Judging the Third Sector Awards

This year I am honoured to be a judge in the Third Sector Awards. Unfortunately I cannot reveal the three categories I helped to judge but I had a wonderful morning at Third Sector’s offices in London recently with my fellow judges, reviewing the entries and making our final selections to then be shortlisted.

It was great to see lots of familiar faces, such as Rob Dyson, Morgan Martins and Reuben Turner as well as finally meeting some people in person, like Kate Sayer and Andy Hillier.

Third Sector Awards 2016

There were some really strong entries and I thoroughly enjoyed the process. I hope next year a new category will be added – Digital Fundraising. I best suggest it!

The Awards take place on Wednesday 14 September at the Lancaster so be sure to follow the hashtag #TSawards to see who all the winners are.To all who entered… best of luck!

Announcing the Charity Governance Award winners

Last night I attended the inaugural Charity Governance Awards at the Clothworkers Hall in London. The awards were organised by the Clothworkers’ Company in partnership with Reach, Prospectus and NPC (New Philanthropy Capital).

I’m delighted these awards exist as it’s important to recognise good governance. Usually the only time we hear about governance is when it’s bad and it all goes horribly wrong.

By shining a spotlight on the best of the sector, we want to demonstrate how effective governance can transform a charity and even more of the lives of its beneficiaries.

Charities were invited to apply for the awards and there was a two-stage judging process. The fourteen judges boast a wealth of experience in charity governance and the voluntary sector and included Dawn Austwick (Chief Executive, Big Lottery Fund), Tony Cohen (Chair of Barnardo’s) and Janet Thorne (CEO of Reach Volunteering).

The six winning charities will share in the £30,000 prize pot, each winning a £5,000 unrestricted grant.

The winning charities represent a diverse range of subject areas including youth work, heritage conservation, mental health support, palliative care, and community improvement. I was really impressed with what the boards of these charities had achieved and all the charities shortlisted were worthy winners but of course, there can only be one…

Winners:

Board diversity and inclusivity

Leap Confronting Conflict, winners at Charity Governance Awards (photo by Kate Darkins).jpg

Improving impact – charities with 0-3 staff

Robert Thompson Charities, winners at Charity Governance Awards (photo by Kate Darkins).jpg

Improving impact – charities with 4-25 staff

Improving impact – charities with 26+ staff

St Cuthberts Hospice, winners at Charity Governance Awards (photo by Kate Darkins).jpg

Embracing opportunity and harnessing risk

Managing turnaround

Moasic Clubhouse, winners at Charity Governance Awards (photo by Kate Darkins).jpg

The 2017 Awards will open for entry on 6 October so make sure you put your Board forward.

Congratulations to all the winners and to all the Boards shortlisted!

 

How crowdfunding is changing the face of social action

I am very proud to be on the panel of this year’s #FRO16 by The Resource Alliance, which is a global two-day online conference aimed at helping charities and social enterprises have access to case studies, new thinking and best practice – for free.

If you register now for #FRO16, you’ll be able to watch all the sessions for one month. Sessions include speakers from JustGiving, Storythings, Indiegogo, SolarAid, Platypus Digital, Dignity in Dying, HOME fundraising, Change.org and many more.

In association with The Resource Alliance, I’ve produced a whitepaper which looks at how crowdfunding is changing the face of social action. Download if for free, here. Follow the hashtag, #FRo16, to see what people are saying!

An apology, a declutter and some useful links

I have been neglecting this blog and I’m sorry. However, I have very good reason… as you may know I have been freelance again since October last year and boy have I been busy. It’s been great though – I’m working on some really interesting projects with charities, businesses and start-ups and I’ve also become a regular writer for Third Sector’s Digital Hub.

I’ve also recently moved house and I was really impressed with how easy it’s been to change my contact details for the charities I support with monthly direct debits. I thought it was going to be tricky to find out how to let them know but all of them had pretty easy to find details on their websites and I received a reply within two working days. Much more efficient and far less time consuming than informing my banks, I can tell you! What was really nice was the personalised emails I received back. I particularly like this one because yes, moving is stressful!

CRUK

On the subject of moving house, I suddenly found myself with so much stuff. Stuff I didn’t need so I packed up eleven boxes (yes, eleven boxes AFTER moving house) and emailed the British Heart Foundation to collect them. It was relatively fuss-free and I had them collected on the Monday Bank Holiday (no holiday for them, clearly).

