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

 

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#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:

 

 

280 characters on Twitter

In case you missed it, Twitter started to roll-out its 280 character limit to all users today. Personally I think it is a sad day and mourn the opportunity that everyone had to get a message across clearly and concisely in 140. Of course there is no reason why you now have to use the full 280. Readers still have short attention spans so being clear and concise still wins in my book.

Many took to the platform, responding quickly and creatively to mark the change by spreading important messages using their first #280Character tweets. Here are some examples taken from my #280Characters Moment.

Samaritans Ireland reminded us what they do. Haven House Children’s Hospice shared their impact in 2016/17.

Samaritans Ireland

Mental Health Foundation shared stats about mental health (as well as an image asking for donations). Crisis simply repeated their pledge to end homelessness.

Mental Health Foundation

Crisis - 'end homelessness'

Scotland Fire and Rescue used it as a chance to share some important numbers.

Scot Fire and Rescue

Others like Breast Cancer Care, the Met Office and Rethink Mental Illness used just emojis. (See also this from the Cookie Monster!)

BCC use emojis to make a big pink ribbon

Some used the extra space to say thank you. Oxfam used a video and RNLI a simple thanks.

Oxfam's thank you video

Book Trust started a conversation about favourite characters (nice tie-in!) and got lots of replies.

Books Trust

Some just went mad with the extra space! See GiveBlood NHS, Age UK Lambeth and the Science Museum. Plus Macmillan’s cake tweet and London Ambulance’s nee-naws (currently clocking up 15,000 likes and a nee-naw-off with other emergency service accounts!)

GiveBlood NHS, Science Museum and Age UK Lambeth repeat their messages over and over!

Well done to all who reacted so quickly in such brilliant ways!

Does your comms / social media strategy allow you the space to be reactive and creative?

See the full collection including tweets from museums and heritage organisations in my #280Characters Moment.

See also How 280 twitter characters could benefit comms people by Kerry-Lynne Pyke of Macmillan Cancer on comms2point0  with notes about how the increase should benefit charities who tweet in English and Welsh.

Did you spot any other good examples? Do you have a story to tell about your reactive comms? Please share in the comments.

Ollie’s birthday – a beautiful Twitter storm

It is always amazing and wonderful to watch a positive social media storm. It shows the best in people that they want to do something positive to help someone who needs help. The volume of replies and messages shared in response to this are amazing.

On Thursday (29 June) Ollie’s dad sent a tweet asking for birthday messages for his son who was being bullied and about to turn 9. Here’s how the word spread:

Within a few hours, Twitter made a Moment of some of the replies including the England Football team, Stormzy and Russell Crowe. Thousands of non-famous people replied with their own birthday wishes and stories of how they put being bullied behind them. Messages have been sent from across the world and some other 9 year olds shared their own messages too.

In just over 24 hours, there have been over 33,000 likes and 14,000 RTs of the original tweet.

Ollie's dad's original tweet

It has been covered by the BBC, various newspapers and online channels. Twitter said that there had been 47k tweets. Following these recent weeks of bad news, I think we all needed something positive.

47k tweets say Twitter

But the real story is what it means to Ollie and his family who have understandably been overwhelmed. The messages from famous people and offers of special visits and merchandise will no doubt make his birthday. The messages of support from other parents and now grown-up people who were bullied will take longer to sink in. Hopefully these can help to rebuild their strength and self-esteem to stand up to the bullies.

Ollie’s dad had sent several tweets asking for help about how to document the response in order to share it with Ollie on his birthday (on 5 July).  To help I made a Moment of some of the famous people responses for them to show Ollie.

Twitter Moment

I really hope that someone can do the same for some of the supportive messages about bullying. There’s so much rich content there. Maybe a bullying charity could do something to document these and then help share this with other children and parents in similar situations?

Several charities responded with their own supportive messages including NSPCC and The Children’s Society.

If you haven’t seen it already, do take a look at the thread. It is Twitter at its best.

Update (on day 4): Ollie’s family have understandably been completely overwhelmed by the response. Christopher shared this personal message on Sunday saying thank you and asking for it now to stop so they can go back to being a normal family. He is asking people to donations to one of four charities including the Anti-Bullying Ambassadors Programme if they want to do something positive as a result of reading the thread.

How to share lived experiences using #rocur or Twitter take overs

Hearing someone’s story firsthand can build empathy, a sense of community and crush stereotypes or assumptions. But in a noisy world, how can we as charities get those voices heard?

