Digital round-up – January 2020

Highlights this month: personal stories driving donations, lots of new campaigns, #BongForBrexit, #DollyPartonChallenge, the climate as a global risk.

January is such a long long month. Luckily there was lots of great charity content and good reads to get us through the dark days. Catch up here with some gems you might have missed.

Winter sunlight pouring through a window making a silouette of a sewing machine and a pot plant

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

Imagery from BHF campaign. Totaliser shows air quality in London exceeds WHO safe levels
Gif showing a dusty street with tumbleweed rolling through. Tweet text says Want to know the science about #BlueMonday..... There isn't any.

Comms

Digital – strategy, design, culture

Infographic showing use of Facebook by audience
Three examples of how memes could include alt text. Screenshot taken from Time article.

Fundraising

People and organisations

Climate crisis

wef top ten risks over the next ten years

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

Digital round-up – November 2019

Highlights this month: digital benchmarking and engagement research, Star Wars, social media for leaders, digital inclusion.

November is always a hectic month of awareness days and the build-up to Christmas. This year, add in the General Election, increasing responses to the climate crisis and lots of knowledge sharing at conferences. There was so much to keep up with while also trying to get some work done! Here are some highlights you might have missed.

Coloured plastic pipes

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.

Charity content and campaigns

Ad from West London Mission - he is (a dad of two, a brentford fan, can finish any crossword, excellent at conkers) sleeping in the park

Comms

Digital – strategy, design, culture

Celebrating the Web Foundation’s 10th birthday with highlights from each year and ending with the launch of the Contract for the Web. There are five days left to watch Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s Dimbleby Lecture on iPlayer.

The sixth Charity Digital Index launched, benchmarking digital capability and essential digital skills. Here are some highlights from the launch event and a link to download the Charity Digital Index report.

Reason Digital surveyed over 2000 people and have produced The new rules of digital engagement: 2019 report with insights into how the UK population interacts with charities digitally. Essential reading.

Charity Comms’ annual Charity Digital Conference was huge. Catch up with my Moment of my live tweeting through the sessions I went to including this one by Bruce Daisley about workplace culture. You can now also access the conference slides and Laura Robertson’s blog post summary.

Slide from Bruce Daisley's session at the Charity Digital Conference - quote from Fleabag author "As an audience all you really want is to be surprised by things."

Digital inclusion:

Fundraising

People and organisations

Social media for leaders:

Climate

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

Digital advent calendars – 2019

Here are some highlights from this year’s crop of digital advent calendars shared by charities, museums and other not-for-profits.

knitted santas in a box. smiling!

Fun and competitions

Ruby the Reindeer is visiting a familiar place behind each door of The Family Holiday Association’s website calendar. Your challenge is to name the places and rearrange the first letters of the answers into the title of a well-known song, in order to enter the competition.

Follow, like or share Deki’s advent tweets to be in with a chance of winning a mystery box of goodies! “Each box is filled with surprises and items that celebrate the vibrancy of the communities in Togo and what Deki means to our partners and staff.”

Stories

Screenshot of day1-5 on Bletchley Park's Instagram advent calendar

Bletchley Park are sharing photos of actual doors from their site and telling the stories from each of them. Check out their Instagram for stories from Hut 1 and the garage so far.

#iwill are posting stories which celebrate the difference young people are making across the UK. Check out the #iwill advent calendar.

Sharing learning

screenshot from Howard Lake's day 4 video about giant cheques

A wealth of information and learning from Fundraising Everywhere’s fab calendar shared in one handy thread. So far we have had Dana Kohava Segal on behaviour economics and Howard Lake on giant cheque pictures in press releases.

CIPR Not-for-Profit are also sharing learning through their calendar. They are promoting great resources and showcasing Christmas campaigns from the sector.

Fundraising

Day 3 of Literacy Trust's calendar showing Onjali Rauf's book - The Boy at the Back of the Class

The National Literacy Trust are sharing details of a book recommendation each day. They asked top authors which book they would give as a gift to a child this Christmas. The tweet includes a text donation number to support their #GiftofReading campaign.

Cats Protection are sharing stories of cats in their care, with links to different ways you can sponsor a cat or support their work.

Others

Orkney Library classic tweet from May - Take Meat On - recreating a-ha's classic tune in book form

Seen any others? Let me know.

Join in

It’s not too late to join in. Last year many organisations ran 12 days of Christmas reveals in the dead-zone after Christmas. What a nice way to share positive stories from 2019 or calls to action for 2020.

See digital advent calendars – tips and examples.

Digital round-up – October 2019

Highlights this month: big hashtag events including #YouMadeItHappen and #WorldMentalHealthDay, legacy fundraising + the sector’s response to the climate emergency.

October is a massive month for awareness days and creative content so this is another bumper issue of 100+ links. I have also included a new section on the sector’s growing response to the climate emergency.

Countryside view - early morning. Orange light.

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

Ginger cat from Battersea's ad - rescue is our favourite brand

#WorldMentalHealthDay is a very busy day. Here are some highlights and other mental health-related content shared this month:

Did you join in with #YouMadeItHappen day this year? Here is a #YMIH Moment of some of the stand-out comms and a #YMIH blog post which goes into more detail.