A few things that have caught my attention in the past months that you may find interesting:

My charity boss’s bullying still haunts me –  Guardian Voluntary Sector Network, Confessions of a charity professional. Disturbing and distressing but a must-read. The comments really opened my eyes and so did the discussion that took place when I posted this on the Third Sector PR & Communications Network group that I manage on Facebook.

How to illustrate difficult causes and subjects – Madeleine Sugden. Madeleine’s posts are always well thought out and well researched. Take a look at her past posts too. Or better yet, subscribe.

It’s time for charities to stop wasting money on social media – Matt Collins for the Guardian Voluntary Sector Network. Oh boy did this kick off. Poor Matt had to contend with loads of tweets and comments that were really rather unpleasant. I get what Matt was trying to say and that is that social is just one part of your toolbox. There are other tools that are actually more effective (like email) so make sure you’re using all of them to their full potential and not just putting all your eggs into your social media basket.

Charity Boards are failing to adapt to the digital age -this has to change – Zoe Amar for the Guardian Voluntary Sector Network. Always insightful, Zoe makes the case that boards who ignore or don’t understand digital, do so at their peril.

Does your organisation represent more than just clutter in the eyes of your donors? – Seth Piper for The Resource Alliance. I absolutely love this post and I’m pretty certain it’s what spurred me on to do my own declutter.

I promise I will try to post more regularly. In the meantime, if you’d like to connect with me I’m over on Twitter at LondonKirsty.

 

 

My top 5 charity campaigns of 2015

As we approach the end of the year, I’ve thought about the many charity campaigns I’ve seen throughout 2015 and have made a list of my favourites:

#SmearForSmear by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust

The cervical cancer charity launched a social campaign to raise awareness of the importance of having a smear test, during Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (25-31 Jan). The idea was simple: put on some lipstick, smear the lipstick, take a selfie, share on social with #SmearForSmear and nominate a friend to do the same.

It started as purely an awareness raising campaign but a text donate call to action was soon added once the campaign seemed to gain momentum. Of course, as it followed the #icebucketchallenge and #nomakeupselfie it gathered some criticism for ‘jumping on the social media bandwagon’. Here’s my response to that claim in the Guardian Voluntary Sector Network.

I even took part myself:

#BTTCK by RNLI’s social media team

Not strictly a charity campaign but I absolutely loved the Back to the Crew Kit campaign by RNLI’s social media team. For three  whole days the five members of the RNLI’s social media team wore oil skins and lifejackets from a bygone era in order to raise vital funds for their charity. Search #BTTCK on Twitter for some hilarious pictures and videos on how they got on.

#EndangeredEmoji by WWF

Such a clever, current campaign that (deservedly) even picked up an award in the Drum Social Media Buzz Awards. The idea is that every time you use an endangered animal emoji on social media, you make a small donation to WWF to help save them from extinction.

#TheChokeables by St John Ambulance

What do you do if your baby starts choking? The aim of this campaign was to teach parents first aid directly so that they would know what to do if faced with an emergency. Social media, particularly Facebook, played a massive part in getting the video seen and shared and as a result of this campaign 45 babies were saved*

*This is from feedback given to the charity by parents.

The video has been watched almost 6 million times on YouTube alone.


#DECHOX by British Heart Foundation

DECHOX is a denial fundraising challenge where participants give up chocolate for the month of March. Not for this chocoholic I’m afraid but it was a great success for the charity. The beauty of this campaign lies in its social nature – there was a whole host of tools, such as pre-written emails, social media badges and even an ‘offline’ desktop sign. There is also a clever link between unhealthy foods and heart disease so there was a real purpose to this campaign. And boy were people proud of their medals.

I also liked how the charity took on an edgier tone of voice and in fact, this was one of the campaigns this year that sparked my article for the Guardian Voluntary Sector Network on profanity in charity campaigns.

dechox-1

So there you have it – my top 5 charity campaigns for 2015. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing what charities come up with in 2016!

What were your favourite campaigns of 2015?

How to make social media more personal for your charity

Social is called ‘social’ because, well…it’s social!

It’s 2015 so I’m sure I don’t need to tell you (or even remind you) that social media is not about broadcasting but about conversations.

I didn’t really need to remind you, right? Good.

Often organisational social media accounts can be conversational but still faceless. You know you’re talking to a person – hey, they may even crack a joke from time to time – but who exactly are these people behind the social media accounts? I bet you don’t know.

