#YouMadeItHappen 2019

Did you join in with the second #YouMadeItHappen day? Here’s a round-up of the day and insights it gives into impact comms.

#YouMadeItHappen Friday 11 October - NCVO's graphic, with photos from community groups.

Highlights

Charities used a mix of storytelling, graphics showing impact data, short videos showing projects and events as well as simple thank you messages. I made a Moment of some of the tweets shared on the day.

Here are some highlights:

  • Dogs Trust shared a fun video with the text saying ‘thank you for everything you do to keep dog’s tails wagging’. With 14 replies, almost 1k likes and 17.3k views, it looks like it was the YMIH tweet with the highest engagement.
  • I like the clear graphics used in this six-tweet thread by Macmillan Cancer. It could have used emojis or better spacing in the text of the tweets to make them easier to read. A link and / or call to action could have prompted further engagement.
  • The Stroke Association created a thread of three tweets. The first was a video of the team saying thank you, second an animation of impact data and third, an animation of fundraising supporter statistics.
  • Bowel Cancer UK shared a 28 second video which got 600+ views on both Instagram and Twitter. It ends with the powerful words ‘You’re helping us save lives everyday’.

Hashtag overload

The hashtag was trending 12th in the UK during the day. A quick spot-check of 20 large and 20 small charities on Twitter, chosen at random, found that only a few joined in with the hashtag. Just 30% of the large charities in my sample and only one (5%) of the smaller ones took part.

The day coincided with a busy hashtag time. Many of those in the sample who didn’t join in, were tweeting on the day with #DayOfTheGirl, #ComingOutDay content or finishing off #HospiceCareWeek or #BabyLossAwarenessWeek or taking part in #BlackHistoryMonth, their own campaign hashtags or just sharing #FridayFeelings!

#YouMadeItHappen day was at the end of a huge week of awareness raising (including #WorldMentalHealthDay, #WorldHomelessDay and #ChallengePoverty week in Scotland). Maybe the day would have had more reach during a quieter time?

Other channels

Although #YouMadeItHappen was primarily intended to be a Twitter-based, it was also across other channels.

For example, an Instagram search found a total of 2443 posts using #YouMadeItHappen (though only some of these were sent on 11 October). A few had really good engagement such as this brightly coloured thank you graphic from The Scouts which did better than its Twitter YMIH photo.

Colourful graphic from Scout - thank you to all of our volunteers. 1144 likes

For some charities the same content did much better on Facebook than on Twitter. For example NRAS’ thank you video from the fundraising team got 1k views on Facebook but 234 on Twitter.

Getting the most out of impact comms

#YouMadeItHappen day is a chance to tell people about all the amazing work you have done, to celebrate supporters and bring life to the impact all this has had. It can be hard to know how to do this effectively.

Making a thank you video is lovely and sharing data is great, but how do you avoid the ‘so what’ factor? How do you ensure people are going to see what you have planned for the day? And then engage with it? Here are some thoughts.

Grab and keep attention

Are your messages eye-catching or colourful or different to your usual style to make people pause to look at them? Are they clear?

Can you use emojis or line spacing to make it easy to digest the information? The Stroke Association tweet did this well.

Present data clearly and limit the amount you are giving. A few juicy stats can work better than a whole impact report. Posts on Instagram seemed to do this better than many on Twitter.

screenshot of several posts from instagram. Most share stats in a clear and simple way.

Some charities primed their audience that they were going to fill the day with messages about. For example, Carers Trust shared this lovely animation at the start of the day.

Make it meaningful

Do your messages give your audience a reward or a warm feeling or a closer connection to the difference you have made? This is easier if you have cute cats and dogs or a rare butterfly to share. But everyone can use storytelling and photography, like this from Craftspace.

Very few charities were sharing stories from the people they helped. I liked this video from Epilepsy Action sharing thanks from four people who have been helped by the charity.

What are the facts or insights which are meaningful to your supporters? You don’t have to tell them everything in one go. Do these come from data or individual stories? Whose voice do they want to hear? What will they watch until the end?

What will inspire people to reply? The number of replies can be a good indication you have got it right. It can show that people feel like you are talking to them and feel like they WERE part of the impact you are sharing. Have you crafted your message so people can respond? Try coming up with a response yourself to check. Maybe you could include a question in your YMIH messaging. Are you able to respond to any comments to further build connections?

