Be brave

Yesterday was day two of the Institute of Fundraising’s Fundraising Convention – although day one for me as I was on holiday on Monday (why, yes! I do have a bit of a tan, thanks for noticing!). For me, the recurring theme in all the sessions I attended, and one I spoke at, was : to be brave.

Wear It Pink

My first session of the day was by Lottie Barnden, Senior Products Fundraising Manager, and Joe Freeman, Assistant Director of Digital Engagement at Breast Cancer Now who talked about how they achieved mass participation success using relationship fundraising and digital innovation for Wear It Pink 2017.

In the past, Wear It Pink had been treated as a standalone product but there was clearly disconnect with the charity brand so in 2017 they made the (brave) decision to incorporate the Breast Cancer Now brand into it more. They involved more staff in the event, segmented their audiences, used personalised comms, combined digital with post, text and telephone calls to reach people in the way that they wanted to be reached, and aligned the brand – which all resulted in an increase in remittance by 6% and a 7% increase in average gift from the previous year.

Here are their four key takeaways:

  1. Principles – define your principles before your campaign and strive for depth and authenticity
  2. Inspire – be smart with your marketing plans and flex them for different audiences. Know how critical digital channels are (but don’t ignore post – which brought in over £300k)
  3. Engage – build a relationship with your audience and know what you want to say to them
  4. Own it – it’s your day, it’s your moment – so own it!

Click to read my Twitter thread of their session:

How to spot emerging digital tools and trends (no matter your size)

My second session was on spotting emerging digital tools and trends, with David Pearce, Director of Fundraising and Marketing at Dignity in Dying.

This was an interactive session where delegates got to be brave and share their digital challenges. It was no surprise what most were – and David had already captured most in a slide. I always say that, no matter what size your charity is, the three challenges facing all charities is: time, money and resource.

David shared his reading list, which is how he keeps up with the latest digital and fundraising news. His top tips included:

  • Beware of the ‘shiny new thing’
  • If Facebook is looking to buy said ‘shiny new thing’ or trying to copy it – take note
  • If it’s mentioned in Parliament, listen up

Whenever you’re looking to use digital tools for fundraising, always remember to:

  • Go back to your organisational goals – can this digital tool help achieve them?
  • Test and learn but more importantly, learn from failure
  • Be agile
  • Have an innovation budget (or be creative in your digital budget)

Click to read my Twitter thread of the session here:

What fundraisers can learn from Tinder

My third session, which was packed both with people and top tips, was with Nikki Bell, Relationship Manager at British Heart Foundation and Victoria Ward, Head of Fundraising at British Youth Council to talk about donors and dating.

There was so much in this session, I recommend you read my Twitter thread below but the highlights for me were:

  • Stop chasing the people who don’t care about your cause and focus your attention on the ones who do
  • Use active listening when meeting with donors (don’t take notes!) and always use something personal in a follow-up (such as, I hope you managed to find those shoes you were looking for after our meeting)
  • When they’ve made a donation, break the dating ‘two day rule’ and say Thank You as soon as possible
  • Looking for potential new donors? Find them on Twitter using the Advanced Search function
  • Lastly, ‘self love is the very first romance’. You can’t be a great relationship fundraiser if you don’t look after yourself and love yourself first.

Click to read my Twitter thread of the session here: 

Find the pain and understand the culture

The plenary was by Fatima Bhutto, journalist, author and Young Global Leader for the World Economics Forum. Fatima urged us to ‘find where the pain is because that’s where there is the most need’ but not to just rush in to help but really take the time to ‘understand the culture’. Fatima also said that to make the biggest impact, go to the smallest communities because your work will really make a difference.

Sarah Goddard summed up Fatima’s talk beautifully:

Click to read my Twitter thread of the plenary session:

Be brave on social media

After the amazing plenary, it was time to hear from Melissa Thermidor, Social Media Manager at NHS Blood and Transplant and Rebecca Sterry, Senior Communications Manager at Autistica to learn how their organisations are being brave on social media.

Melissa said that the conversation is shifting on social and that Twitter is becoming more of an advocacy platform. My top takeways were:

“There’s no conversion without conversation.”

Create a community by responding to people’s user-generated content and serve it back to them.

Melissa described how they had tweeted a call out for more black blood donors and received lots of racist tweets in return. Instead of just reporting and blocking (and essentially just ignoring it publicly), they fought back. The result, is quite simply, EPIC (click to read the thread):

This was a really brave step on their part, and one that paid off. But there’s still more battles to fight (and win).

Rebecca spoke about how they undertook their own research to really understand their audience so that they could create personas for them. Autism is incredibly emotive so it was essential to understand what matters to different people.

