Good gifts 2020

Times are tough. Lockdown 2, darker nights, grim Covid predictions and more uncertainty means we all need a boost. Last week (mid-October) I talked so someone who had already put up her Christmas tree. Mince pies have already been in the shops for a while. This year Christmas will be different but there are lots of ways it can still be special.

Now is a good time to find interesting, fun and ethical gifts for your loved ones. Here are some suggestions about how you can use your Christmas budget to support local businesses, social enterprises, museums and charities. They need your support more than ever.

Christmas tree

Buy good gifts

Sign up to sites like Easy Fundraising and The Giving Machine to generate donations to your favourite charities while you shop online. If you are running a Secret Santa, use the Giving Machine’s Secret Santa generator to make it easy.

Buy a gift for someone else

Support a seasonal gift charity campaign (more to come as they launch).

  • Donate £10 to support Book Trust’s annual campaign. “Christmas won’t be magical for every child.”
  • Be Secret Santa for a child in need via Stipey Stork, a Surrey based babybank.
  • Help a child deprived of an education with a school bag and its contents for £20 via charity School in a Bag. You can track the bag to see exactly where it’s gone.  
  • NEW! Choose Love. Buy gifts for refugees from £5. Includes emergency blankets, hot food parcels and language and skills support. Here’s the Choose Love this Christmas social campaign.  
  • Help Little Village find the perfect gift for 1000 children in London this year. Buy a gift voucher from £5.
  • Does your local charity have a wishlist? Support them by buying items they need. For example, the Crisis Skylight in Newcastle has biscuits, face masks and gloves on their Amazon wishlist.
  • This year there are 17 Xmas Dinner projects around the country, supporting care leavers. Each is fundraising and many have wishlists for gifts. Find one near you.
  • Oxfam Unwrapped – gifts from £5. 
  • NEW! Adopt a word from the Ministry of Stories to support the next generation of storytellers. Flummery and moonglade are still available….

Spread Christmas cheer

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

There are also countless fundraising appeals, virtual Christmas jumper days and Reverse Advent Calendar campaigns which you could get involved with.

What are you doing?

Are you planning a Zoom Secret Santa or a lockdown Christmas kitchen party? How are you planning to boost morale and spread some festive cheer this year? I’d love to know. Please share in the comments.

See also…

Charity digital advent calendars – tips and examples if you are running a digital calendar for your charity or community.

Disclaimer: all links included in this post are examples and intended for guidance only. Inclusion does not constitute an endorsement. Please do your own research before making purchases.

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.

——

Digital round-up – April 2020

Highlights this month: covid content, covid comms, covid language battles, covid fundraising, covid-driven digital services, covid burnout.

Well, March was intense. April was the same, but different. Now we are in May, it feels like a good time to review and reflect on the month just gone. This round-up, like most of the comms this month, is 98% coronavirus. Here are some gems you might have missed. Stay safe everyone.

Street art - Triangle with man in a hat walking across a zebra crossing. Says 'Virus' underneath. Looks like a warning sign.

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 and digital fundraising

At the start of the pandemic in March, comms was focussed around hand washing and protecting vulnerable groups. As we moved into April, fundraising appeals, digital fundraising and lockdown coping strategy content emerged. It has been really inspiring to see so many creative campaigns turned round so quickly and made from home.

Most charities have built covid information hubs on their websites, very quickly writing lots of new content to meet the needs of their audience. These hubs are generally prominently linked from homepages and in some cases appear as a new item on top-level navigation. Here’s a selection:

Comms

Illustration of a Tank from Yasmeen Serhan's article

Digital – strategy, design, culture

Inaccessible tweet from 10 Downing Street. Uses image of a letter with no text description

It has been really worrying to see the rise of so much inaccessible information during this time from official sources, businesses and some charities. The accessibility of official information provided by No10, DHSC, PHE and even the NHS has been especially poor at a time when it matters most. This was covered on Channel 4 News.

