RIP KnowHow NonProfit

The website KnowHow NonProfit which I helped to build, finally disappeared this week. It launched in 2008 and merged into NCVO in 2012. NCVO launched a new website this week, finally putting KnowHow to rest. A 14-year footprint is pretty good going for a website. It made me reflect on what it was like to build something new and how our knowledge sharing as a sector has changed over the years.

About KnowHow

KnowHow was an innovative project by Cass CCE (now Bayes Business School CCE), led by Professor Ian Bruce and funded by the Lottery for three years. It launched in 2008 at a time when digital was coming into its own. Across the sector there was lots of useful information online but it was hard to know where to start or what was up-to-date. There were lot of umbrella organisation writing about the same topics. It was quite overwhelming, especially as the sophistication of search engines and our own searching skills were still developing.

KnowHow aimed to bring it all together, not replicate it. It collated, signposted and filled the gaps so people running small charities could be confident they could find information to help them. A hub for the sector.

I was part of a team of four, working with the agency Text Matters to build and launch the site. Coming up with a taxonomy for the site to reflect the things charities did, was one of the most challenging tasks of my career. It took months. Nothing else existed which we could base this on. I had a huge spreadsheet and endless print-outs to manage the categories and spent hours tweaking the naming of sections so they were clear and descriptive.

screenshot from KnowHow NonProfit. This section is called The Basics and was a kind of charity sector 101 - including pages called 'How organisations are funded' and 'Working for a nonprofit'. Other sections were called You and your team, Your organisation, Funding and income, Campaigns and awareness, Leadership.

I managed the content. We researched what was already out there and the gaps that needed filling. Experts from CCE and across the sector were commissioned to write new information and I edited it all together. It had a friendly and accessible tone of voice. We had a persona of a helpful, knowledgeable friend you could always turn to. We were writing for Joan in Preston, running a small organisation with no HR team or fundraising strategy.

We had four months to build a basic site and another four I think to get it all done. It was a stressful but exciting time and I learnt a lot about running a charity from CCE colleagues, especially governance and strategy which helped me a lot later as a consultant.

We also had a storytelling section to help illustrate common issues faced by small charities in a fun way. A working group of charity experts, led by Adah Kay imagined a small town, Millcaster, which had lots of charities based there. It was a soap opera, like The Archers but with charities rather than farming. A storytelling expert who wrote for The Bill also helped us build a system so we could remember who was married or related to who and where they all worked. A brilliant illustrator bought each episode to life with paper cut-outs she made and photographed, much like 1970s Paddington Bear. It was a lovely, creative thing to work on. Here’s an episode of Millcaster Tales I wrote about Mark, returning to work after an accident.

screenshot from the banner of Millcaster Tales. Shows group of people holding a banner saying Millcaster. Illustration.

Promotion and development

We toured the country on the charity conference circuit telling people about KnowHow. We mixed digital marketing (SEO, newsletters, very early days of Twitter) with in-person promotion to help people find KnowHow. We had merch including tote bags (think we were really early to do these too) and USB sticks. I still have some somewhere.

It was an exciting time to be working in digital as new ways of information sharing were growing. As the team grew, we added a forum, wiki how-to platform and later a portfolio of online courses as a StudyZone. All really innovative at the time. All needed lots of effort to encourage people to use them, the team worked very hard to make them work. I think I had three or four log-ins at one point to try and get discussions going!

Every time we saw the traffic growing, we celebrated. It’s a very different experience to build and launch something new. The websites I had worked on before were only 10 years old themselves but a new channel for established organisations with communities around them. KnowHow was totally new. Building traffic and waiting for the search engines to rate KnowHow was a long game.

KnowHow 2.0

In 2012, the site merged into NCVO and became its information site. Over 10 years, the site evolved but was still called KnowHow and with a knowhow URL.

It takes so much work to maintain a substantial information site like this. Keeping up with legislation, sector trends and best practice is time consuming. It’s costly and it is hard to make an income from it. Other sites which launched around the same time as KnowHow, folded once their funding ran out. We were really lucky to move into NCVO where there was a plan to keep it fresh.

