I’m really excited about attending Media Trust’s digital storytelling conference tomorrow.
Everyone in the sector seems to be talking about digital storytelling at the moment, i.e. how people use digital tools to tell their ‘story.’ Digital stories combine photographs, video, animation, sound, music, text and hyperlinks in a creative way. The best digital stories are emotionally engaging and compelling.
For all the emphasis on digital, it’s reminded me how fundamental stories are to our lives. When I read to my toddler and baby at bedtime they sit quietly on my lap and stare up at me; I can see how books fire their imagination. When I was at university studying English Literature I learned how Greek myths like The Odyssey and Iliad weren’t written down, but remembered and retold down the generations.
Digital tools are amazing and have the potential to help charities reach millions of supporters and donors around the world. But before you start on your digital storytelling campaign, remember that the focus should always be on telling a strong and effective story. Child’s i are brilliant at doing this in their videos, such as Katie’s story.
So I hope to see you at the conference tomorrow, which will cover:
- What makes a good digital story
- Provide skills based workshops on how to use digital tools
- Reveal how organisations can achieve the most impact through digital storytelling
- Provide an opportunity for communications and charity professionals to debate the digital freedom of information
Let me know if you’re going by tweeting me @zoeamar
You may have seen that Fund the Frontline, a fundraising initiative focused on local ownership and sustainability, launched this week. It is led by the STARS Foundation with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Pears Foundation and Charities Aid Foundation.
Currently in its pilot year, the campaign is asking for public donations through GlobalGiving UK’s online platform (you can donate here.) Donations will be matched by the campaign and sent to six local NGOs working with children and communities across Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific. The NGOs have previously won the Stars Impact Award.
A Guardian microsite accompanies the campaign. It will offer content from campaign partners and organisations working in the same space such as CIVICUS, Peace Direct and OECD.
I’m really excited about this initiative as it puts power back in the hands of people on the ground. Tightening aid budgets and growing demands for transparency from donors have made rebuilding troubled communities in developing countries a challenge. In my view, Fund the Frontline is just as empowering for donors as it is for those at the sharp end. This is a funding campaign which actively encourage short term responsiveness and long term sustainability.
What do you think of Fund the Frontline?
PS Speaking of leadership, we’ve had lots of amazing entries for the top 30 charity CEOs on social media. Nominate your CEO here
PPS I hope to see some of you on Tuesday evening (15th Oct) for the next CIM charity event on successful charity and corporate marketing partnerships with UNICEF and Barclays. Let me know if you’re coming by tweeting me @zoeamar
I am super excited to launch an initiative today which will really help charity CEOs engage with social media. Read my blog about it on The Guardian Voluntary Sector Network.
Digital expert Matt Collins (aka @charitychap) and I were inspired by LinkedIn’s top 30 social CEOs to create our very own independent voluntary sector equivalent . I spotted that there weren’t any charity CEOs amongst the top 30, which surprised me as an increasing number of charity leaders are keen to develop strong social media presences. Matt and I decided that there was an exciting opportunity here to celebrate the best social charity CEOs and hopefully encourage more charity leaders to get involved in social media.
A key trend I am seeing as a digital communications consultant is that a strong personal social media presence is essential for charity leaders. Done right, it is an empowering tool which can help charity leaders achieve more for their organisations and themselves. Alex Swallow has written a great blog about this.
I’m thrilled that we have a fantastic panel of judges to help us choose the top 30, who are all experts in the use of voluntary sector social media. They are:
- Simon Blake- CEO of the Brook (@simonablake)
- Lucy Caldicott- Director of Fundraising at Clic Sargent (@lucycaldicott)
- Danielle Atkinson- Head of Digital and Individual Giving at Merlin (@roxymartinique)
- Kirsty Stephenson, Digital Strategist at Child’s i Foundation (@kirsty)
We would love to hear who you think are the best charity CEOs on social media. You can nominate them here . Please submit entries by 5pm on Friday 25th October.
The results, along with a guide to help charity leaders use social media more effectively, will be launched at a special event for charity CEOs on the evening of 21 November at Brook.
For more details please drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, get nominating!
I’ve been pretty busy since setting up as a marketing and digital communications consultant this summer. I’m lucky enough to have worked on some brilliant projects and you can find out more about how I can help here.
With that in mind, I’d like to share what I think are the essential ingredients for a fantastic consultancy project, one which can help a charity achieve its goals, add value and kick start things with new ideas.
- A clear briefing. In an ideal world a charity will provide this to the consultant. However, charities are understandably sometimes too busy to do this and a consultant needs to be able to ask the right questions to understand what’s required and then summarise it in a short proposal document. It should include deadlines, budgets and deliverables. This will help get everyone on the same page from the start which will make for a smooth and successful piece of work.
- Agree expectations. Now everyone’s clear about the key points for the project, other details need to be nailed down. Things like who the main points of contact on either side are, if key people work part time, best methods of communication etc. These may seem like small details but it’s useful to find out about them upfront, rather than on the day of a deadline.
- Listening. I’m a great believer that both the consultant and the charity should listen to each other and be alive to new approaches. The right consultant can set the tone for this from the first meeting by asking lots of open and thought provoking questions.
- Get to know the organisation. Whether it’s familiarising yourself with the organisational strategy and brand or meeting the team, I’d advise all consultants to find out as much as they can about their client. I once worked with an amazing charity who offered me a quick tour of their offices before our kick off meeting. It gave me a sense of the organisation’s culture. I could see how ambitious and motivated they were so I put together some bold and exciting communications advice for them, which they were very happy with.
- Get a consultant with good contacts. Speaking as someone who used to hire consultants as part of my previous role as a national charity’s head of marketing, I always did due diligence on their network. A consultant with excellent contacts can increase the impact of the project and open doors. This is particularly important for press work. In my last job I wouldn’t hire communications consultants without strong relationships with journalists.
- Make the most of having an external perspective. A consultant is a fresh pair of eyes for a charity, and they may have other valuable insights to offer too. Consultants are lucky enough to get an overview of the charity sector (and perhaps even the public and corporate worlds, depending on their clients and background). I’m always happy to discuss my views on the market that the charity operates in.
- Build a relationship for the future. If things have gone well, then you might end up working together again. Even if there aren’t any immediate projects on the horizon, it’s nice to stay in touch. You may be able to help each other out with ideas, contacts and resources.
That’s my take on what makes a great charity consultancy project. What’s yours? Why not share your ideas below?
PS A huge thank you to everyone who has supported this blog, which now has more than 320 followers . I’m honoured that Amazon PR have included it in their top charity blogs. Thank you for visiting, sharing and commenting. Please do get in touch if you want to pitch an idea for content.