Are you going to #BeingTheStory 2018?

There’s now just a week to go until this year’s Being the Story event in London.

Sounddelivery have put together another amazing line-up of people who will tell their stories in creative and powerful ways. You really don’t want to miss this.

4 speakers from Being the Story 2017

Why should I go?

The event will be moving, thought-provoking and inspiring.

It will make you think about your use of case studies and storytelling.

It will open your eyes to different experiences and views. Get a flavour from previous Being the Story events:

Get tickets

Book your place today! Friday 19 October, Conway Hall near Holborn in London.

Hope to see you there.

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Digital round-up – September 18

Highlights this month: AI, ethics, the Human search engine, and hope.

September is a busy month of awareness days and a good time to launch new brands or websites before the noise of seasonal fundraising. Pop the kettle on and catch up with some content and good reads you might have missed.

vintage toy yellow citron car on a fluffy blue carpet

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

Still from Wayback video. Two older ladies using cardboard VR viewer, open mouths - wow!

screenshot of 4 human search engine images

There were new websites from Sue Ryder, and NPC this month. Plus new brands from National Autistic Society and RNIB who created a short video about the change..

Comms

Digital

Fundraising

In case you missed it, I wrote this about donor experience / in-memory fundraising.

People

Hope… and where to find it – read this moving post by Kate Carroll to help remind yourself why your comms / information / fundraising work, really matters.

black and white photo of hands holidng a piece of paper with the word 'hope' written

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, skills review and ideas injection.

——

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

Check your donor experience / in-memory fundraising

How do your donor experiences make people feel? Have you created an online giving process which is easy to use and says thank you in an appropriate way? In-memory fundraising has to be particularly sensitive to donor’s feelings.

Here’s an example of how easy it is to get it wrong and a reminder to regularly check your donor experience.

Careless comms

A couple of weeks ago I got the news that a school friend took his own life. His family asked for donations to a specific mental health charity instead of flowers at the funeral. On Monday (which was World Suicide Prevention Day) I made an online donation via JustGiving in his memory to the local branch. The charity did not have a ‘donate in memory’ function on its website and I spent 20 minutes going round the houses to find how to make a one-off online donation.

My donation on JustGiving - 'Donation in memory of my school friend, who recently took his own life aged 43. #WorldSuicidePreventionDay"

The next day I got the following thank you email via JustGiving.

It was careless that they spelt my name wrong (it does happen all the time but it is still annoying) but it was the lack of care they put into the response which was disappointing. The tone of voice felt inappropriate given the message I had left with my donation (saying that the donation was in memory of my friend who had taken his own life). I would have expected more care from a mental health charity.

Message says- You're amazing! Thank you Madeline (spent wrong) from Team. x

I put these mistakes down to two oversights.

1. Because there was no in-memory option on their website, I had to make a standard donation, so was thanked in the standard way. The standard subject line (You’re amazing) would have been fine if I had run a marathon or held a cake sale but this was a donation in memory. I wasn’t amazing, I was doing a normal thing in response to a shocking event. I am sure they wouldn’t have used this line if they had created a separate donor journey for in-memory gifts.

2. Maybe the person who writes the thank you doesn’t read the messages left with the donations. If so, it is risky to use a jolly tone of voice and add a kiss at the end of your message. (The message says: Thank you Madeline from Team [charity name] x.)

Check your donation journey

This isn’t intended to be a name and shame but as a real-life example to remind you how easy it is to get it wrong and a call to action to check your donation journeys. It is easy for mistakes to creep in, especially if you are using multiple platforms or have periodically added different online payment options without seeing the whole picture.

But your donors don’t care about this. They just want an easy process to give. They want an appropriate and timely thank you.

Check yourself – be your own mystery shopper. Put yourselves in the shoes of different donors, get your user-journeys right. Think about their motivations and feelings. Check your thank you processes. For example:

  • Are your automatic responses, appropriate in all situations? Avoid exclamation marks and kisses!
  • Have you got the right pathways for people to give in different ways?
  • Do you have an appropriate tone of voice, especially when talking about sensitive issues?
  • How do you respond to personal messages left with donations? Have you developed standard messages you can modify?

Don’t give bad donor experiences.