When I left in 2012, traffic was growing fast and we had lots of positive feedback about how it helped people run their organisations. Since I wrote about its demise on LinkedIn this week, I’ve had lots of people contact me to say how useful KnowHow had been to them. As a web content manager, it is like gold to get actual feedback from people, especially so long after working on the project, so this was wonderful!

KnowHow was my first baby before I had real ones. I was very proud of what we all did to build it and how it grew over the years. So many brilliant people worked on it. In 2008 we would never have thought it would last for 14 years.

Knowledge sharing in the sector

The new NCVO website has a help and guidance section which still has echoes of KnowHow in it. But uses headings reflecting what charities need to know now. We didn’t talk about impact or digital so prominently in 2008.

screenshot from NCVO's new site. Headings include setting up, running a charity, governance, involving volunteering, funding and income, strategy and impact, safeguarding, digital and technology, closing down.

Online courses are now a pretty standard way of learning, thanks to Zoom and the pandemic. Many sector sites share templates, checklists, codes of best practice, self-assessment toolkits and draft policies and job descriptions. There are countless blogs from people sharing what they have learnt, to help others.

As a sector we have always been generous with our learning to help others, like our fictional Joan, do the best they can for their cause.

What I do now

Since I left KnowHow, I have become a consultant. I use my knowledge of information sharing, digital content and how charities work to help organisations with different projects – from comms strategies to recruitment and digital reviews.

I also started Radio Lento from scratch with my partner, reliving the experience of building an audience from nothing. Last month we reached 200,000 downloads. A big celebration milestone.

Do get in touch if I can help your organisation. I have space for new projects from September onwards.

—————–

I was able to illustrate this post with screenshots from the site thanks to the amazing Wayback Machine.

Charity sector’s response to the Ukraine crisis

The situation in Ukraine is urgent and shocking and changing day-by-day. It can be difficult to know how to respond as an organisation. Do you launch an appeal? Use the news to campaign? Do you share your expertise of war situations or launch a new service? Do you manage people’s worries? Or not mention it at all, business as usual, not wanting to add to the noise? How might that change as the situation changes?

Here are some useful links and examples of the sector’s response to help you plan your own.

Advice for charities

NCVO’s blog post by Alex Farrow looks at how charities and civil society can support Ukraine. It also explores potential implications on charities such as increasing costs, cyber attacks and disaster recovery. Clare Mills of CFG also shared thoughts about the potential impact of the crisis to the sector.

CIoF’s Daniel Flusky has written advice about fundraising during an emergency with some excellent tips for charities. This includes being clear about how donations will be used. Here’s a nice example of this from Hope and Homes for Children.

The Charity Commission issued a statement about potential implications of the crisis on charities and a reminder about running effective appeals and managing funds.

Fundraising Everywhere have started a list of consultants offering their time for free to support organisations running emergency appeals.

Examples of appeals

The DEC launched its appeal on 2 March. (Update – It has raised £100m in four days.)

UK Fundraising have a list of fundraising appeals launched for Ukraine.

Refugee Action haven’t launched their own appeal but have shared advice about how to help including appeals and actions people can take.

London Plus have a google doc of London organisations offering and fundraising for help.

With so many different appeals, it can be hard for anyone to know where best to donate. The Charity Commission shared how to give safely. OSCR in Scotland issued something similar.

Deborah Meaden tweeted a plea for people to donate money rather than items due to the difficulty of transporting supplies overseas. See also this post about donations of ‘stuff’ and the problems it can cause – Ever sent clothes or toys in response to a disaster?

Emma Insley wrote about why donating to AirBnB hosts might not be the right thing to do either.

Services and support

Some stories from Ukraine are still getting out at this stage. For example, this dog shelter received funds from ifaw.

UK charities have started to offer services to people with connections with Ukraine. For example Relate are offering free telephone support for people with family in Ukraine.

St John Ambulance translated their first aid advice into Ukrainian and Russian.

Citizens Advice shared information about bringing family members from Ukraine to the UK.

Communicating about war

ICRC shared a thread about the rules of war.

Help for Heroes are calling for the media to be sensitive about the way they communicate about the war. Here’s their comms guide.

Greenpeace are raising concerns about the divisive language used by some of the reporting.

The Rory Peck Trust are running workshops for journalists about reporting during a war. They also have a crisis fund to support freelance journalists working in the conflict area.

