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Meaningful Engagement: Developing Strong Content

In parts 1 and 2 of this series we explored why you need a social engagement strategy, and how to look at your historical data to understand what your audience is responding to. This part will delve a bit deeper into thinking about content development for your social channels as well as what should be included in your strategy.

It’s easy to fall into the habit of creating social posts that all feel quite samey. It’s safe, you know what you’re doing – and you’re keeping on top of everyone’s requests (or perhaps demands!) on how the channels should be used. But a broader range of content will be more engaging for your audience. Plus, posts that look different from one another will stand out in their feed, especially if people have grown used to your posts all looking very similar to each other.

Content creation

If the idea of coming up with more varied content sounds daunting – don’t despair. This isn’t about creating lots of brand new images and graphics for use on social. Your strategy will only succeed if it’s simple enough to keep up. You want your social channels to work in harmony with other online content, and a good chunk of your social posts can be based on sharing key website pages, links to YouTube videos, sharing blog posts – or even news stories you might have been featured in. What’s key is how you frame snippets from those stories, so that the post is interesting enough in its own right, as well as likely to draw people to want to follow the link and see more.

This post from Plan International UK stood out to me because it told a story that we don’t hear so often from international development charities. It brings to life what phrases like “poverty alleviation” mean in practice.

To read the full CharityComms article click here.

Source: CharityComms


Meaningful Engagement: Finding What Works

Hopefully you’ve read the first post in this series and are ready to start thinking about how to pull your social engagement strategy together. Here’s the method that I have drawn up based on my experience. You might choose to use it wholesale, or adapt certain elements. Remember with this sort of thing that ‘done’ is generally more important than ‘perfect’!

This post will focus on data – what you need to look into and pull together in order to start writing a document up. You can broadly use this approach for any of your social channels, though I am focusing here more on Twitter and Facebook, as they are widely used and have fantastic built-in analytics.

Let’s get analytical

Firstly you need to answer the question: what are our audiences responding to? You will need to do this separately for each channel – the nuts and bolts might be slightly different but the process will be the same.
1.Choose a timeframe. I would recommend six months as a solid starting point. Shorter periods might be less useful, particularly if you have had a specific campaign running that might have skewed your content output over that time.
2.Export the post data. I do this within the platform, as sometimes third party platforms cause variations in the data that I don’t quite understand. That said – if you prefer to use a third party platform, that’s fine too – just so long as you continue to use it when reviewing ongoing performance, so you are comparing like-for-like. Note that you might also need to do multiple exports, as some platforms have a limit (eg three months) for the date range you can export.
3.Determine what to measure. I tend to look at visibility and engagement.

Twitter: Exporting the data from Twitter gives you “impressions” and “engagement rate”. Reach is generally a more useful measure for engagement, as it tells you how many people have seen your content in their feed; impressions can be misleading because you can’t break down how often the same people have seen your content. That said, for the purposes of this work, impressions is fine so long as you continue to use the same measure when evaluating ongoing results.

To read the full CharityComms article click here.

Source: CharityComms


Meaningful Engagement: Do You Need a Social Strategy?

If CharityComms had a pound for every time a potential client included in their initial contact the sentence: “We want to grow our fundraising from social channels” They’d be rich.

Digital is – rightly – a cornerstone of many charities’ strategies now, and over the last few years growth in digital income has been a key tool in staving off the flat-lining or decline of previously solid channels. And, of course, organic social offers the opportunity to raise awareness, create PR opportunities and engage directly with followers – and you can “make it go viral”…!

The thing is, though, it’s not quite that straightforward. Many charities see little by way of discernible results, but feel they should be on social channels because everyone else is / their audience is / there’s a line in the broader organisational strategies about growing social. Your followers – even for those of you blessed with a comparatively large audience – aren’t sitting there, waiting for you to post something. In fact, many of them might not even be seeing your posts at all, depending on what’s going on with the algorithms / your engagement / other things happening on social this week.

So helping someone drive value from social starts with helping them build their social community online. I want to run you through a basic guide to how you can do this for yourself.

Why should we have a social engagement strategy?
•To give focus to what you share on your social channels – and how you share it
•To build in a test and learn approach to your content delivery
•To build an audience who will help you achieve your organisational goals

Making an impact on social media

Often, charities use social channels to broadcast. Sharing “our” news. Updating you on “our” latest achievement. Telling you what “we” are doing. It’s not all that, well, social. So, typically, engagement with posts is pretty low, audience growth is slow and many of your posts are essentially you screaming into the void.