In-memory donations

Check your in-memory options. Do you have a separate page or donation journey for in-memory gifts? Most charities have these and offer lots of different options. For example, alongside a link to make a on-off donation (via their own online donation process or third parties such as JustGiving), many provide envelopes to take donations at funerals, links to set up fundraising pages or tribute funds, or schemes for bigger donations.

There are lots of examples of hospices and health-related causes who are good at in-memory fundraising. For example, look at Demelza Hospice Care for Children, British Lung Foundation and Yorkshire Air Ambulance. Non-health organisations recognise that their supporters turn to them at these times too so have similar pages. For example, look at Shelter, Family Action and Freedom from Torture.

screenshot of Freedom from Torture page

In all of these examples, tone of voice is warm, gentle, respectful and positive. As with online legacy content, organisations that do it well, make you feel like they are sitting alongside you as you do something good out of a tough situation.

Each gives an opportunity to make a one-off donation in memory, with most offering an option to leave a message.

A donation in-memory is different from a standard on-off donation. It needs processing in a different way. Are you doing yours right?

Further reading

See also, my top tips about online legacy content.

Your comments

How does your in-memory fundraising measure up? Have you got any top tips or examples to share? I’d love to hear from you. Add your views in the comments.

 

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Digital round-up – August

Highlights this month: ethical marketing, voice search, digital evolution and shopping with a giant fundraising cheque.

It’s back to school / work time. If you were off in August or just head-down because everyone else was, here’s some great content and good reads to catch up with.

4 plastic owls (blue, yellow, pink, green) wear glasses in a shop window display

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

Still from Scope's video. Shows people walking with giant banner saying 'rights for disabled people'

Here are some useful reminders about how images can reinforce negative stereotypes. I spotted a call for #NoMoreWrinklyHands and an article shared by Time to Change about the rise of the head clutcher image to illustrate mental health stories. >> Review and improve your use of images.

Comms

Digital

Fundraising

Alzheimer’s Research UK show some love for a giant fundraising cheque. Here we see it in action at the station, in a shop and on a train. A cheque picture with personality! >> Here are more examples of alternatives to cheque line-up pictures in my post Just say no to giant cheques.

Tweet from Alzheimer's Research UK showing staff members out and about with a giant cheque. At the station. At the supermarket.

People

Have you booked your ticket for Being the Story in October? Here’s more about last year’s inspirational event. Being the Story 2017 – carthartic and powerful storytelling. Don’t miss 2018.

And finally….

Blue Peter explain the world wide web – from the BBC archive,1995.

list of links of blue link text - how web pages looked in 1995

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 digital copywriting, 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 July’s round-up? Catch up with more good reads!

Digital round-up – July

Highlights this month include: #WaistcoatWednesday, Charity Digital Code, IoF’s Fundraising Convention and diversity.

It’s been a month of relentless hot weather, football optimism and bleak world news. Plus another bumper crop of great charity content and digital reads.

stacks of ice cream cones in the window of an ice cream shop. they lean under the weight

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. Enjoy!

Content

Bloodwise's call to celebrate WaistcoatWednesday to help beat blood cancer

Bloodwise launched amazing reactive fundraising #WaistcoatWednesday on 7 July to coincide with Gareth Southgate’s big moment on 11 July. At one point on the day #WaistcoastsWednesday was trending confusingly. National Trust spontaneously responded with a tweet about not wasting the coast but didn’t use #WasteCoastWednesday.

There was other fun football content including a forecast from The Met Office, #GarethSouthgateWould tweets including this one from Bliss, Scope’s brilliant BSL videos (see Football’s Coming Home), Give Blood’s missing Os, and many examples of Harry Maguire’s meme including this excellent one from The Horniman Museum. There were serious messages too including this striking image sharing stats about rates of domestic violence.

Lower half of white woman's face. She has blood dripping from her nose and wiped across her mouth. Looks like the England flag.

Also this month:

scruffy dog lying on the grass. speech bubble comes out of its mouth filled with emoji including one of paws, tree, poo etc

How do you promote your members or partner organisations? I love these tweets from Small Charities Coalition shouting-out to members for Pride and the football. Also London Community Foundation showcase grant recipients, in this case following Wimbledon.