Make it easy for people to do more

Include an action. I saw very few tweets which included a link for more information. The point of the day isn’t about asking for donations or for more people to volunteer. But if you are sharing data about your impact or stories about the difference you make, make it easy for people to find out more by including a link. Make sure that this page is working harder than just listing all your annual reports to download.

Top tips

  • Post first-thing in the morning to grab the attention of the commuter or people starting work (depending on your audience).
  • Include a link to a webpage with data about impact if you can. (See this post by Richard Berks with examples of how charities show their achievements.)
  • Include alt text / descriptions for your images, especially for information-giving graphics. If the information is too complex to describe in alt text, include a link to a page where this information is available. Think about the accessibility of your comms.
  • Use threads to connect information on Twitter. Seeing messages connected as a thread makes them easier to interact with.
  • Be creative! Have fun with how you can use the day to celebrate supporters and bring your work to life.

What are your top tips? I’d love to hear your experience of the day and how you crafted your comms.

Every day is YMIH day!

Why wait until next year to share stories about impact?! How often do you communicate your impact? Or share detail of your work? Do your supporters know about your achievements or highlights?

See Using digital to bring your impact to life.

More about YMIH day

Can I help you?

Please 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.

Digital round-up – September 2019

Highlights this month: a lesson in crisis comms from RNLI, climate change comms, diversity in the sector, guide to wellbeing.

It’s overwhelming to try and keep up at the moment. Aside from UK and world news, this is a busy time of year for awareness days and campaign launches. Here’s a small snapshot of some of the best charity content and reads from this month and some from August too.

two men in a dark room photograph some neon artwork on a phone. pink and purple colours

How to use this round-up: 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

Big campaigns

screenshot of Samuel L Jackson's ARUK film. He holds an orange.

Creative content

Reactive content

Celebrity endorsement of the month: The Hoff visits RNLI Penarth.

'we support the climate strike' drawing on office window. By Salford CVS

Did your organisation do anything to join in with the #GlobalClimateStrike either by joining a strike or sharing messages of solidarity or making statement about your own organisation’s commitment to addressing climate change? On a day where there was a global focus on the issues, it was good to see some (mostly environmental charities) pulling out all the stops. It was disappointing to see so many others saying nothing. Here are some examples of charities who joined in with the #GlobalClimateStrike.

Comms

It can be stressful and relentless being on the comms frontline. Your work is key to building and protecting your organisation’s reputation and impact, while also battling internal pressures. This month, Charity Comms launched A wellbeing guide for comms professionals authored by Kirsty Marrins with contributions from others sharing case studies and tips. It aims to help build resilience and look after mental health. Do have a read if you haven’t seen it already.

RNLI changed their homepage to include a striking image from one of their overseas projects

This month, RNLI faced a backlash then a rush of support, following a story profiling their overseas work. Their messaging on Twitter was an example of patience and warmth. The volume of incoming comments was relentless through the week. They responded by writing personal messages to thousands of people. Their initial tweet has been liked 44.8k times.

I wrote a short thread through the first day as the situation developed including tweets of support from other charities. Dan Slee blogged with more examples and UK Fundraising showed some of the ways people challenged the press story.

What was striking about RNLI’s response was that they took ownership of the situation and proudly communicated their values and mission. For example they changed the image on their homepage (see above) and shared beautiful images from their overseas projects on social media. They also did lots to connect with new and established supporters (see this tweet from Shappi Khorsandi, a thank you email and a thank you video from Dave at Poole Lifeboat Centre).

Would you be ready to respond to a crisis comms situation?

Also this month:

Digital – strategy, design, culture

CCDH advice - don't feed the trolls - graphic with 5 steps. 1=don't engage, 2=don't post you are being targetted, 3=if unlawful, record, report and get help, 4=block trolls, 5=don't let it get to you)

Fundraising

Screenshot from Age UK's website. Older man sits alone. White writing on a purple (cadbury coloured) background say Cadbury are joining Age UK to fight loneliness

People and organisations

There has been lots shared this month about representation in the sector. Here’s a selection of useful reads and resources

Also this month:

And finally….

Well done for getting to the end! Here’s some fun stuff.

Your recommendations and feedback

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

Could you also tell me if these round-ups are useful. It takes quite a long time to put them together. How do you use the round-ups? Please share any feedback. Thanks!

