Join these digital leaders

Child's drawing: stick people. One says "I've had an idea". The other says "I have too". Both have lightbulbs above their heads!

Digital teams going the extra mile to share their knowledge.

I love our sector. We do so well to connect and learn from each other. From attending meet-ups, mentoring and shadowing, or learning from hashtags or other people’s top takeaways from events, there are lots of free ways we can share and learn from each other.

Must reads

One of my go-to sources of knowledge and inspiration are the hubs of big charity digital teams. These include:

I regularly include their posts and links in my monthly round-ups as they are so useful. As well as an excuse to peep in at the window of these big charities, the shared thinking and best practice is good food for thought for us all. Posts can prompt discussion, collaboration and new ideas.

There are quite a lot of councils and other public sector blogs from digital teams around too. For example:

Benefits to the team

Although producing the posts and curating the accounts can be time-consuming, the task brings other benefits.

  • Team building – done collaboratively, creating posts about projects can help the team to reflect and review the work they are doing. In busy teams, it is easy to move on to the next task, project, crisis with no time to review or think about how to share successes, challenges or failure with others. Creating a culture of review and sharing can help to give space for reflection and improvement.
  • Knowledge sharing and skills development – if members of the team read each other’s posts, it can help them to learn from each other and appreciate stresses and demands. This can drive better future projects.
  • Internal comms – content can help non-digital internal colleagues to understand the processes and thinking behind digital projects. If writing for a non-digital audience, it can be good practice for team members to be more careful about the terminology used in their posts, cutting out the jargon too. Posts can be repurposed for internal channels.
  • Profile raising – well-shared posts can help to raise the profile of the digital teams, helping with future recruitment. Who wouldn’t want to work in a team doing cutting-edge work?
  • Creativity – a blog gives the freedom to be creative, finding different ways to share knowledge. It feels nice to do the thinking around a topic, write it up (or draw pictures or make a video) and share it. A blog can be colourful and fun showing the personality of the writer and team. And no-one gets bored of seeing photos of post-its (do they?).

colourful post-its used in content planning

So do follow / subscribe to these accounts.

Better still, start your own team’s blog to share your processes, successes and failures. We can all learn from them.

Your top tips

Are there other blogs or Twitter feeds run by digital teams you’d recommend? Have you contributed to your team blog? Any top tips for making it work? Do you have a content calendar or a blog owner who manages / edits it?

Please share in the comments.

 

<Headline image drawn by my son, found on my desk recently!>

Can I help you?

Get in touch if I can help you with digital comms, content planning, training or strategy. I work with charities of all shapes and sizes. Can I help give your comms or digital processes a healthcheck or ideas injection?

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Digital round-up – April

Highlights from the charity digital web in April.

Includes a bumper crop of blog posts from CharityComms, Lightful and others, plus a charity rebrands, Marathon comms and some juicy hashtag content.

Close up of pots of rusty nails, green scissors and yellow string

Building digital success

**Don’t forget that if you have content on Storify, you have until 16 May to remove it before the site closes. There are lots of alternatives such as Wakelet. Which ones have you tried?**

Getting the measurements right

Infographic from ParkRun's tweet showing average finish times

Building excellent teams

Rebrands / new websites / building websites

Charity content

We all know about the big awareness days but what about the small obscure ones? Even International Carrot Day can be celebrated on a slow news day. Check out some great examples in this Twitter Moment.

There was some nice St George’s Day content around including this video from National Trust and Macmillan dusted off their #EdBallsDay tweet. Plus some great April Fool’s Day campaigns.

What does your social media strategy say about whether you should join in with an unexpected trending conversation or meme? What criteria does it have to satisfy or do you use instinct to make a decision? Some organisations I speak to just don’t join in, others will wait until their peers are joining in. Trending topics can give engagement a real boost. Remember how we all joined in with the 280 characters change on Twitter? This week some charities joined in with #MyHandleExplained. This example from WWF (“Wildlife not wrestling”) really stood out. This one from @MoreThanADodo was good too.

#MyHandleExplained tweet from WWF showing fighting polar bears

It can be hard to get humour right. This post by Jon Ware explores why and what we can do about it – Why the Absolute Unit was absolutely inspired digital comms.

London Marathon

Made to Move - wheelchair athlete whizzes past the Lucozade station on the Marathon

Full-on London Marathon fever lasts for about a week from the expo to when the aches and pain fade after the event. Use your content well to embrace this if you have runners or supporters involved.

Did you see the London Marathon cheer-off banter on Twitter and mascot banter between Breast Cancer Now, Macmillan Cancer, Breast Cancer Care, Teenage Cancer Trust, CLIC Sargent and others?

Jack Munroe used Twitter to connect fundraisers with supporters ahead of the big day.