The good news is you can take huge strides to improve this situation. Creating a social engagement strategy will require a little investment of time, but you can keep this fairly streamlined. And it doesn’t need to be aligned with a digital strategy (if your charity even has one) or a broader comms strategy – indeed, for my money it should absolutely be kept separate to some degree, because it needs to be a living, breathing strategy with room for flex and change.

To read the full CharityComms article click here.

Source: CharityComms


Charity Risk Seminar – Birmingham

In partnership with Zurich, NCVO is pleased to introduce a series of Charity Risk Seminars in 2019. Their half day seminar will cover three key areas in risk management; risk assessment, data and security management and safeguarding.

The Charity Risk Seminar will take place on Tuesday 26th November 2019, 9am till 1pm at BVSC, 138 Digbeth, Birmingham , B5 6DR.

Join Sharon Kearns, Casualty Risk Consultant at Zurich as she discusses the importance of risk assessments and the vital role they play for key stakeholders and the facilities you own and manage. In addition, Sharon will discuss how effective risk assessments can enable organisations to put resources in the right place to manage risk.

Data and Security
Information risk is often managed in a piecemeal way without an overall view of how the risk should be managed. Matthew Hardwick, Strategic Risk Consultant at Zurich, will explain ‘what data is’ whilst considering tools and best practices to ensure the safe management of your data.

Safeguarding
The final part of the seminar will look at safeguarding.  Now, more than ever, the topic of safeguarding is high profile and any organisation that has contact with vulnerable people must have appropriate safeguarding arrangements in place.   In this session, we will explore the basic principles of safeguarding and how safeguarding impacts insurance and what you as risk managers can do to play your part.

Costs:

NCVO Members – £35.00

Non Members – £50.00

Email training@ncvo.org.uk or phone (020 7520 2587) if you’ve any questions or queries for NCVO’s training team.

To book your place click here.

Source: NCVO


Cyber Security FAQ: Why Charities Can’t Afford to Ignore the Risk from Malware

The world of cyber crime can seem murky and mysterious – cyber criminals are, after all, a faceless threat and charities are focused on the here and now, running their day to day operations and making a difference. But weapons such as malware are indiscriminate, and anyone can be stung. That is why in this article we try to shed some light on the world of malware, with help from cyber security experts Avast.

Q: What is malware?

A: Malware (short for malicious software) is a common tool that cyber criminals use to get inside devices, take control of them or steal information.

In much the same way as the common cold, malware (short for malicious software) is easily caught and always evolving. It continues getting faster and cleverer, finding new ways to access your charity’s devices or network. And just like a cold, it’s much easier to prevent it than it is to deal with its effects once it’s taken hold.

Q: Are charities at risk from malware?

A: Yes. Just like commercial organisations, charities hold valuable data that cyber criminals will trade for a high price on the black market. Malware is one common (and easy) way of stealing that data.

One in five charities were affected by a breach of their data last year, costing them an average of £9,470 to fix what could have been prevented for a tiny fraction of that cost.

But monetary cost is just the tip of the iceberg. Whether or not data is stolen or recovered, the charity sector exists on a foundation of trust. Charities simply cannot afford anything that damages their reputation in the eyes of the public, their stakeholders, service users or supporters.

Added to this, charities running a tight shift to deliver critical services to their communities and service users often rely on the use of data and computers. The resulting downtime from dealing with a malware infection is just not an option.

All of this makes malware a significant threat to charities.

To read the full Charity Digital News article click here.

Source: Charity Digital News


How Your Charity Can Punch Above its Weight on Instagram

Almost everyone’s at least heard of Instagram. But perhaps you’re not sure how to best use it for your charity, especially if you’re a smaller organisation with fewer resources.

This is a timely topic of conversation; next week is Small Charity Week, organised by the Foundation for Social Improvement (FSI). The Small Charities Coalition (SCC) is using the week to launch their Big Support Small campaign, where they’re encouraging charities of different sizes to work together to have a powerful impact.

This got me thinking on how larger organisations such as where I work, the Charities Aid Foundation, can help. In our 2019 Charity Landscape report it was revealed that 86% of charities with an annual income below £1m are trying to boost social media engagement or are planning on doing so in the next 12 months.

I know that 91% of charities are run by volunteers and have limited budgets. So, with this in mind, I wanted to share this quick and easy guide for small charity full of free advice on how to get up and running on Instagram.