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

Charities joining in with the #GlobalClimateStrike

Today’s #GlobalClimateStrike is likely to be the biggest ever with adults showing solidarity with striking students. Millions of people are taking to the streets around the world. #ClimateStrike, #SchoolsStrike4Climate and #ClimateAction are all currently trending. According to The Guardian yesterday, a public poll found that the Climate crisis is seen as ‘most important issue’. The eight-country poll showed that people view the climate crisis as priority over migration and terrorism. But does the charity sector reflect this?

'we support the climate strike' drawing on office window. By Salford CVS

Even if it’s not your cause, this is a global day of activism about something that will have impact on us all. People will be talking about the issues. How is the sector seeing this as an opportunity to take collective action?

Striking

Charities with an environmental focus are of course shouting about it from the rooftops, encouraging staff and supporters to join in. For example:

Some other organisations are publicly saying how and why they are joining in with the march:

For many it will not be possible to join in with a strike. There is also a way to join in the #DigitalClimateStrike to show solidarity. I’ve seen a good number of agencies and individuals doing this, but no charity websites.

The examples above are primarily from organisations whose remit is connected to climate change. They will of course be joining in.

Other ways to join in

What if it is not your remit? Most organisations can’t stop their everyday work to join a strike. Most will also not want to change their homepages or social media feeds to distract from their own work.

But if on the biggest day of protest about the environment, you are not joining in with the conversation, what does that say? If you are not talking about what you are doing, maybe people will assume you are doing nothing? And in a culture when we need to build trust, connect with our audiences and collectively take action, this is important.

This is an opportunity to show that we care about the same things as our audiences / beneficiaries, especially if they are primarily young people (see this example from YoungScot).

So, use the day (and beyond) to say what you are doing for example to reduce waste or energy use. Talk about some of the changes you have made to the way you work and travel. Talk about what you plan to do (for example, VONNE announced that their annual conference will focus on climate change. And Just For Kids Law had a lunchtime session talking about climate change). Talk about the impact that climate change is, or could have, on the people you represent (see Oxfam’s #WhoTakesTheHeat series).

If the reason your organisation is not doing anything today is because climate change is not on your organisation’s radar, maybe use the day as a way to raise it internally.

It’s time for adults to listen to children say Save the Children in this powerful video.

Read more

Update: after the strike

Youth Strike 4 Climate stated that globally, 4 million people joined in with the strike. There were 5700 strikes in 185 countries. Scottish Youth Climate Strike estimated that 1 in 125 Scots joined the strike.

Here are some examples of timely and powerful comms shared during and after the event to mark the day and build momentum further:

Update: ongoing climate change action

  • Woodland Trust are inviting everyone to join the #BigClimateFightback by pledging to plant a tree by 30 November.
  • British Red Cross shared a video from IFRC called the #FacesOfClimateChange. The same video, translated into different languages, has been shared by branches in other countries.
  • Manchester Community Central are devoting their annual storytelling event to focus on local organisations addressing climate change. On day one they introduced Friends of Fallowfield Loop.
  • Friends of the Earth shared an animation, saying “If you’ve been inspired by the #GlobalClimateStrike or Greta Thunberg’s incredible speech to the UN, then don’t wait for those in power to #TakeClimateAction.”

What do you think?

Did your organisation join in? Is climate change being discussed internally? Have you seen any great examples of climate change comms?

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 – for example, how to make the ask, what terminology should you use to inspire supporters to trust you enough to make this future donation? Really this depends on your audience and their relationship with you. Your ask might be more effective if made via a letter or mentioned in a speech at an event. However, you should probably still have something about legacy giving on your website to help people with the practicalities. The tone of voice and images you use here are key. Your direct relationship with your beneficiaries / supporters is a huge asset as a small charity. If you understand and show that you understand their motivations, you can write content which is powerful and persuasive. If you can show that leaving a gift like this, is something people like them do, it helps them take action too.

It is important to check the digital experience you are giving on your pages – for example can people find the information about gifts in Wills easily (how many clicks and where is it), is the information practical and helpful (does it tell them what they need to know)? Check the statistics if you can, to see where people are dropping off your journey and make changes as needed.

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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How to mark your charity’s anniversary

A significant anniversary can be a big milestone for any charity. Surviving and thriving for a year or five or 100 is a big deal. How should you mark this?