Full Fact shared tips about how to check that information is correct before sharing it.

Cruse have shared information about bereavement through conflict and war.

Campaigns

Some organisations are using the situation to raise extra profile about legislation changes going through parliament. Like the treatment of refugees – see Freedom from Torture.

And the Policing Bill from Greenpeace.

Engaging Networks shared a thread of appeals and campaigns.

Greenpeace are asking the Government to Get Off Gas.

Managing mental health

Mind offer tips about managing stress and dealing with anxiety.

5 ways to help manage your mental health during a stressful newscycle, from Rethink.

There are useful resources from BBC Newsround on how to talk to children about the situation. Tips from Save the Children and British Red Cross too.

Crisis comms or business as usual?

What comms mode are you in? If you are a disaster relief or humanitarian charity, you are likely to be in crisis mode. If your work doesn’t touch these areas, it can be hard to know how to respond. Is it insensitive to broadcast your everyday news and events? You’ll have to decide on a day-by-day basis as the situation changes. People still need good news and other work doesn’t stop during this time. But it is worth reviewing scheduled messaging, stopping any campaigns if needed and being conscious of the language or images you are using.

Many organisations are sharing messages of unity with Ukraine. A few have changed the colours in their logos, eg Women in Journalism, and this BHF charity shop decorated its window in the Ukrainian colours. What is right for your organisation?

It’s a good time to review your crisis comms plan and think about possible future scenarios and how you would react. Look especially at the NCVO post above (how charities and civil society can support Ukraine) about the possible impact on charities such as increasing energy costs and cyber attacks.

I’ve seen a few examples of companies returning to sharing important information as images of text (see this example from MandS). This inaccessible comms method was widely used lockdowns, especially by supermarkets and Government. See why you shouldn’t tweet images of text.

More

What stand-out content or appeals have you seen from charities? Please do share in the comments.

Digital round-up – September 2020

Highlights this month: charity content showing the impact of the pandemic, comms fatigue, anti-racism within the sector.

Now that the kids are back at school and I have a bit more time, I thought I’d reinstate a round-up. Here are some of the highlights I spotted last month. With so much going on at the moment, it is impossible to keep up with everything. I hope this helps fill some of the gaps. Until next month…. (fingers crossed).

Handwritten sign points one way to campsite and beach, and the other to 'nowhere'!

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

NSPCC graph showing that during the pandemic and resulting increase in impact on children's health, NSPCC was still there to support them

Charities have sadly been announcing cost-cutting and redundancies. Here are a few examples of messages direct from CEOs sharing the news with their supporters and users. This is difficult content to write. Sharing the news like this rather than as a press release or news story is much more personal and powerful.

See also: Martin Houghton-Brown: ‘St John Ambulance saw its income dry up, and we went to the NHS and offered to help’ – Civil Society.

Comms

Meryl Streep gif of her standing up at the Oscar, pointing and saying YES YES YES!

Planning ahead for your Christmas content? It may be a good year to be creative and share some joy. Take a look at this from the archive for some ideas – Nonprofit digital advent calendars – tips and examples.

Digital – strategy, design, culture

Fundraising

People and organisations

I was very sad to hear the news that John Popham had died. He was a real trail blazer for digital in the sector and beyond. It was lovely to see such a huge response to the news with so many people sharing stories of how John had inspired them. #BeMoreJohn

<Feel the cold? Get a heatpad. Heat yourself, not your room / home. It’s cheaper and greener and warmer. Sorry if you have heard this a hundred times! Have been banging on about this for ages.>

And finally….

Screenshot from video showing David Attenborough answering a young boy's question

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.

——

#GlobalClimateStrike 2020

Last year I asked why more charities weren’t joining in with the global day of action about the climate. Today is the annual strike day and it is very quiet. Obviously, there’s lots else going on but the climate crisis is not going away. What’s moved on in a year?

Chalk board at the farmer's market - actions for a climate emergency

After the global day last year, there seemed to be a flurry of organisations writing and sharing their green pledges which was encouraging. Here’s a set of pledges, useful links and resources which I have shared in the last 12 months (NB I stopped doing round-ups during lockdown so there is a big gap when I will have missed things).

January 2020

November 2019

October 2019

What’s moved on?