Digital

Have you read and given feedback on the Charity Digital Code which launched in July? Consultation closes 25 September.

New websites

This month BHF launched their new website including new font.

Launching a new website, even though it has been a huge project, is not always big news for your audience. I liked this promo video from SUSE (Scottish Union of Supported Employment) to launch their new site.

Fundraising

The digital stream at this year’s IoF Fundraising Convention looked excellent. Catch up with a few of the expertly curated Twitter threads and blog posts if you weren’t there:

Crisis comms

I ran a workshop at the Hospice UK Comms Day which was about brand and reputation. Here are some useful tips from crisis expert Kitty Hamilton. Hospice UK produced a Wakelet of the day, sharing useful tips for hospices. And here is the blog post I wrote about using social media in crisis comms.

chaotic hose pipe, swirling patter

See also:

Leadership

This month there have been lots of discussions about diversity. Vicky Browning from ACEVO shared her commitment to creating a more diverse and inclusive charity sector. Jane Ide from NAVCA blogged Diversity: it’s time to make it real and Diversity part 2: nobody said it was going to be easy.

How do world leaders use Twitter? Lots of data to get stuck in to from Twiplomacy.

50 world leaders shown in individual circles, illustrating Twiplomacy's tweet

10 charity digital people who should be on your radar – some top people who regularly share their digital knowledge. Very happy to have been included. Thanks Lightful.

And finally….

Sign on the wall in a zoo. naughty penguin of the month. Good penguin of the month.

Does social media negatively affect your mental health? Why not take time out with #ScrollFree September? You don’t have to go full Cold Turkey? Cut down as a Night Owl or Sleeping Dog. Check out the website to find out more.

Don’t forget to book your ticket for Being the Story in October. Super Early Bird rate ends 24 August.

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 digital copywriting, 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 June’s round-up? Catch up with more good reads!

Using social media for crisis comms

How your culture, use of social media and the crisis itself influences whether you should use social media to respond.

This blog post was produced for Hospice UK following the HUK Comms Day in July. It is intended for hospices and healthcare providers but is relevant to others too.

chaotic hose pipe, swirling patter

What does your crisis comms plan say about how you’ll use social media? Does your social media policy or strategy (if you have one) include detail about how to respond to an emergency or high-profile story? Do you have the skills and processes in place so you could hit the ground running if you needed to?

Charities have consistently been in the headlines this year. Some cases such as Oxfam, GOSH and Alder Hey were front page news for weeks. Charities such as RNLI and Dogs Trust had to set the records straight when journalists mis-reported stories about their work. We live in a time where people can voice their opinions loudly.

In crisis situations (which can be bad or good), social media can be well used to promote your side of the story, to connect with supporters and to even turn a story around. But to get it right, you need to fully assess the situation to work out how to respond. What you do depends on having a culture and framework where social media is a well-oiled comms tool.

Deciding what to do depends on the crisis and your approach to social media.

Different types of crisis

For the comms team or social media officer, a crisis occurs when they have to drop everything to work on the issue. Therefore a crisis can take various forms. For example a crisis can be:

  • an organisational crisis – physical incidents (fire, flood, power cut, bad weather etc) / patient incident / funding crisis / fraud / malpractice / data breach / high-profile patient / patron in the news
  • a crisis in the local area – as community-based organisations, should you join in with local issues? If a local crisis hits (such as a big accident, fire, local celebrity scandal) do you have capacity or the inclination to connect with local people or show solidarity?
  • social media ‘crisis’ – this means something which is primarily on social media. This could be something you have started yourself which has ‘gone viral’ or a hashtag you need to join in with, or a patient documenting their illness which includes the care you are giving them.

How you respond depends on the situation. And the culture and community you have created around your comms.

A social culture

Does your organisation primarily use social media to broadcast? This means that your Twitter or Facebook feeds are effectively noticeboards announcing events or news? There is no interaction or engagement.

Or is your social media, social? An organisation with fully social channels typically does many of the following:

  • receives and responds to comments – building relationships with supporters
  • comments on other people’s messages – this means they follow and listen to others, responding where relevant
  • connects with local people and businesses away from their own channels – either in other forums or groups, or joining in with social media ‘events’ like #BirminghamHour
  • being creative with social – joining in with trending or topical issues
  • using storytelling
  • trusting staff and volunteers to use social media in their work (this is especially key if you had to draft in colleagues to help out in a crisis)
  • building a group of followers who stand up for the organisation.