Should you do something public? Could you use it to tell a story, reach new people, fundraise, raise your profile or change direction? A significant anniversary can be a good opportunity to talk about your impact and ambitions for the future.

number grid in a playground - close up of 10, 20, 30 etc

Here are two detailed examples of charity anniversaries and the digital comms they have produced to mark the occasion. Plus top tips with more examples to help you think about what you could do to mark your anniversary.

Combat Stress – 100

Combat Street tweet showing a leaflet from their archive

In May, Combat Stress will mark their centenary. With 100 days to go until the big day, they are sharing insights into their work. On Twitter they are creating one thread counting down. Follow #100StoriesIn100Days for a mix of images from their archive, stories and examples of their work today. The stories are also shared on Instagram and Facebook. Their website has a page for the centenary explaining the history of the organisation.

This volume of comms might seem impossible but if you have a rich archive of stories or facts or images, why not package them up to tell a bigger story? Take a look at the digital advent calendars to help think about the challenges of planning and keeping the momentum going over a long period of time.

London’s Air Ambulance – 30

screenshot from LAA website. Red helicopter against blue sky over London.

In January, London’s Air Ambulance celebrated 30 years. On Twitter they got lovely happy birthday messages from Saracens Rugby Club, London Fire Brigade, and others. They have been sharing fundraising and press coverage via #30YearsSavingLives. Prince William was named as a patron of the campaign and films of him flying a helicopter were widely shared and viewed.

This LAA short video shares how the service started and grew from its early years. Their website is prominently promoting the 30th, with pages dedicated to the anniversary including patient stories and the fundraising appeal. They are also trying to reconnect with patients via Facebook.

Of course we haven’t all got the luxury of Prince William or a lovely red helicopter to drive comms. But this campaign boils down to telling the stories of the impact the service has made. #30YearsSavingLives is a powerful and engaging statement.

Other examples and ideas

Show your impact and ambitions:

Be creative:

  • What can you do with your number? Kemp Hospice are turning 50. As well as decorating the windows of their shop windows gold, they have developed golden branding and shared what donations of £50 could do.
  • Get out of the office. Cumbria Foundation’s 20th birthday card was given its own roadshow so that 20 organisations supported by the foundation could sign it.
  • Get a nifty but simple hashtag which will work over the time you are using it. Track its use and join in conversations where you can.
  • An anniversary isn’t always a celebration to shout about. Think about how you can use the event to raise awareness instead. Missing People are 25 this year. Rather than talking about themselves, an art exhibition brings together portraits of missing people.

Use materials from the archive:

NCVO's time line - close up of highlight from 2005, 2011, 2012

  • Can you do something physical if you are celebrating a big anniversary and have people visiting your office? NCVO who are 100 this year have produced an illustrated timeline in the reception of their office.
  • Have you got an iconic building, product or brand that people love? Share behind the scenes stories or images from the archive. The Guggenheim in New York is 60 this year and are sharing highlights.
  • Have famous people been involved in your charity? Can you share details from the archive? For example, Kensington Palace shared this photo of Diana and William’s names written in The Passage’s visitor’s book from 1993.
  • If your organisation has shaped the way people live, let your archive tell the story. For example when NCT was 60, it was covered in a BBC magazine article.

Build and thank supporters:

Document:

  • Archive and look back. If you are celebrating a significant anniversary over a whole year, document events and share a review at the end. People might still be new to your news or if they were very involved, want to re-live achievements. The Fire Fighters Charity celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2018 and produced a review of the best bits including impressive fundraising activities.

Should you mark an anniversary?

Think about your audience. Do they care that you are 10 or 25 or 75? What might make them care? Do you have a story or hook to make your anniversary engaging?

Think about the practicalities too:

  • Do you have the capacity (time / funds / energy) to mark an anniversary?
  • Will celebrating improve or reduce team morale?
  • When was the last time you did this? Celebrating 30 might not mean so much if you made a fuss of your 25th.
  • What might you lose by doing nothing?
  • Will your comms be over the year if it is a big anniversary (say 100 or 150), in the run up to a particular day, or just one day?
  • Will you run comms across all your channels or limit to one where it fits your audience best?

New charities

If you are a new organisation, getting to an anniversary is a big deal. Celebrating years 1-5 with the people who have helped you get there can give everyone a boost. It can also be a hook to show your impact and reach a wider audience.

For example Little Village recently celebrated its 3rd birthday saying ‘we’ve made it through the critical first 1000 days of life’. They released new figures showing how demand for their service is increasing and the many different ways they have supported families to date, along with an appeal to raise £10,000.