They choose to be quick to respond to news and to be opinionated. They then empowered staff to use Twitter to help build the brand, amplify the charity’s messages and to add a personal touch when they got things wrong:

What I took away from this session is to stop being so vanilla! Stand up for what’s right and don’t be afraid to admit if you got something wrong.

Last night I spotted this on Twitter and it really nails home to ‘be brave on social media’:

Click to read my Twitter thread of the session here:

How to be an excellent young trustee

The last session of the day was one that I was speaking at. Along with Neal Green, Strategy and Insight Manager at the Charity Commission and Leon Ward, Deputy Chair of Brook Young People.

I’ve been a proud trustee of Small Charities Coalition for five years and Leon has been a trustee of (previously) Plan International UK and now Brook Young People for around eight years so we have lots of experience in being a young trustee. Along with Neal, we shared how we found our roles, tips for applying, the interview process, how you need to make sure you do your due diligence and tips for board meetings and more.

It was a really interactive session with loads of great questions and I hope we inspired the young people in the room to be brave, go forth and become trustees. Looks like we definitely inspired at least one!

If you’re interested in becoming a young trustee, read this excellent guide by Leon and CAF. I’ve also written a post on three reasons to become a trustee.

So that was the end of day two. Were you there? What were your highlights? Tweet me at @LondonKirsty!

Proud to be ‘Best Trustee’ in the Social CEOs Awards

On Thursday 16 November the Social CEOs Awards took place at JustGiving, who were one of the sponsors alongside TPP Recruitment, Lightful and Grant Thornton. Now in its fifth year, the awards celebrate CEOs and leaders in the charity sector who use social media to champion their cause, raise awareness, break down barriers and have conversations.

The top 30 Social CEOs are not ranked but there is one overall winner. The other categories are:

Best Trustee on Social Media
Best Leader on Social Media
Best Rising Star on Social Media
Best Digital Leader
Best Digital CEO

I am absolutely delighted, proud and honoured to have won the Best Trustee category! Find out who all the other winners and the top 30 Social CEOs are.

Kirsty Marrins Best Trustee on Social Media in Social CEOS Awards

Photographer: Dan Papworth-Smyth

As a Digital Communications professional, I use social media and digital daily. It’s part of my life and part of who I am so naturally, as a trustee of the Small Charities Coalition, I use these channels and my networks to promote the work of the charity and raise our profile.

I would encourage every trustee to get on social media and talk about their charity, their impact and just have conversations. It can make a huge difference. Many of my fellow trustees at Small Charities Coalition and our Chair, Julia Kaufmann, are active on social media and all our staff are too. In fact, our CEO Mandy Johnson – who has only been in her role for four months, made the top 30 Social CEOs Awards list! I’d like to think that, although we may be small, Small Charities Coalition is a shining example of how everyone in the organisation is responsible for raising our profile and using our networks and influence to best serve our members.

Social media is a great leveller. It puts us all on an even playing field, whether you’re at a large charity or a small one. Many of the winners in the Social CEOs Awards this year are from small charities!

Kirsty Marrins and Mandy Johnson of Small Charities Coalition.JPG

After my award win I was whisked away to give a few words on why more trustees should embrace social media.

Read this excellent article by Mandy on the role of social media for a charity CEO. Mandy also regularly shares her thoughts and views on her YouTube channel. If you’re a CEO, particularly of a small charity, I really recommend subscribing to her vlogs.

A big thank you to the co-founders of the Social CEOs Awards, Matt Collins of Platypus Digital and Zoe Amar of Zoe Amar Communications for recognising the need for these awards – to celebrate those doing social media well and to encourage other leaders to see the benefit and to get on board.

Canva for Nonprofits

I am delighted to announce that Canva has now got a dedicated Canva for Nonprofits webpage where you can apply for your free account.

Get your skates on!

I have extolled the virtues of this design tool in many a blog post and article since I first heard about it in 2015. I’m a big fan and use it myself. It’s a super-easy tool to use and brings social media posts to life.

Previously you had to email Canva to ask for free access to Canva for Work for your charity but I guess they have been inundated with requests that they have made the process far easier by allowing you to simply apply online.

For U.K charities you will need to prove your charitable status by supplying your Charity Registration Number from the Charity Commission or CIC Registration Number or Articles and Memorandum of Association along with your online application.

Canva for Nonprofits gives charities access to Canva for Work’s premium features for up to 10 people in your organisation – all for free. However, use of premium elements will still be charged on a per element basis. The great thing about Canva for Work is that you can upload your logo, set your fonts and colour palettes so that the posts you create are always on-brand.

If you need inspiration for your designs, they have a host of case studies such as Amnesty International Australia.

If you want to unlock the premium features, apply today for your free charity account.

