managers and trustees a digital facelift.

Most charities have a page introducing their senior managers and trustees. These are mostly dull and uninspiring. The pages come across as part ego boost for the subjects and part nod to transparency. But they could be so much better. They could boost transparency and trust (especially in this climate of ongoing rumblings about CEO’s pay). They could be inspiring. Supporters may actually want to read them.

Bog standard

A standard ‘meet the team’ page has a photo and biography information for the CEO and other senior managers. There may be a separate page for trustees using a similar style. This usually helps to highlight the lack of diversity in the organisation’s management and doesn’t give any insight into the cause, or an understanding what and why these people do. They are very static and a website dead-end.

Let’s look at some examples of how these pages could be the start of a deeper insight or conversation.

1. Promote social media

Zoe Amar and Matt Collins are currently on a mission to get CEOs tweeting. They have produced a brilliant how-to guide available from The Guardian’s site and list of the top 30 Charity CEO tweeters. More and more senior managers are embracing social media as a way of sharing successes, challenges and connecting with others. Steve Bridger’s list of CEO tweeters shows how many there are out there. But if you look at the charities they head-up, how many are promoting the CEO’s Twitter addresses (or blog or LinkedIn profile) on the website? Only very few. How are supporters meant to be able to access the insights of the CEO tweeter if the addresses are not publicised?

Oxfam's CEO. No twitter address

Breast Cancer Care win the gold star here. Everyone listed on the senior managers page has their own Twitter profile.

Breast Cancer Care - Our senior managers

I have not managed to find a similar page on any site of trustees who tweet (next project Zoe / Matt?).

NB While thinking about transparency and contactability, what is your organisation’s policy on publishing the email addresses for senior managers or trustees? How contactable are they? Contact information for trustees is especially rare to see.  Nottingham CVS publish a contact form and generic email address for their trustees which is a great solution.

2. Think about biogs

Cutting and pasting information from someone’s CV just isn’t interesting or engaging, especially when it is replicated in a long list of trustees. Of course senior managers and trustees have impressive backgrounds and experience but supporters may also want to know about motivations, personal experience and skills. Equally, including information about someone’s CAMRA membership or love of ballroom dancing may not be appropriate. Here are some alternatives:

  • add quotes from each person – Breast Cancer Care’s trustees share quotes rather than CVs
  • include stats about what someone has achieved in their role – see this inspirational example from the CEO of Parkinson’s UK
  • US charity Do share a strange fact nugget about each member of their team next to their cartoon character profile picture
  • publish some kind of skills profile for the team (think LinkedIn endorsements)? This would give a much better insight.

LinkedIn skills profile

See more about writing great staff biogs in this nonprofithub post.

3. Get good photos

Getting a photographer in to do individual head-shots of everyone in the same style is worth it. A page where people have supplied their own photos of varying degrees of quality, looks dreadful (see this example from the NSPCC).

A group picture of the team working together might be even better? (See this team photo of The Brain Tumour Charity.)

Brian Tumour Charity - meet the team

4. Think about your audience

Like with any page on your website, you should think about who is reading this page. Who is it for? What do you want them to do as a result (donate / feel sure that the charity is in safe hands / apply to become a trustee / want to know more)? It may be that all this biography information is not relevant, reading the detail of someone’s career can be quite alienating.

Keeping it simple might be the best answer. Try limiting each person to one paragraph or a certain number of words. Or just including their role and a brief summary. Beanstalk here do a mixture of both but it’s really clear.

Beanstalk trustees

You could test what works best for your audience by looking at your page statistics. Make some changes and see how it influences traffic and bounce rates. Change it back or do something different if it has a negative effect.

You could also try putting a call to action (donate / sign up to newsletter etc) at the bottom of the page and see whether anyone acts.

How to convince your boss?

Of course the internal politics connected with tweaking these pages is not to be underestimated. Showing senior managers these examples may help to convince them that it is time for a digital facelift?

(As an example, Parkinson’s UK spotted me tweeting about Breast Cancer Care’s page and now plan to add twitter addresses to their senior management page.)

And going back a stage, if your boss needs convincing to get on board with social media, send them:

What do you do?

How do you make your staff pages useful? What difference has improving your staff pages made? Please share good and bad examples you have seen. Go-on, add a comment!

Please also get in touch if you’d like me to help you improve your staff pages.


5 thoughts on “Is your SMT/trustees page inspiring?

  1. Reblogged this on one swallow makes a summer and commented:
    This is such a great article- just what we need at the start of Trustees’ Week. I haven’t actually seen a blog on this topic before but if we want to be open organisations it makes a real difference. I’ll certainly be thinking more about it for my own charity now.

  2. Thanks so much for this post, Madeleine. I used both Steve Bridger’s Charity CEO Twitter list and the Breast Cancer Care page in a digital media training session with my CEO yesterday. She found both of them very inspiring and is now very keen to raise her profile using Twitter. Really hoping this will filter through our senior management team too.

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