Finding ways for people to engage with real experience is key. More charities are trying rocur (rotation curation) or media take overs. Find out how they could work for you.

colourful children's drawings of faces

Hearing lived experience

We’ve talked before about empathy and the power of stories (following Jude Habib’s amazing Being the Story event in 2016). Last week at the Social Media Exchange Lemn Sissay argued that charities shouldn’t be working to ‘give children a voice’ as they have voices already. Rather we should be working to find ways for their voices to be heard.

This idea was explored more deeply by Gemma Pettman in her blog post following the event in which she included reflections about the Expert Citizens programme.

We may feel like we are working hard to get the voices out there but your case study or a video probably isn’t doing this. As editors we are applying our own filters and key messages to these stories. Of course as comms professionals, we might feel like we know what makes a good story and we want to streamline the story so it ticks our boxes (we don’t want any other causes or issues getting in the way). But this isn’t the way people work.

It might feel scary or dangerous but how can we create a platform which we can hand over to the people we represent? Some charities are doing this through their blog or vlog. For example Mind invites anyone to contribute. Others are using social media to share user-generated content. For example read about Anthony Nolan’s Facebook content strategy.

To actually hand the keys over to the channels is another level, with no editorial control! Here we look at some examples.

Rocur (or rotation curation)

According to wikipedia, rotation curation started on Twitter in 2011 with the @sweden account. Rocur accounts are usually managed on a weekly basis with each new person sharing details of their lives. An administrator manages the account, ensuring every week is covered.

The Sweden account (which itself says it started in 2009) is still going strong and has 104k followers. There are now many other location-based accounts including @LondonisYours, @WeAreXPats and HI_Voices.

In October 2016, the nhs account launched with Richard who shared his experience of living with cancer. The account is ‘manned’ by staff, trainees and patients and already has 10.6k followers. It is used from 8am-8pm, Monday to Thursday and from 8am-6pm on Friday.

text says: @NHS aims to celebrate the NHS by bringing to life the stories of staff and patients through their own words. To highlight the amazing stories that happen every day and the people involved. @NHS enables people with an NHS story to tell to share their experiences.

This account works so well because it is well curated with different voices each week. The weekly host tends to share a lot of personal information and they respond to questions and treat it as a conversation. It feels like followers are genuinely learning about someone’s job or condition from reading the tweets. Read more about the @nhs account.

In a similar vein, @Parkinsons52 is used by people who have experience of Parkinson’s. The account has been live since February 2016. It has been hosted by patients experiencing varying stages of the disease from across the world as well as health care professionals and staff from Parkinson’s UK including CEO Steve Ford. It was set up by David Sangster who saw it as a way to connect the Parkinson’s community, raise awareness and to show how the disease can affect people of all ages and backgrounds.

tweets from Parkinsons52

Take overs

Less of a committment is to host a social media take over, where someone outside of the comms team uses the account for a short time. This is generally less about lived experience and more about giving an alternative insight or perspective. Museums are good at doing this such as with their ask the curator sessions.

Kids in Museums drive an annual day where museums let children take over. Some organisations do this by letting young people use their social media accounts to share their experiences of the museum. The Teen Twitter Takeover is in August and there are useful factsheets about how to let teenagers tweet from the museum account. The guide says that the biggest benefit is that the teenagers feel really trusted to be allowed to do this. Read more about Take Over Day.

Take over day tweet from Helston Museum

Each year local government joins in with #OurDay. This is more managed than a take over but gives an opportuity for councils to share the stories of employees and locals who use services. Through the social media activity they can show the detail and breadth of what they do. See this Moment of #OurDay in 2016 for some examples.

Could it work for you?

If one of your goals is to raise awareness, then somewhere within your comms strategy should be a way to show rather than tell.  Finding simple ways to build understanding and empathy is key.

These examples are all about showing the detail of something, the everyday impact of a condition or situation. It is the detail which connects us. And it is the detail which is often missed in our corporate comms where we are often trying to show the bigger picture to make a point.

Giving a platform in this way can be daunting. Some of the barriers could be:

  • “it sounds too time consuming to administer and monitor”
  • “we don’t have access to a big bank of potential people who could contribute”
  • “we have a duty of care for children or vulnerable people – what if people ask probing questions or they get trolled?”
  • “is it really worth it – will people listen or engage? Will it actually change anyone’s minds?”
  • “our community has low IT skills or limited access to tech.”

A good plan, policy and support are key. Be realistic about what you can take on. You don’t have to sign yourself up to a year-long stint of weekly hosts. It is ok to take a pause. Why not start small, an hour on the first Friday of every month or a pilot project?