The need for urgent and drastic action seems more obvious now as there have been so many reports of extreme weather. The world hasn’t waited while we have been dealing with covid.

So, what has moved on in the sector? Has covid stopped or been a catalyst for change? For example, will lockdown lead to long-term changes in policy to do with travel or wastefulness? Are funders investing in projects which tackle inequalities in relation to access to food, shelter and healthcare? Are organisations now actively sharing tips for staff about WFH during the winter and especially the implications on energy use? [NB Buy a heatpad and heat yourself not your room / home – it’s cheaper and greener!]

What’s happening in your organisation? Are conversations about internal polices and external campaigns still going? What has moved on in a year? I’d love to know.

See also

Coronavirus comms for charities

Updated: 6 April (new: Charity So White report, write your own coronavirus style guide, how to communicate with furloughed staff).

Since I wrote this post on 3 March, everything has moved on. Coronavirus is dominating world news and the way we live and work has completely changed. I have been adding new useful resources as well as removing ones which are no longer relevant. I have kept the examples of charity comms for reference.

Whatever your size of organisation or purpose, you will be meeting to plan how you’ll respond internally and externally. There is lots of noise and misinformation about the spread of the virus with rumours and blame escalating. What are you doing to reassure your beneficiaries and keep your staff safe?

illustration of lots of people moving around a big space - maybe on escalators

Here are some useful links and good reads to help you manage your own charity’s response.

Writing about Covid19 for beneficiaries

Information about the virus is changing all the time. Keep an eye on official advice which is being updated on a daily basis and share / incorporate it into your comms:

Full Fact are working hard to fact-check lots of the information circulating. Are there any misleading memes or discussions circulating related to your audience or cause? It’s worth checking FF’s website to see.

Knowing what and when to communicate about coronavirus depends on what type of organisation you are.

If you are a health charity, one working with older people or one with public-access buildings, you may be sharing updates, especially if you are getting lots of helpline calls or forum discussions about risk. As there is so much misinformation circulating, this is your chance to be the go-to authority on the subject for people with specific needs and spreading good advice.

Dan Slee says that “we have all become public health communicators whether we like it or not”. In his post (The basics of communicating the coronavirus), he shares lots of useful tips about making sure your information is factual and shareable. And also notes that your comms need to go where the people are as rumour and misinformation circulate (see Enlist a team to play whack-a-mole with online rumour and How covid is playing out in Facebook groups).

Examples

Here are some examples of information charities have created for the people they represent:

Comms tips

Think accessibility – not everyone can read the text on an image. If you are sharing images with text on via social media, include a link to a web page where the same information can be read and/or repeat the text in your post. I have seen so many covid statements which are just images of text with no link (and probably no alt text). See more from @CovidAccessInfo (new account set up on 19/3).

Make information easy to find. Pin your tweets. Use hashtags (#covid19UK / #coronavirus etc). Clearly layout information so it is easy to read. Add the story to your homepage.

Tweet from Bloodwise UK. Very clear layout. Hashtags and signposting to sources of help.

Only ever link to one page which you are keeping up to date. As the situation develops you don’t want people to be seeing old advice. They may be seeing old posts or looking at old emails but at least you’ll know they can click through for current information. Avoid PDFs for the same reason.

Clearly indicate information you have added or changed. You might do this at the top of your web page or by highlighting what has been added. See this example from Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

Even if you don’t have infomation you have produced yourself, at this stage it is probably a good idea to have a page about coronavirus on your website which links to the key sources of information and something about the services you offer if there are changes to them. A quick random search found lots of charity websites showing no covid results in their searches.

Website search results: says no items found

Don’t include information about the current number of cases or deaths. This instantly dates your information and shows that it is not up-to-date.

As the situation develops, you may need to use more effective and urgent ways to communicate your messages. Plan ahead now. Are you able to use video or audio or other methods to respond to a crisis comms situation? Might you need to devote your entire homepage to the story? Can you send out mass emails to your stakeholders? Are your crisis comms processes up-to-date? See this thread from Gemma Pettman sharing crisis comms planning tips.

Check your scheduled messages. For example, do you have messages scheduled which are promoting events which are likely to be cancelled? Be aware that the situation could change over the coming days / weeks.