Top content tools you need to know about

If you work in communications, social media or marketing then you need to know about these free tools to help you create eye-catching content.

Design

Canva is a free design tool that allows you to create amazing graphics for all your social media and marketing needs. They have a whole host of great features, such as uploading your own images, adding filters, making elements transparent, adding text over images and free illustrations and elements to help you create infographic-style designs. I use it lot for my personal travel and food blog but here’s a Facebook cover photo I created for the Third Sector PR & Comms Network Facebook group.

third sectorPR & CommsNetwork

 

What’s also great about Canva is that it has templates for Facebook cover images, Twitter images, Pinterest posts etc so no need for you to look up the exact dimensions. Best of all? Canva for work, which is a paid version with added features, is free for charities – just apply here.

Notegraphy makes your words look beautiful so that they stand out. Download the app on the App store or Google Play and get writing. Here’s a video to explain how it works:

Images

To create great graphics, you need high quality images. It’s always best to use your own but sometimes that’s not always possible. Here are my favourite go-to websites for high resolution images that allow you to use them as you like – crop, filter, add text etc and no need to credit the photographer: Unsplash, Gratisography, Pexels, Pixabay and Morguefile.

Infographics

If you have a lot of interesting data that you’d like to turn into an infographic, take a look at HubSpot’s free infographic templates. They are PowerPoint templates which you can edit. You can use your own colours and fonts to ensure it’s on brand.

Not free but Piktochart offer charities pricing at $39.99 for  year. They have 400 templates of Infographics that you can edit and customise. Also included are stock photos (if needed) and industry-specific icons.

Gifs

Gifs are moving images that can help add an element of fun into your social media posts. Twitter has a really handy gif feature built in, powered by Gify, where you can use keywords to search through thousands of gifs. CRUK’s Drylathlon Twitter account uses Twitter gifs a lot as it fits in with their cheeky tone of voice:

But what if you want to make you own? Make A Gif is a free tool that lets you make gifs from photos or even video. So why not get experimenting with gifs of an event or even your staff?

What tools do you use? Leave a comment below!

 

 

Top tips for social media

This month I was delighted to be invited to present two social media workshops. The first was at Trading Aces which was organised by Andy Brady,  head of learning and research for charities & social enterprises at Anglia Ruskin University. The second was at the Small charities communications conference in London, organised by CharityComms.

The workshops were fun, although challenging! When you only have an hour, it’s tempting to try to cram in as much as you can but I focused mainly on Facebook and Twitter and tried to give practical and actionable tips for a range of expertise levels. As an accredited trainer, I would usually spend half a day to a full day focusing on social media (and even more if I could) so having just an hour was interesting! I had some really great feedback straight after the workshops and a few emails too so I’m delighted they had a good response.

As part of the workshops I put together a Ten Top Tips for Social Media handout, which delegates could take away with them to stick up at their desk. Download your free copy by clicking on the image. I hope you find it useful!

 

10 Top Tips for social media

The top 30 Social CEOs and a free guide

Last night I attended the Social CEO Awards, hosted by JustGiving. Set up by Zoe Amar and Matt Collins, and now in its third year, the awards celebrate CEOs who are using Twitter to actively engage with their supporters and beneficiaries, discussing key issues and raising awareness of their charity.

The full top 30 are listed in this Guardian Voluntary article.

This year there were three new categories: Senior Leader, Trustee and Rising Star. Congratulations to all the winners!

If you are a CEO wanting to get started on Twitter, or improve your social skills, then download this free guide: Digital Leadership: how to survive and thrive as a social CEO.

The guide has been produced by Zoe Amar and Matt Collins and features advice and tips from Zoe, Matt, Rob Hayter of TPP Recruitment and myself. I offer tips on how CEOs can fundraise on social media and share examples of CEOs who are using Twitter brilliantly to fundraise – like Polly Neate, CEO of Women’s Aid who took part in the Mont Ventoux Climb and raised over £2,000 for her charity.

If your CEO is not convinced about the benefits of being on social media, download the guide and leave it on their desk!

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?

Facebook rolls out new Donate Button

This week, Facebook rolled out a new call-to-action button for charities – Donate Now. The beauty of this is that you can link it to any URL – whether it’s your Donate landing page on your website or, if you’re on JustGiving you can link it straight into the one-touch donate flow or even to a specific Campaign page.

I covered how to use it over on JustGiving’s blog.

Here are a few charities who have already incorporated the Donate Now button onto their Facebook page:

Dogs Trust

dogs trust FB

Make a Wish Ireland

Make a Wish Ireland

Teenage Cancer Trust

Teenage Cancer Trust FB

Blue Cross

Blue Cross FB

Have you incorporated it yet?

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.