Be a good Secret Santa

It’s that time of year again. Rather than spending money on plastic tat / novelty socks, why not use some or all of your Secret Santa in a more impactful way? Here are a few examples of charities running Secret Santa sized fundraising campaigns and other ideas for doing good within your budget.

smiling windup snowman toy on a cafe counter surrounded by cakes

Christmas campaigns

Secret Santa gifts

Christmas cheer

Why not pool your funds and do something bigger as a team?

There are countless fundraising appeals, Christmas jumper days and local food bank collections you could instead donate to in the name of your Secret Santa.

Action Man style elf - text says 'This year, leave Relf on the shelf'

Leave Relf on the shelf and give a gift that matters say International Rescue Committee in this fab video.

What are you doing?

  • Do you do Secret Santa in your team? Any tips?
  • Is your charity doing an interesting appeal?

Please share in the comments.

See also: charity digital advent calendars – tips and examples from 2017

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#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

Join in with #YouMadeItHappen day

Do you know about #YouMadeItHappen day on Monday 19 November? The aim of the day, led by NCVO and supported by Charity Comms, Small Charity Coalition, FSI, IoF and ACEVO, is to thank supporters and show the difference charities and supporters make together.

photo of street art - john lennon's face next to the words Help, I need somebody, help, not just anybody

Think of it as a free pass to talk about the impact you make. And a chance to show supporters the bigger picture – how their involvement (through fundraising, campaigning, volunteering etc) made all the difference.

Many charities don’t use social media enough to thank their supporters or talk about the impact they make or show the detail of the work they do. So this is a good opportunity with the excuse of joining in with a shared hashtag / campaign to make it easier.

Get involved

Think about how you could use the hashtag and make it work for your organisation. There are no rules for the day. Here are some ideas.

  • Share a handful of interesting stories about particular people who have gone the extra mile to support you. Have they done something unusual or impressive or tough? What did their support achieve? Do you have data about impact you could use?
  • Has a staff member or team achieved something particularly important which has had a big impact? This could be a good opportunity to talk about it.
  • Are there people you could thank individually? Or an activity which lots of people did which you could feature?
  • Share some detail about your impact. Focus on headlines from the last year or just a month or week. Or show a day in the life. Or show the impact on one person. Statistics show volume, stories bring impact to life.
  • Be more creative – how can you make the messages you want to share, extra engaging? Could you create a quiz, write a poem or make a short video?
  • Think about the action you want people to take and how you want them to feel. You don’t want them to think that it is ‘job done’ and you don’t need their support any more. You want supporters to feel proud of how they have contributed, happy to be part of a community of people like them who have collectively made a difference. You want them to do it again. Or if they haven’t supported, you want them to do so.

Examples

Spend some time playing around with the hashtag. How does it work with your tone of voice and the things you want to say? I have had a few tries here.

sample tweet - last half term, we served 76 children with hot meals. Thank you to everyone who donated money or time. #YouMadeItHappen

sample tweet - Did you know.... Last Christmas 125 people took part in our reverse advent calendar scheme. Local families had a happier Christmas because of the food and toys donated. Thank you. #YouMadeItHappen

sample tweet - This year our supporter Mo ran five marathons for us. He raised a staggering £10,465 which will pay for our helpline for a month. Thank you Mo! #YouMadeItHappen

There are other suggestions in NCVO’s #YouMadeItHappen day blog post and a few tweets doing the rounds already (eg Sussex Community Rail).

Practicalities

  • Capitalise the words within the # (ie #YouMadeItHappen rather than #youmadeithappen) so it is easy to read.
  • Include images or graphics to illustrate impact.
  • Use words which are emotive / powerful.
  • Use the hashtag early in the day to get the most out of it.
  • Be prepared for negative comments – how might you deal with people challenging what you are saying?
  • Think about how messages may overlap or complement comms you have planned for #GivingTuesday the following week. You don’t want to distract from activity on #GivingTuesday.
  • Think about how to connect and document content from the day so your work doesn’t get missed. For example, post your messages as a thread on Twitter – all at once or over the course of the day. Package your tweets up into a Moment afterwards so you can refer to them in the future.

Keep an eye on the hashtag on the day. See how others are using it and join the conversation.