It has been particularly noticeable that so many organic and promoted tweets used images or gifs of text to share statements and complicated information. These generally appear with no alt text or link to an html version of the information, or text version in a thread. The information is therefore inaccessible to anyone who can’t view images. There have also been lots of videos without subtitles and without voice overs.

Clearly this has been a pressured time to release information as quickly as possible. But accessibility matters.

Fundraising

2.6 challenge image. boy in a superhero costume

People and organisations

We’ve all had to rapidly adjust to this new way of working. It has been tough. Not least because of the technological learning curve and the loss of face-to-face contact, but also because we are all dealing with big additional mental loads as we come to terms with the situation we are living and working in. The home schooling, the loneliness, the worries about food and health and the future and our loved ones. There’s lots to deal with.

There was a flood of ‘top tips for working at home’ type-articles at the start. And now, there are more about recognising that wall-to-wall Zoom calls and WFH (especially when your home isn’t set up for this) is very draining. If you are finding it hard, or your team’s motivation is draining, this is normal. Here are some articles which it might be worth sharing internally. You are doing great. It’s ok to have off-days. Working life is likely to be like this for a while.

The current situation has lots of implications for long-term outputs. Organisational strategies have been parked and business as usual pivoted. It’s a challenging time for senior leaders and trustees.

Sector

And finally….

Lavender field in Kent

I am missing train trips and walks in open countryside. I have been sharing some virtual walks and adventures including Cornwall, a sleeper train to Spain (and back) plus the lavender fields of Kent.

If you want to transport yourself to other places at a deeper level, take a look at Radio Lento podcasts. Get some headphones and listen to 30-minute soundscapes of woods, rivers and birds. Perfect for meditation, some quiet before sleep or just switching off during the day. Subscribe via your podcast provider or get updates via @RadioLento.

Your recommendations

What did you read, watch or launch? Please share 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 the last round-up? Catch up with more good reads from a time before lockdown.

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 – June and July 2019

Highlights this month: tools and resources to accelerate digital progress, responses to the Oxfam report, diversity, spontaneous comms.

For one month only, here is a combined round-up with some of the things you might have missed in June and July. Wishing you a productive or restful month whether you are in or out of the office.

sticks of brightly coloured rock in a seaside shop

How to use the round-up: Pick and choose links to read now or later. Even better, subscribe and get future round-ups direct to your inbox so you don’t miss any.

Content highlights

National Trust tweet - says 'Have you scanned your member card for free parking?'

Twitter takeover of the month: VIP (very important pony) Dennis held the reins of Mencap’s Twitter for a short time during Volunteers Week.

Video of the month: The Bank of England revealed the new face of the £50 note in this video. Genius or awful? You decide…..

Comms: best practice

screenshot from video - shows Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke posing in awful stock photos from the workplace

If you are a Charity Comms member, don’t forget to vote in the trustee election. Closes at 5pm, 19 August.

Digital: strategy, design, culture

Logo from The Catalyst

The Catalyst, a UK collaborative to bring a social purpose to the digital revolution, launched. They are a coalition of major foundations, digital design agencies, civil society bodies and the UK government, seeking to massively accelerate the use of digital in the UK’s voluntary and charity sector. Sign up via the website for information and updates. Read this post by Dan Sutch to find out more – digital, design and data for social good. And follow The Catalyst on Medium too.

More transformation resources:

Logo for the Charity Digital Skills Report 2019

Did you see the results from this year’s Charity Digital Skills Report, now in its third year? More than half (53%) of charities are aware of emerging tech developments but aren’t planning for them yet. Just 12% are planning for how this could change their charity. How does your organisation compare with the results?

See also:

Fundraising

A tank made out of a cake. #BakeForHeroes

People / careers / sector

Oxfam:

The Charity Commission’s report about Oxfam came out at the beginning of June.

Diversity in the sector:

Karl Wilding was appointed as NCVO’s new CEO. While welcomed, the news prompted heated discussions about diversity. Here’s a small selection.