Comms

Screenshot from Helpful Digital post about Instagram Stories - shows screenshots from Royal Air Force

Digital – strategy, design, culture

Fundraising

Charity on the climate crisis

Extinction Rebellion have sector specific branches for doctors, lawyers, the arts etc but there isn’t one for the charity sector? I have added this section to share some of the sector’s response.

Poster at IFC Holland with list of environmental pledges from the conference

Action:

There’s another global school strike coming up on 29 November. Will you get involved? I wrote this about the sector’s response to the strike in September.

Campaigns and comms:

Useful reads:

People and organisations

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!

#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!

Are you ready for crisis comms?

Would you know how to handle a crisis comms situation? A crisis can hit whatever the size or cause of your organisation. Many charities have never done any thinking or planning around crisis comms which can leave them vulnerable when one happens.

Official sign on a fence says "KEEP CLEAR. Access required 24 hours a day"

A crisis can take many forms. For example, it could be something that has happened internally (whether it is your fault or not) or a storm about something you do or are associated with (again whether true or not). Or it can be external, for example, a hot topic in your area of work which you are involved with, or something effecting your geographical community, such as a fire or flood. If handled right and in certain circumstances, you can come out the other side with new supporters or a stronger community.

A crisis can also be positive. For example, an unexpected growth, someone with a very high profile championing you, or some unplanned media profile.

Crisis comms planning

Whatever the situation, it pays to have done some thinking about the different situations which could affect you. How you respond in each situation may be different depending on how it could impact your reputation, your beneficiaries, your supporters, your employees, your partners etc. The scale of the crisis or how likely it is to escalate will also be a factor.

Can you list some possible situations which you would consider a crisis? Have any of these happened? What did you learn? What would you do differently next time and how have you documented this? What constitutes a crisis and what is business as usual?

If you are at the start of a crisis, would you know what to do? It can feel a bit ‘rabbit in headlights’ if you haven’t been in a situation like this before. It is good to plan for some of the logistics. For example:

  • Who should be on your crisis comms team? Do they have defined roles? Is there someone in charge?
  • Where should you meet?
  • What tools do you need? Such as laptops, phones, a big wall and post-its?
  • What channels would you use or avoid? (see using social media for crisis comms)
  • How can you work best as a team to keep other informed about what is happening?
  • What if it happens out of office hours? Do you have each other’s contact details or passwords? Would you respond from home or all go to the office? Do you have keys? Can you access the website or other channels remotely?

Building your crisis comms skills

Nothing beats actually being in a crisis to develop your skills. In my career I have lived through a few and can remember them very clearly. You learn a lot by being tested in this way. And if there is a next time, instinctive skills kick in.

Can you run a crisis simulation in your team? Can they write a press release under pressure and know how to get it signed off quickly? Do they know when they should involve the CEO or trustees? Have they got a collective tone of voice to be able to collectively respond to social media comments? Do they agree about when or how to respond to a fictional but possible situation? Can they make decisions quickly?

There are companies who run simulation sessions for organisations. I sat-in on one with Helpful Digital over the summer. They have their own secure platform where dummy tweets, emails, Facebook posts and a website can fully replicate the experience of being in the thick of a crisis comms situation. Brilliant to be able to experience a crisis without it being a real crisis!

Learn from others

Another useful way to build crisis comms skills is to look at how other organisations respond. Watch what they do. Would this approach work for you? For example, a few years ago Dogs Trust said that they felt more able to respond strongly to a negative press story after seeing how RNLI had responded to an earlier one.

Have sessions in your team meetings discussing other organisation’s approaches. Don’t just look at your peers. Think KFC running out of chicken.

There are lots of great case studies to read. Start with Brathay Trust – a lesson in crisis comms and Dan Slee’s recent investigation into the crisis comms around the Whaley Bridge dam incident.

[Take a look at RNLI’s recent response to negative press stories about them using 2% of their income to fund overseas projects to prevent drowning. The story broke on Sunday resulting in negative comments and people saying they were cancelling donations. By the end of Monday there were over 4000 replies to RNLI’s initial tweet. #RNLI_disgrace has been trending all day mostly now with messages of support and new donations. A few charities have also tweeted their support including Save the Children, Friends of the Earth and the Institute of Fundraising all with a strong number of likes.

RNLI’s approach has been to proudly defend their work putting their values and mission at the centre of their comms. They have responded to hundreds of people with a personal message, not just a cut and paste of a statement. It feels authentic. They even changed their homepage to show a powerful image of one of the projects in action. Read more about the story in this great summary on UK Fundraising.]

Look after each other

Being in the middle of a crisis situation is stressful and tiring. It can also be very draining to be dealing with an unpleasant situation, a barrage of unpleasant comments or challenging internal pressures.

Think about how you’ll look after each other during and after the event. There may not be time for lunch or to work on everyday projects. Everyone may need some time out and treats to keep them going.

Charity Comms’ new guide to wellbeing has useful tips about building resilience and spotting the signs of fatigue.

Your tips

What have you done to learn about crisis comms? What advice would you pass on? Are there examples of bad crisis comms we can learn from too? Please share in the comments.


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.