But there’s a really easy way to fix this. Use a sign-off.

Big charities often have big social media teams. And by ‘big’, I mean more than one person so they tend to use their name or at least their initials when replying to people. This immediately creates a sense of personalisation – you are talking to a person, not just a charity. When you call up a charity, the person answering the phone would always give their name, so why do we not do the same on social?

Here’s a great example from Save the Children UK. Now, if I have a question I know I can address it to Steve. Isn’t that nice? Better than addressing my question to @SaveChildrenUK…

One of the best examples is Oxfam. They consistently reply with their names and, I have to say, it does make it more special.

I’ve used Oxfam as an example of best practice before in this blog and when I tweeted the post, I had a lovely reply from Stuart:

And of course this works on Facebook too. Here’s how Macmillan responds to comments:

Macmillan Facebook post

And here’s one from Irene at Anthony Nolan:

Anthony Nolan Facebook Comment

Now I’m sure you will agree that this doesn’t cost any money or time, which means that every charity – no matter how small – can do the same. After all, how can we create genuine relationships through social media if we don’t know who we’re talking to?

Top charity use of trending news stories

Now, newsjacking has been around for ages and charities have been taking advantage of trending hashtags, or news, in both good and bad ways – mostly good.

Recently, I’ve noticed one charity that seems to have nailed it.

They have clearly thought their key messages through and they are reaping the benefits – their latest one, which focussed on the news story that skinny jeans could be bad for your health (oh dear, Hipsters) had 74 Retweets.

So who is it?

Here’s one for National Kissing Day.

But best of all? These ones for Game of Thrones.

I think these are wonderful examples of how to take advantage of trending hashtags, in a meaningful way. Have you spotted any others?

Five top tips for building online communities

Today I delivered training for Media Trust on Building Online Communities to a number of charities. The training was really interactive and it was wonderful to have delegates that were enthusiastic, confident and happy to share their own experiences and tips.

We covered a lot of topics but I wanted to share five top tips for helping to build and engage a community. They are:

1. Experiment with posting times

Have you looked at your Facebook Insights to see when the people who Like your page are most active? You might be surprised… if your target audience are parents, for example, then experiment with posting at 8 or 9pm. This is when the kids have gone to bed and parents finally have a chance to sit down and check Facebook.

2. Think ‘mobile’ first

As of March 31, 2015 there were 1.25 billion mobile monthly active Facebook users. So when you’re creating your post, make sure the first two sentences have your call to action or conveys what you want people to take away. Chances are if your post is too long for mobile, most people won’t click to read more.

3. Keep the conversation on your cause

If you are going to make use of trending news stories or trending hashtags, make sure they are still relevant to your cause. If you can’t think of a way to tie in your charity’s work/values/mission to a trending hashtag – don’t do it. Here are some good examples (and one bad) of ‘newsjacking’.

4. Keep it real

Real people, real stories and authentic images. People love human interest stories and hearing about other people’s experiences so why not showcase them? Avoid stock images and use real people – photos of smiling, happy faces get the most engagement. Try it!

5. Always say ‘thank you’

This could be literally – as in thanking fundraisers on your social media channels or thanking volunteers but it is also about thanking those who engage with you. And that could mean something as simple as liking their comment on your post or replying to it. With Twitter this could be Retweeting, favouriting or replying with an @mention. If someone has taken the time to engage then they should be acknowledged. This means they are also more likely to comment, Like or share your content again.

Got any other tips you’d like to share? Leave a comment or tweet me at @LondonKirsty

How charities are using Storify

Last week I was invited to speak at CIPR’s Social Media Panel event on Social Storytelling. I was asked to speak specifically on Storify (if you know me, you know how much I LOVE Storify) and how charities are using it.

Here’s my presentation:

I was joined on the night by the fabulous Jessica Gioglio, Head of Creative Lab at Sprinklr and co-author of ‘The Power of Visual Storytelling’ who gave a wonderful presentation.

Will Barker presented on how Tenovus Cancer Care used Snapchat for traditional PR and the amazing results that they had.

For more presentations and a Storify of the event, click here.

Does your charity use Storify? Share your best ever Storify in the comments below.

Charities get in on the April Fools’ spirit

Here are some really impressive April Fools’ day jokes from charities that I Storified for JustGiving. If you’ve spotted any others, please let me know. Enjoy!