Other reads

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

Digital round-up – February 2019

Highlights this month: designing comms for young people, housestyle / accessible writing, personas of offline users, February hashtags.

Although it was a short month, February was packed with great comms and good reads. Here’s some you might have missed.

Large beach huts face out to sea at Shoeburyness in Essex

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

Family have an argument in their kitchen. Monster with tentacles sits on the table. Still from campaign video.

Twitter takeover of the month: Fight Bladder Cancer took over MADLcharity’s Twitter account for three days to raise awareness and reach a new audience. It would be good to see a Moment of the takeover to preserve the messages and energy from the event, giving the takeover a longer shelf life.

Comms

Screenshot from Dan's blog post - showing stats of YouTube viewing by age

Check your language:

Conferences:

Comms news, tips and examples:

Digital – strategy, design, culture

4 personas from the Good Things Foundation research

Fundraising

People, teams and culture

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

Digital round-up – January 2019

Highlights this month: January#, towels for owls, H-O-M-E, digital trends to avoid / embrace, how to declutter your digital footprint.

Things feel a little gloomy at the moment. So switch the news off and catch up with some creative charity content and recent good reads you might have missed.

a pile of colourful bird whistle toys

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

Dogs Trust tweet with almost 500 likes. Image: smiling dog. Text says 'Good dog!!! #NationalComplimentDay'

Shelter's tweet showing a still from the Bros doc. Matt Goss says: i think the words H-O-M-E are so important, because they personlify the words home'. Shelter tweeted ' true though'

It can be difficult to remember all the good stuff from last year. Take a look back in these review from 2018:

Coming soon….

Comms

Digital – strategy, design, culture

Fundraising

Fluffy owl wrapped in a towel, being held by volunteer. Close up.

Still think you can’t ask for donations on Twitter? Be authentic / fun like these examples:

See also:

People

And finally….

Your recommendations

What did you read, watch or launch this month? Please add your links in the comments.

Can I help you?

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

——

Did you miss the last round-up? Catch up with more good reads!

Be a good Secret Santa

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

smiling windup snowman toy on a cafe counter surrounded by cakes

Christmas campaigns

Secret Santa gifts

Christmas cheer

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

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

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

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

What are you doing?

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

Please share in the comments.

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

Digital round-up – October 2018

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

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

close up of 50s metal toy robot

How to use: Pick and choose links to read, or open in new tabs for later. Or bookmark this post. Even better, subscribe and get future round-ups direct to your inbox.

Content

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

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

There was some amazing content including:

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

Also this month:

screenshot of Halloween Twitter Moment

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

Comms

Digital – strategy, design, culture

Fundraising

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

People

And finally….

Your recommendations

What did you read, watch or launch this month? Please add your links in the comments.

Can I help you?

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

——

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

Digital round-up – September 18

Highlights this month: AI, ethics, the Human search engine, and hope.

September is a busy month of awareness days and a good time to launch new brands or websites before the noise of seasonal fundraising. Pop the kettle on and catch up with some content and good reads you might have missed.

vintage toy yellow citron car on a fluffy blue carpet

How to use: Pick and choose links to read, or open in new tabs for later. Or bookmark this post. Even better, subscribe and get future round-ups direct to your inbox.

Content

Still from Wayback video. Two older ladies using cardboard VR viewer, open mouths - wow!

screenshot of 4 human search engine images

There were new websites from Sue Ryder, and NPC this month. Plus new brands from National Autistic Society and RNIB who created a short video about the change..

Comms

Digital

Fundraising

In case you missed it, I wrote this about donor experience / in-memory fundraising.

People

Hope… and where to find it – read this moving post by Kate Carroll to help remind yourself why your comms / information / fundraising work, really matters.

black and white photo of hands holidng a piece of paper with the word 'hope' written

And finally….

Your recommendations

What did you read, watch or launch this month? Please add your links in the comments.

Can I help you?

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

——

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