Marathon day itself is a whirlwind on social media. On the Monday following the event, lots of charities shared stories about the impact all the fundraising would have as a way of thanking their runners for the pain and giving them a final push to pass on to sponsors. Many will be reliving the day through photographs and messages. Take a look at some examples in this Moment. Many charities also make Moments of their tweets from the day to curate and document it for prosperity and future use. These are also a great way to publicly celebrate (and thank) the effort of the runners and supporters. Take a look at examples from Scope and Macmillan.

UK Fundraising also shared a round-up of some of the highlights.

Brathay Trust did an excellent job with their crisis comms following the death of supporter Matt Campbell. As the news broke, they quickly released a statement. They added his story to their homepage, shared stories about their work on social to connect with their new audience and produced graphics to help promote #MilesForMatt. As the money came in, they released further statements at £100k and £300k sharing their reaction to the response and what the money means to them as a small charity.

As people are still running their 3.7 miles for Matt, the total is still going up. Currently it stands at a staggering £330k + GiftAid. For a small charity, who have never had so many tweets, they have done a brilliant job of connecting with the running community. Building long-term relationships with these supporters will be harder but many more people have now heard of Brathay and their work than before.

Brathay Trust - statement via Twitter reflecting on the week following Matt's death

NB It is worth having a look at the work Samaritans did following the death of Claire Squires’ in the London Marathon 2012 which raised over £1m. Here’s more about the Claire Squires Fund.

Other stuff

What else did you read or see this month? Do share in the comments.

How can I help you?

Why not get in touch if I can help you with digital copywriting, content planning, training or strategy? I work with charities of all shapes and sizes. I can give your comms or digital processes a healthcheck and ideas injection.

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Did you miss March’s round-up? Catch up with more good reads!

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Digital round-up – March

With more wintery weather heading our way, poke your head out from under the duvet for some of the highlights from March 2018. It has been a bumper month (snow, data abuse, more snow, lots of hashtags) so this round-up has lots of gems.

coloured bear heads poking out of a seaside game.

Campaigns

image from Dog's Trust Pawtrait campaign

Comms good practice

infographic of the 500 most popular passwords

Also, catch up with the slides from CharityComms’ content strategy conference and read Eleanor Dean’s blog with her key takeaways – Three thoughts on creating better digital content for your charity.

Social media

Digital evolution

Have you read the Charity Digital Skills Report? How you does your organisation compare? Do you have a digital strategy? Do your trustees ‘get’ digital?

screenshot from the digital skills report

I went to the DigitalAgenda Impact Awards and heard about lots of brilliant Tech for Good projects. Here’s a blog post from Ross McCulloch about some of the winners (4 examples of digital innovation) and a blog post about the Citizen’s Advice case management system which won an award. Is tech for good on your radar? Are you working on projects or know who is in your space?

Tech trends

Charity reads

And finally….

If you are looking for some cheering up, try these:

What else?

What were your good reads in March? Please do share.

If you want more, see also:

Can I help you?

Get in touch if I can help you with digital copywriting, content planning, training or strategy. I work with charities of all shapes and sizes. Can I help give your comms or digital processes a healthcheck and ideas injection?

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Did you miss Jan/Feb’s round-up? Catch up with more good reads!

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Digital round-up – Jan/Feb 18

In case you missed them, some of the best reads on crisis comms, digital strategy and charity content from last month.

red boat. blue sky. sign saying: DANGER. intense sound signal operates without warning

Crisis comms

Charities have been in the headlines ever since the start of the year (Oxfam, President’s Club, Oxfam again, Jo Cox Foundation). There’s lots we can learn from these events in terms of how we need to respond to a crisis and rebuild trust.

Read, then review your crisis comms plan. Does it include the right people? Have you got clarity about the messages? Do they work across all channels? Have staff done media training? Are there enough people with social media skills to be able to respond to comments? (NB Oxfam put a call-out to staff for help and drafted in 40 colleagues to help with front-line messaging.)

It’s worth noting that it’s not just Oxfam who have been effected by this story. NCVO have been working tirelessly to share safeguarding best practice and represent the sector in media interviews.

Digital skills, design and strategy

Content

Still from Macmillan video - "it was one of the nicest things anyone has ever done"

#WorldCancerDay is a big day for lots of health charities. Macmillan launched this lovely #LittleActsOfKindness video. I really liked the way they displayed the subtitles.

In addition to the usual fundraising and bad poems, there were some harder-hitting Valentine’s Day charity comms. None quite as cringy as the DWP’s festive message though thankfully.

Tweet showing the mental health foundation video - vox pops on Millennium Bridge in the rain

Other charities joined in with #TimeToTalk day. This gentle video from the Mental Health Foundation makes us think about answers to ‘how are you?’

How can you use your archive to connect with topical stories? There were lots of charities marking the 100 years since (some) women got the vote. Age UK told the story of one of its founders Eleanor Rathbone.