Start planning ahead. We are now moving from the crisis planning stage into a more widespread experience of the virus. This means that your comms needs to be less about explaining the virus and how to respond to the changes we are all making. The next comms stage is describing our ‘new normal’ of operating and communicating about ill or dying colleagues, volunteers and stakeholders. See Coronavirus comms – planning ahead.

New: Think about your language. How you talk about the virus and its impact on your beneficiaries and organisation will change. Write and share a mini styleguide to include standard phrases which you use, as well as ones to avoid. This post about how language changes through a crisis and how to frame your comms is useful. 8 tips for framing covid19 – Ella Saltmarshe.

Running your organisation

Internally you will be looking at the impact of a wider spread of the virus and what this might mean for how you operate.

Here’s some of the current advice:

New: Charity So White have written a position paper sharing the ways coronavirus can impact BAME communities disproportionately. It calls on charities to consider that in their response and includes five key principles to guide them.

It’s useful to see other organisations’ internal plans if you need to write one yourself. Some have shared theirs publicly:

Reassuring staff and volunteers that you are prepared is key. Internal comms must play a vital role. What internal comms systems do you use? Do they work to reach everyone? There is some good advice in this post by Rachel Miller of All Things IC.

New: Rachel has also written this. How to communicate with furloughed colleagues.

What about your events or meetings? Many have been cancelled / postponed or changed to online. Here’s how Bond announced the cancellation of their annual conference.

Digital service delivery

What does the situation mean for the services you run and the support people in your community might need? What might you need to do more of or change?

For example, can you move face-to-face services , online? What different services could you offer to expand to support people through a scary and challenging time? Are you able to run digital events or make fun content to entertain?

Community response

Here are some examples of community and charity-run services:

Community Action Response - 5 steps

If you are a community volunteering charity, how are you keeping volunteers in touch with how they might be needed? And reassuring them about measures you’ll be taking to protect them?

Virtual working

More people are switching to virtual working as a way to reduce risk. It can be a real shift for an organisation if you are not used to working like this. Here are some useful links:

Fundraising

Fundraising is being hit hard.

The London Marathon has been postponed until October (announcement 5pm Friday 13th March). Read this thread by Russell Benson with great tips and alternative options for events fundraisers if you haven’t already. Here are a few examples from charities responding to the news in case you want some ideas.

Sarah Goddard is building a collection of resources for the fundraising sector including template appeal letters for hospices and smaller arts organisation from Mark Phillips.

Charities are launching appeals:

  • This from Kemp Hospice was released very early on.
  • Asthma UK have added a donation ask at the end of their information page.
  • Age UK Camden have put out an appeal to help them to support ‘an increasing number of anxious older people who are reaching out to us for help’.
  • FareShare – Help us get food to vulnerable people. Donate online or ‘text MEAL 10 to 70480 to give £10’.
  • New: JustGiving have shared some of the campaigns on their site.
Image from FareShare's homepage with their covid19 appeal

Other good reads / useful links

Archive:

Examples of warmer comms from week 2/3 of the outbreak:

Have you read anything else useful I should add here? Or seen examples? Let me know. I’ll add more useful links here as I find them.

Thanks to Charity Digital who published a version of this post on 10 March.

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 – December 2019

Highlights this month: as well as all the Christmas campaigns, end of year round-ups, December was busy with Giving Tuesday, the election results and more.

If you were caught up in festive planning or trying to get everything done before a break, here are some of the charity highlights from December. Hope you had a good break if you got one.

red berries on a tree on a grey misty day

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

Animation by British Red Cross. Shows a young boy looking sad. Text above his head says 'War and conflict separate families'

Takeover of the month: For human rights day, Gisella Valle of LAWRS tookover ACEVO’s Twitter account to share insights into the work done by LAWRS to support migrant women.

Christmas content and appeals:

Calm zone's YuleSlog with Noel's top tips for getting through the holiday

Highlights of the year:

Predictions for 2020:

Post-election comms:

Comms

screenshot from Lightful's article about hashtags

Digital – strategy, design, culture

Fundraising

Screenshot from Grantmaking website showing coloured navigation blocks

People and organisations

And finally….

Your recommendations

What did you read, watch or launch? 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 November’s round-up? Catch up with more good reads!

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.

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