Conclusions

These examples show that there are lots of different ways to mark an anniversary.

Planning and implementation of anniversary activities and comms can take up a lot of time and may only lead to low engagement.

But if you have a meaningful hook to share your impact, fundraise or tell a story and the anniversary is a special one, then go for it. Get creative. And don’t forget the cake.

screenshot from Ronald McDonald House Charities of Corpus Christi, cake celebrating 25 years

Your tips

Have you worked on a charity anniversary or seen any interesting or unusual anniversary comms? Did supporters get involved in the activity? How much time did anniversary planning take? Was it worth it?

I’d love to hear from you. Please share in the comments.

See also

With thanks to Gemma Pettman who suggested I write about this topic.

Can I help you?

Please get in touch if I can help you. I work with charities of all shapes and sizes. I can help give your comms or digital processes a healthcheck and ideas injection or help develop your digital strategy.

Digital round-up – January 2019

Highlights this month: January#, towels for owls, H-O-M-E, digital trends to avoid / embrace, how to declutter your digital footprint.

Things feel a little gloomy at the moment. So switch the news off and catch up with some creative charity content and recent good reads you might have missed.

a pile of colourful bird whistle toys

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

Dogs Trust tweet with almost 500 likes. Image: smiling dog. Text says 'Good dog!!! #NationalComplimentDay'

Shelter's tweet showing a still from the Bros doc. Matt Goss says: i think the words H-O-M-E are so important, because they personlify the words home'. Shelter tweeted ' true though'

It can be difficult to remember all the good stuff from last year. Take a look back in these review from 2018:

Coming soon….

Comms

Digital – strategy, design, culture

Fundraising

Fluffy owl wrapped in a towel, being held by volunteer. Close up.

Still think you can’t ask for donations on Twitter? Be authentic / fun like these examples:

See also:

People

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 the last round-up? Catch up with more good reads!

#YouMadeItHappen 2018

The first #YouMadeItHappen day was brilliant. Well done to NCVO and partners for inspiring so many organisations to join in within just a month of launching it. The hashtag looked to be trending all day. Thousands of charities and other non-profits thanked their supporters and shared stories and stats showing the impact of their work.

NCVO's #YouMadeItHappen graphic

Impact of the day

NCVO analysis shows that #YouMadeItHappen reached 5.4m people and was shared from almost 10k accounts.

I did a quick spot check of large and small charities. I chose 10 of each at random. 6/10 of the large charities had tweeted at least once using #YouMadeItHappen. 2/10 of the smaller ones had done the same. This is impressive given that the idea was only launched at the end of October via NCVO’s blog.

Many used video, threads of tweets, images and gifs to enhance their messages. Engagement though was varied. In my sample, all but a few only generated visible low interaction (likes and RTs).

The hashtag is still active – organisations are using it beyond the big day.

Highlights

Here are a few of my highlights

Women's Aid tweet: A huge, huge thank you to all our supporters - our survivors, donors, members, volunteers, runners, campaigners, community ambassadors, and everyone who's shared awareness on domestics abuse - YOU are making change possible, and setting survivors free. Thank you #YouMadeItHappen

See also:

Vicky Browning's tweet: UK charities spend £1,500 per second improving lives and supporting communities. Thanks to all those who donate - however big or small the amount. #YouMadeItHappen

See more examples in this Twitter Moment of the day.

screenshot of #YouMadeItHappen Twitter Moment

And more examples in ACEVO’s Moment.

What did you do?

If you joined in what results did you get? It is a good time to think about what this tells you about your comms style and what works well with your audience.

  • Was engagement any higher than usual? If so, why, what was different?
  • Did you join in on other channels or just Twitter? What was different?
  • Did you use video, graphics or gifs? Or share stats or stories? What can you learn from this?
  • Did you create new images or video for the day? How easy was this to do? Could you use them again or create more for different uses?
  • Did your tweets prompt people to ask questions? Did you respond or can you add this information to your website?
  • Did you get any negative comments? I saw a few (like these in response to Shelter’s tweets). What did you do? Was that right?
  • How can you continue to thank supporters? And talk about your impact? (see this post on communicating your impact.)

What did you think about the day?

Did you see any interesting examples you could share? Or did it pass you by?

I’d love to know what you thought about the day. Should there be a #YouMadeItHappen 2019?

Other blogs / round-ups