Digital advent calendars – 2018

Here are some highlights from this year’s digital advent calendars from charities and cultural organisations. It is great to see so many organisations joining in in creative and impactful ways and using different channels.

shop window dressed for Christmas with toys and a tree lit up (at night)

Here are my top five calendars (in no particular order) from this year. Which is your favourite?

Top five

screenshot from video: homemade cardboard stage with cut outs recreate a scene from 80s classic Christmas film Gremlins

1. The Family Holiday Association’s Christmas Advent-ures are recreating classic Christmas films in cardboard form. Each day is released across their social channels and links to the full calendar on their website. Each film has a question, and at the end the answers will spell a word. One lucky person will win a hamper.

It’s not getting much interaction so far which is a shame. Watch and enjoy snippets from the Snowman, Elf, Frozen, Gremlins and others.

screenshot of instagram calendar from Motivation showing young boy smiling in his wheelchair

2. International development charity, Motivation who provide wheelchairs are using Instagram for their calendar. On 1 December they shared a video of a 3D printer creating customised equipment.

Follow for stories about their work.

Cats Protection - super super cute kitten kicks off day 1

3. The annual Cats Protection calendar – #CatventCalendar – is getting good engagement. With super cute images of the cats in their care it’s not surprising.

Their local branches are joining in too. The Trafford branch is sharing tips and pictures each day in a thread on Twitter and on Facebook using the hashtag. The Cherwell branch is also using the hashtag and sharing stories of cats from their year. This is Angus McPussPuss.

Tweet sharing Daryl's story: "A Porchlight Christmas calendar: what we’ve been doing this year thanks to your support. We helped Daryl when he had given up hope. “Everybody but Porchlight turned their backs on me.”"

4. Kent-based homelessness charity Porchlight are using their calendar to share the impact they have made over the year.

They are using strong pictures, a consistent layout and the hashtag #LastChristmasHomeless.

Orkeny Library tweet launching their calendar - 'we might do one or none'

5. Orkney Library are re-sharing some of their favourite tweets (of their own) from the last 11 months. These simple recycled tweets are getting lots of likes second time.

Follow along using #OrkneyLibraryAdvent2018 for some classic Orkney humour.

And a highly commended…

Here’s a special mention for Doncaster Council for their 12 days of local business featuring local shop owners singing in one handy thread. Much more engaging than some of the recycling tips or Christmas cheer efforts from other councils.

More calendars

The full Wakelet of digital advent calendars 2018 contains lots more examples from this year. Themes include festive cheer, stories and messages, fundraising and promotions, volunteering and promoting other organisations, articles from the collection and reviews of the year.

Here is a Twitter list so you can follow along. The best time of day to look at it is in the morning which is when the new day is revealed.

See also #MuseumAdvent and #VolunteeringAdvent.

Seen any others? Let me know and I’ll add them.

Join in

It’s not too late to join in. Last year a few charities did a 12 days of Christmas run-down.
See Nonprofit digital advent calendars – a round-up of tips and examples.

>>See also: Be a good Secret Santa.

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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

#GivingTuesday – the first year of UK activity

On Tuesday 2nd December my timeline was filled with all sorts of messages tagged with #GivingTuesday. It was brilliant to see Twitter awash with fundraising, volunteering, other asks and thank you’s. Many were simple, others were moving or creative. If you missed it all, there are two great Storifys packed with examples. Tennyson Insurance and GivingTuesdayUK have both curated some of the social media activity around the event.

Tweet promoting GivingTuesday with a blackboard with Black Friday and Cyber Monday crossed out

If you missed all the hype about the event you can read the background about it on the GivingTuesdayUK website.

A creative day

It’s really interesting to look at the different ways organisations used the day to spread their message. Many used it as a chance to try something new and creative. Organisations used powerful images, videos and storytelling to share their message.

There were thousands of #UNselfies.

RNIB’s #PassTheParcel stood out as a fun game using sefies and tagging.

And Sue Ryder used Buzzfeed to promote their Secret Santa.

This great UKFundraising’s article on 6 ways charities made the most of Giving Tuesday looks at some of the trends. And this Storify from Project Scotland shows all the activity around their own campaign.

#ThankYouWednesday

The day that followed was tagged #ThankYouWednesday. It was the first step to building a longer relationships with new supporters. Many charities (but fewer than those who embraced #GivingTuesday) shared a simple thank you and welcomed new followers / donors / volunteers / emailnewsletter subscribers. Here’s a Giving Tuesday UK Storify of the thank you’s.

#GivingTuesday 2015?

Hopefully people will reflect on the day and in time share data about the impact of the event. The Twitter graphs and Twitter analysis by Crimson Hexagon show that there was a lot of noise about the event – 30,000 UK tweets.

It remains to be seen how this translated into donations of money, time and action. Civil Society’s article cites healthy percentage increases in donations via JustGiving, JustTextGiving and Visa. Hopefully positive results from individual charities will inspire those who didn’t get involved yesterday, to join in in 2015.

If you did join in this year, what will you do differently / better next year? What will you build in to your everyday communications as a result of taking risks this year? What skills or resources do you need to develop a stronger ask? There are lots of useful guides, courses and conferences to give you inspiration. In particular, don’t miss the Social Media Exchange in February.

What did you think?

Did you donate yesterday? Do you think #GivingTuesday is a good idea? Did it make a difference to your charity?