I am a sucker for maps and data. These examples of (non-charity) content marketing campaigns using maps could give food for thought. How can you use your data to tell a bigger story?

tweet from rob long asking twitter users to activate and use accessibility settings.

This blind Twitter user’s plea which has now had 179k likes seems to have done so much more to raise awareness about image accessibility than any charity or Twitter themselves. Have you changed your settings? This guide to getting alt text right is a must-read if you are new to describing images.

Good to see Doncaster Council’s Chief Executive maintaining the gif standards in her comms.

And finally…

What did I miss?

I spent January doing an interim comms manager role as well as going to BarCampNFP and SMEX18 so might have missed other good stuff. What did you read / watch / produce this month? Please do share.

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Did you miss November 2017’s round-up? Catch up with more good reads!

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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.

Digital roundup – October

My top reads for October. Catch up with this bumper month!

Images from some of the content covered in the post

October was hashtag-tastic! We had #WorldTeachersDay, #WorldMentalHealthDay (see Third Sector’s series), #WorldOsteoporosisDay, #InternationalDayOfTheGirl, #WorldHomelessnessDay, #WorldSightDay and #WorldPorridgeDay. It was Breast Cancer Awareness month, #HospiceCareWeek,  It was also the month that the #RoundPound went out of use and many of us got our #FirstTenner.

It was also a month of great charity content and useful reads.

Great content

Headless weather presenter gives the forecast for Halloween

Useful stuff

Flowchart showing how to decide how to respond to trolls

Want more? Read JustGiving’s 10 things you should read this month.

Blog posts

Surprising content

Macmillan tweet about their charity number 261017

Coming up

November is sure to be busy too with #TrusteesWeek (13-17 Nov), #OurDay (for local government on 21 Nov) and #GivingTuesday (28 Nov). Plus all the preparations for Christmas fundraising and fun. If you are thinking about seasonal content, read my post about digital advent calendars.

Examples from WCHP, MS Society, Royal Marsden, New Mills Food Bank, Bliss, Bookstart, Family Holiday Association

What have you seen?

What did you read or see in October? Do share your highlights.

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Did you miss June’s round-up? Catch up with more good reads!

 

 

10 tips for great online legacy fundraising

In 2013 I wrote about online legacy fundraising content. Although well written persuasive copy is still key, digital trends move on. So four years later it is time to see whether the web pages about legacy fundraising have improved and what has changed.

I looked at a random sample of over 50 large, medium and small charities. In most cases the pages were pretty dull, especially from smaller charities. It is hard to write warm, engaging copy about legacies as we often fall over ourselves trying to be sensitive. But the charities who get it right have a confidence and a clear sense of themselves and their audience.

collage of various screenshots from sites discussed below

Here are ten ingredients for emotive and effective online legacy fundraising.

Be clear and persuasive

WaterAid’s legacy site stood out as the go-to example of a persuasive and well designed site. The page starts with a clear call to action – leave the world with water – which sets the tone. They use eye catching and engaging links and headings (leave your mark / what would you like to pass on?) which include and challenge the reader. Images are positive and inspiring. They also include a photograph and name of a person to contact as well as a legacy promise which are both reassuring and clear.

WaterAid

Save the Children UK also use clear and inspiring headings (write a child’s smile into your will) and use bold to highlight important words. They use beautiful pictures of smiling children to reinforce their words. Their writing is confident, concise and persuasive (make a lasting difference, your kindness).

Save the Children UK

Use social proofing to normalise the action

Many charities talk about ‘thousands of people who leave a legacy’ or ‘thanks to people like you’. This social proofing is refecting and reinforcing the decision that the reader is almost ready to make.

Events like Remember a Charity week help to promote legacy fundraising. Many charities use the event to reinforce their ask, showing that remembering a charity is a normal action that everyone can do.

The Migraine Trust makes a clear statement which makes leaving a legacy accessible – “a gift of just 1% will make a real difference to supporting our charitable work”. This is a clearer way of what they were saying in 2013 (see below).

Migraine Trust

Use video

Since 2013, many more legacy pages include videos. Take a look at this personal message from a supporter on Prisoners Abroad. Or this slick video from ActionAid showing Mrs Harben’s legacy. Or this simple beautiful video from RSPB. Or this speaking from the heart story from Glenys who supports the Alzheimer’s Society.

Alzheimer's Society

Talk about impact

What difference will someone’s gift make? Talk big picture about your vision / mission or about specific services. More charities are making big statements about what a legacy means to them.

RSPB’s opening statement is clear and bold: Your legacy is nature’s future.

RSPB

Refugee Action’s Leave a legacy page goes into more detail. It is beautifully written using storytelling and sense of urgency. It frames the problem and talks about what they can do with a legacy gift. The page is short, concise and powerful. A great example of a small charity getting it right.