If you have a social rather than broadcast approach to your comms and social media, when a crisis hits, you will be in a better place to respond. Partly because you’ll probably have a bigger audience but mostly because you will have an engaged one.

Comms planning

Key to responding well is planning. Have you done a training exercise around a crisis situation? Have you brainstormed situations and standard responses? Even if these scenarios never occur, it is useful to have done the thinking so you can apply it to a different situation.

It is essential to have done thinking around:

  • your tone of voice and housestyle. How is this different on social media? How would your press statement work cut and pasted on to Twitter? Do you need to change the jargon or simplify the message? What images could you use?
  • your integrated comms – how will you use different social channels? How will this integrate with your website, print and email comms?
  • processes around publishing to social media, including monitoring and responding out of office hours. Do you have a list of who uses social media in a professional capacity to represent your organisation so you can get hold of them in an emergency?

I have produced a set of questions to help you work out whether it is a good idea to respond or not – see Crisis Comms Questions (PDF). There are no right or wrong answers and not every question will be relevant. This is intended to help you think about the situation either as part of your crisis comms planning in ‘peacetime’ or if you are in a live crisis.

screenshot of questions about whether to take action or not

Examples

In addition to well documented crisis, played out on social including Oxfam, GOSH, RNLI and Dogs Trust, here are some examples of hospice crisis comms in action.

St Giles Hospice – #MakeFredFamous

Some of the tweets received to #MakeFredFamous

91-year old Fred attends St Giles Hospice’s computer group. The team asked people to wish him happy birthday via their Twitter feed. It took off!

To date there have been 45k retweets and 40k likes and thousands of people sent birthday messages. Fred was featured on local news and radio.

The team worked out when to calm the situation down and regularly checked in with Fred that he was ok with the attention. Fred signed off the press release. The coverage helped them to tell people about a different aspect of their work as Fred wasn’t a patient.

Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall

Sample of tweets responding to a theft at Thorpe Hall

When someone stole donations from the hospice last Christmas, the team wrote an open letter to the thief on their website and promoted it on the social channels. This inspired people to do something to help.

Local people, businesses and community groups rallied round and gave donations. The story got on the local news. The hospice was overwhelmed by the response and over £5000 was raised.

Thorpe Hall could have said nothing about the incident but by approaching it in a positive way, the story spread and inspired people to get involved with great results.

Useful reads

See also 5 digital comms tips for hospices – a blog post from 2015 with some great examples.

What do you think?

How has your organisation approached crisis comms? Are there situations where you purposefully haven’t used social media? How do you make decisions about what to do? Who decides?

Please do share in the comments. I’d particularly like feedback on the PDF questions – are they useful / what’s missing?

Can I help you?

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

 

 

With thanks to Sue Ryder, St Giles Hospice, St Wilfrid’s Hospice and St Ann’s Hospice who shared their experiences as part of research for the workshop / blog.

Digital round-up – June

June passed by in a blur of great weather, football fever and lots of great charity reads. Get an ice cream / cool drink and settle back to hook some juicy digital catches!

metal fish in a paddling pool, ready to be hooked for fun. Summer picture.

Warning – this is another bumper crop. 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. Enjoy!

Content

Dogs Trust - cute animation. Starts with a dog shuffling across the screen looking cheeky

Map with hundreds of red dots, each clickable to read the supporter's comment

5s video showing a small wave washing away a person (in lego) talking a photo of the weather.

Screenshot of doggy Twitter Moment

Digital

In case you missed it Brathay Trust: a lesson in crisis comms.

Brathay's instagram - image of a young man in a bright yellow t-shirt completing the run

Teams and ways of working

Mind your language

Suicide has been in the news a lot recently. Here are some guides to writing about it responsibly.

Events

Fundraising

Scope subscription box Mindful Monsters for parents and chidren

More

And finally….

1970's BBC presenter next to a BBC micro computer.

 

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 digital copywriting, 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 May’s round-up? Catch up with more good reads!