UPDATE: Twitter Moment of #YouMadeItHappen and blog post with more detail about #YouMadeItHappen day highlights.

screenshot of #YouMadeItHappen Twitter Moment

Further reading

What do you think?

NCVO's tweet promoting the hashtag

Is this day a good idea? Are you going to get involved?

I’d love to know what you think. Please comment or tweet.

 

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Digital round-up – October 2018

Highlights this month: big hashtags, user-generated content, AI, voice tech, digital skills and more….

The nights are setting in and seasonal content is upon us. October is a very busy month of awareness days. There was lots of great content launched. Pop the kettle on and catch up.

close up of 50s metal toy robot

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

10 October was #WorldMentalHealthDay, #WorldHomelessnessDay and #HousingDay. I have never seen my list of trending topics look like this for an hour, let alone all day. The trending hashtags and topics were consistently related to these issues. Nothing else got a look-in all day.

all 10 trending topics relate to social issues - a rare sight

There was some amazing content including:

Gallery of faces with white writing painted on them sharing insights into their mental health

Also this month:

screenshot of Halloween Twitter Moment

Twitter takeover of the month: CoppaFeel’s Kris Hallenger / @nhs. Kris who has been living with stage 4 breast cancer since 2009, talked about treatments and good health.

Comms

Digital – strategy, design, culture

Fundraising

graphic for Gift Aid awareness day - £560m in gift aid is unclaimed every year

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

Go outside your echo chamber, that’s where the reward is

First-hand stories, conversations, performances are very powerful to listen to. To have real impact they need to reach people who can make a change.

The message from this year’s Being the Story was that we need to take these stories out of the echo chamber.

9 images from Being the Story 2018

Following Being the Story 2016, I wrote about the power of empathy as a listener, how hearing a first-hand story can change hearts and minds. In 2017, I wrote how first-hand storytelling can be a cathartic process for the person telling their story.

This year the message was that lived-experience stories can drive change.

The impact of stories

During the day, we heard from people with lived experience who have been telling their stories in different ways and in different places. These stories reached the media, policy-makers, funders and other decision-makers. The stories were not only heard. They didn’t only generate empathy. In some cases, they led to being part of bigger change making.

For example, this year we heard how:

  • Simeon Moore from DatsTV has become a go-to speaker for the media about street violence since he appeared on stage in 2017. This profile has meant that policy-makers involve him in their plans
  • Caroline Kennedy is using her experience of poverty in Glasgow as a commissioner with the Poverty and Inequality Commission that advises the Scottish government on child poverty issues, sharing the personal stories of parents, from those with children with learning disabilities, to asylum seekers, all families experiencing poverty
  • Steve Arnott from Beats Bus took a chance and trusted film-maker Sean McAllister to make a film about him which has had a general release and will be shown on BBC2 later this year. This has given him a platform to speak about poverty but also build big plans for Beats Bus.
  • The Empathy Museum have taken their Mile in My Shoes series to the NHS Confederation Conference and Houses of Parliament so that decision-makers there listen and understand those first-hand experiences, and hopefully make changes for the better.

A call to action

‘Go outside your echo chamber, that’s where the reward is’ said trans activist Charlie Craggs who takes her pop-up nail bar round the country to generate conversations.

What can you do to help people with lived-experience to tell their stories? How can you help them to find new audiences away from the charity bubble? How can you help them to join with others to tell a bigger story? What can you do to connect them with the media and decision-makers so they are listened to and involved in finding the solutions?

Take inspiration from the sounddelivery team who work tirelessly behind the scenes to train their Being the Story speakers to tell their stories on the day and beyond. They connect them with other people working in similar areas. They put them forward to journalists.

sounddelivery keep themselves out of the story. Your organisation is not the story. The cause or issue and the lived-experience of it, is the story. Find people with lived experience and let them speak.

Being the Story 2018

Every single one of the speakers and performers from this year’s event was brilliant. Get a flavour of the day in the official Wakelet from the event.

Read more responses in the blog posts written about the event so far:

You can also look at the #BeingTheStory hashtag and read the programme from the event.

Being the Story – crowdfunder

Update from 2019 – Jude Habib has launched a crowdfunder to build a network of media confident storytellers. The project aims to support people with lived experience to tell their stories so they have real impact.

The fund is currently £500 off its first £5000 target at which point it will be doubled. Please support it if you can.

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.

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!