Of course, this method will not work for every cause and will be out of reach for many small charities. But as the examples show, they don’t have to be owned by a charity. Parkinsons52 works so well because it is about the disease rather than about the charity. PUK are occasionally involved but they don’t own or manage it.

For contributors it can be a real opportunity to share their experience and feel like they are helping other people to understand. It can be empowering. It can be a way of connecting with others in a similar situation.

If there are accounts out there related to your cause why not support them, promote them and even contribute to them?

Tips for recruiting and managing contributors

  • Recruit a good mix of volunteers to help you get started. This will also help to establish the tone. Think about people who have interesting stories or ideas and who are used to using social media. Once the account gets going, think about how you’ll find new people to contribute. Make it easy for them to sign up and keep good records of who has contributed and who is to come to make sure you have a good mix.
  • Produce tips and guidelines to give to contributors. Include an idea about how often to tweet (5 times a day is achievable for most) and best times of day to get a conversation. Be very clear about your posting guidelines (eg no obscene, offensive or self-promoting material) and what contributors can do (such as unfollowing or DMing people).
  • Provide instructions for the practicalities of using the account such as the handover between people and logging in. Will you change the password each time a new person uses the account?
  • Help your next contributor to prepare for their time. Ask them to think about what they do and don’t want to tweet about, what questions they will ask to prompt conversations and how they’ll deal with people they disagree with. Help them to think about a ‘message’ they’d like people to go away with at the end of their week if this is relevant. It is also useful to help them prepare for the lull days in the middle of their stint. Polls can be a good way to drive interaction. As can photos.
  • Be ready to step in if they need support. It can take a brave person to put themselves out there (especially on mega accounts like @nhs). You should also do some thinking about the things that could go wrong and have strategies in place to deal with these.
  • At the end of their time, think about how to support them – it can be hard to get used to normal life after having so many people listening and talking to you!

Tips for getting the most out of the content

  • Pin a welcome message for the new account holder so your followers can understand what is going on.
  • Personalise the avatar and username – the nhs account do this really well.
  • Curate the best tweets from the event or week. For example take a look at the @nhs Moment from Yvonne’s week and the full list of @nhs Moments. Think about how to showcase these on other channels.
  • Prime some friends, colleagues or family to ask questions to get the conversation going, especially as the account gets established.

screenshot from @nhs account

Share your examples

Have you seen any other good (or bad) examples of rocur or take overs? Are there any other charity or public sector examples? Do share them here.

If you are looking to experience a take over firsthand to get a feel for how it works, accounts like @LondonIsYours are always looking for new contributors. Why not see if there is an account you can contribute to?

With thanks

Big thanks to rocur users Leah Williams Veazey and David Sangster who shared their experiences for this post.

January’s charity content highlights

Come out from underneath your desk / duvet and catch up with some of the latest creative charity content.

L-R Dave the Parkinsons Worm, contactless giving Zurich Insurance post, Street Support video, National Lottery gif

Innovation

Cancer Research are continuing their trend of using World Cancer Day (this Saturday – 4 February) to launch new uses for contactless fundraising. Ten ‘smart benches’ across two London boroughs will take £2 donations.

Are you planning to look in to contactless fundraising in 2017? NSPCC recently announced impressive results of their contactless fundraising and many other organisations are using it too. I gathered some examples of contactless giving in my blog post for Zurich Insurance and spoke to Haven House Children’s Hospice who are running trials at the moment.

Not sure what the technical term for this is but the National Lottery did a very smart bit of Twittering by launching this 7second video and inviting people to RT it ‘for a surprise’. The surprise was a personalised video, with the RTers’ Twitter profile image in a gold frame, with the words ‘National Treasure’ underneath. Nice! This was similar to a thanks reply from Save the Children I got in December.

National Lottery video of interesting doors / walls

Today it is Time to Talk Day (#timetotalk). Why not use Time to Change’s template to make your own graphic?

Time to Change's interactive graphic maker

Good reads

If you get a moment, don’t forget to fill in the Charity Digital Skills Survey which is open until 17 February.

And follow #smex17 on Monday if you are not going to the Social Media Exchange in person.

Re-brands / new websites / charity content

Action for Children's error message - cheeky boy with magnifying glass

To brighten your day

Meme of badly drawn pictures 'pasted' on top of a video of Donald Trump's policy signings

What have you seen?

What have been your charity content highlights from January? Do share! I’d love to hear from you.