Let’s start with some juicy stats:

  • Instagram is the second most engaged with the network after Facebook
  • There are 1 billion monthly active users and 25 million business profiles
  • Users like 4.2 billion posts per day
  • There are 95 million posts per day and 500 million stories a day

And most importantly: it’s your chance to tell your story and reach donors, volunteers and advocates.

To read the full Charity Digital News article click here.

Source: Charity Digital News


Get Your House in Order Before You Recruit Volunteers

Are you thinking of recruiting some new #volunteers when the summer is over? What do you need to consider before even starting?

Traditional routes to volunteering are changing and organisations are competing for volunteers. Those who donate time want to know it is well spent, that work is well organised and their contribution is valued.

Volunteers are any age. They may be school children, young people, parents or family members, or retired. Different groups may have varying approaches to volunteering. Stop to consider your target audience and what you want the volunteers to get involved in with your organisation.

It is important volunteers are clear about their roles and the support they can expect from an organisation.

Organisations need to have systems and procedures in place to ensure their volunteers have a great experience.

Giving volunteers a quality experience

In January 2019 NCVO has published a new report Time Well Spent on the volunteer experience. This national survey of over 10,000 respondents found there are eight key features that make up a quality experience for volunteers:

  1. Inclusive: welcome and accessible to all
  2. Flexible: takes into account people’s individual life circumstances
  3. Impactful: makes a positive difference
  4. Connected: gives a sense of connection to others, to the cause and/or an organisation
  5. Balanced: does not overburden with unnecessary processes
  6. Enjoyable: provides enjoyment, people feel good about what they are doing
  7. Voluntary: the volunteer has freely chosen to do it
  8. Meaningful: resonates with volunteers’ lives, interests and priorities

Volunteering may be regarded as a way to learn new skills, meet new friends, or make a valuable contribution to a cause. It may lead to employment and new careers.

Useful links:
For more information on good practice methods for recruiting volunteers you can download the Investing in Volunteer quality standard framework

Volunteer placements, rights and expenses (Direct Gov).

NCVO Know How.

Source: NCVO


HMRC’s Criminal Offences For Failing to Prevent Tax Facilitation – What They Are and What to Do

HMRC is reminding companies and partnerships (including charities) that they can be criminally liable if they fail to prevent their staff or those that represent them from facilitating illegal tax evasion.

The offence, which came into force in September 2017, does not substantially alter what is illegal tax evasion, but focuses on who is held accountable for enabling or allowing it.

Rather than try and attribute illegal tax evasion to an organisation, it focuses on the failure of that organisation to prevent those who work for, act for or on behalf of from committing criminal tax evasion.

HMRC has published information about this, including what organisations can do to build their internal procedures in light of the offences. The ‘corporate criminal offences’ can also be found in Part 3 of the Criminal Finances Act 2017.

HMRC has also launched a new dedicated self-reporting route for organisations that have failed to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion. Find out how to self-report, and why it may be in an organisation’s interest on the Tell HMRC your organisation failed to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion webpage on GOV.UK.

If you have any queries about preventing tax facilitation please contact HMRC.

Source: Charity Commission Newsletter issue 63


Charities Working Internationally: How to Assess Risk

Charities working internationally can face certain risks because of their operating environment including the application of financial sanctions, greater levels of corruption or criminal activity, the presence of terrorists, proscribed groups or designated entities.

The Charity Commission, as a risk-led regulator, we focus on areas of higher risk and we expect the same of trustees. The Charity Commissions International Charities Engagement Team recently published a blog to help you assess risk more effectively. It also includes links to risk management tools, which can help you protect your charity from harm.

How to assess risk for charities working internationally.

Source: Charity Commission Newsletter issue 63


New Guidance for Charities with a Connection to a Non-Charity

If your charity has a close relationship with a non-charitable organisation – such as its founder, trading subsidiary, or a regular partner – you must manage the connection in your charity’s best interests and protect its independence. You need to plan for the risks as well as the benefits that the connection can bring.

The Charity Commission’s new guidance for charities with a connection to a non-charity will help you to do this. It draws together relevant law and practice, setting out 6 principles to help trustees run and review these connections.

It follows concerns that some relationships between charities and non-charities have damaged public confidence in charity. It will also help us, as the regulator, to better hold charities to account against existing rules.

Source: Charity Commission Newsletter issue 63


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