East Lancashire Hospice talk about leaving a legacy of love and explain that last year, legacy gifts paid for three months of care.

If your organisation is all about solving a problem or finding a cure, talking about legacies could be difficult. How do you frame the ask when you might not be around or needed in the same way in 20 / 50 years? Don’t avoid the issue – think about how you can present it effectively.

Macmillan Cancer‘s legacy page says: “In the future, doctors and nurses are going to get much better at diagnosing cancer earlier, and treating it.” But stresses that half of us will get cancer at some point so Macmillan will still be needed.

Say please and thank you

Choosing to leave a legacy to a charity is a big deal. The fact that someone is reading your page about this is a good sign. Keep them with you by recognising this. Say please and thank you in the right places. If you come across as kind and thoughtful at the asking stage, it will reassure people that you will behave in the same way when you are processing their gift.

Think about motivation

Why do you think someone might have reached your page? What are they thinking. This page by the Miscarriage Association is written really warmly and in a gentle tone of voice. The quote perfectly positions the ask.

Miscarriage Association

Include appropriate images

Brighten up a serious subject with colourful or inspiring images. Reward visitors to this page and make them want to stay. A collection of several images may work better than a single one. For example, this landing page for the British Heart Foundation includes images of family, medical research as well as a big thank you.

BHF

Many organisations seem to rely on stock images of grey-haired couples on their legacy pages. Remember to use images which reflect the demographics of your readers. Also people often write their will triggered by big life events such as getting married or having children. Your audience isn’t just people in later stages of their lives. Make sure you are using images which reflect their own image back at them.

Take a look at NSPCC’s page which includes quotes and images from supporters at different stages of their lives. Their stories may chime with readers, validating their own idea to leave a legacy to NSPCC (another example of social proofing).

NSPCC

Think about a hook

What could make your legacy fundraising stand out? What stories do you have to tell? Has a legacy gift allowed you to do something special or unusual? Is there someone you could write about or feature to make your ask come to life?

Mencap’s gifts in wills page is based around the inspiring story of Lord Brian Rix. The page says that he “helped change the future for people with a learning disability. With a gift in your Will to Mencap you can too.” It uses beautiful images from their archive and talks about what he achieved in his lifetime. It says that although lots has changed, people with learning disabilities still face challenges so by leaving a gift in your will, you can help change the future too.

Mencap

Similarly, Leonard Cheshire, marking its centenary say “Leonard’s legacy became our legacy. It could be your legacy too.”

Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity includes information about JM Barrie’s legacy gift in their pages. Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity talks about your final chapter and how to write your own ending.

Include practical information

Make it as easy as possible for someone to actually get the legal stuff right. So include:

  • information about different types of gifts (see this handy guide to the types of legacies by Demelza Hospice)
  • your official name (and any previous names) and charity number
  • suggested wording
  • information to help someone work out the detail of their estate
  • information for executors
  • contact details so a potential donor can get in touch.

A promise can offer reassurance about how a legacy will be dealt with when the time comes. A few charities included these – see WaterAid’s promise, RNLI and Breast Cancer Now.

Be interesting

There were a few examples of charities who’d produced interesting supporting content. For example:

  • Blue Cross reminds readers to think about their digital assets (passwords, data, photos, social media etc)
  • Cancer Research’s campaign with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – Two Thirds of a Spring reflects the vital impact that one third of funding has on their life-saving work
  • Alzheimer’s Society has an online book of remembrance
  • visitors are invited to make a personalised video with Unicef UK. (NB Unicef UK have been running a campaign of promoted tweets about this recently, the only social media content I spotted about legacy fundraising during the research for this post.)

Unicef UK promoted tweet

 Get the navigation and terminology right

Think about where your legacy pages sit. How easy are they to find within navigation or search? Be your own mystery customer and check.

Don’t bury your pages – make them prominent, especially if legacies make up a sizeable proportion of your income. Don’t just stick them under ‘Other ways to give’.

Check where they appear in your content rankings on your Google Analytics. Are you using the right terminology for your audience? Test whether the word legacy or will works best. Many charities use both.

See my previous post on legacy fundraising (persuasive and engaging writing in online legacy fundraising) for some tips on terminology and placing of legacy pages. Also how to talk about legacies on social media.

How do you measure up?

Is your online legacy fundraising content strong enough or is it dull and unconvincing? Give your copy a facelift before Remember a Charity week in September. If you are not sure how well it comes across, get your mum to read it or do a page swap with someone else from another charity. Get some feedback and think about how you could bring your content to life.

Share your examples

Have you seen (or written) any good or bad examples of digital legacy fundraising? Please do share them here.

My top five online legacy fundraising sites are listed in a JustGiving blog post. I’d love to hear what yours are.

 

 

See also: