5 ways the first UK #GivingTuesday was a success

10 Dec

giving tuesday logo

This is a guest blog from Holly Mitchell, #GivingTuesday UK Campaign Manager. It’s a follow up from her previous blog.  I’m delighted to have been a #GivingTuesday ambassador.  

It is now over a week since the first #GivingTuesday in the UK and here at #GTUK HQ we have had some time to reflect on what was an amazing day.

I think the fact that Black Friday had such an impact in the UK this year helped people connect more with #GivingTuesday. Whilst Black Friday was undeniably good for our economy, it was hard not to feel uncomfortable at the scenes we saw from supermarkets. #GivingTuesday gave us an opportunity to redress that balance.

Below are my top five ways that our first #GivingTuesday in the UK was a success and in sharing these, I hope that even more join us next year.

It had a big following

We ended December 1st with 820 partners officially signed up. 820 different organisations, from multinational companies and large national charities, to student groups and small, local charities. Getting a large number of diverse and often competing organisations on board to promote the same message turned #GivingTuesday from a campaign to a movement.

The figures

Figures and stats from a variety of sources have proved that #GivingTuesday was successful in increasing donations. Our core partner, Blackbaud, reported a 270 percent increase in donations, compared to December 3 2013. Just Giving reported an 80 percent increase in text donations and Visa saw a 10 percent increase in donations. This equated to £2,500 donated every minute.

It helped small & local charities

One of the best things about #GivingTuesday is how it helps to level the playing field. Large, national charities, inevitably, get a bigger slice of donations and publicity in comparison to smaller, local charities. However, #GivingTuesday turns that on its head. Statistically, we know that Localgiving.com took £75,736 on December 2  which is a massive 885 percent increase on December 3 2013. Anecdotally, numerous smaller charities have reported an increase in their online presence and uptake in volunteers.

It was massive on social media

#GivingTuesday trended for 11 hours on twitter. Most will be aware of how difficult that is to achieve. #GivingTuesday partner, Crimson Hexagon, provided us with some excellent social media data which showed that the UK sent 30,000 tweets about #GivingTuesday on the day. We also had a social media reach of 180 million, which is more than double the entire population of the UK!

It brought people together

One of the best outcomes of the events we ran was the opportunity to bring people together, who ordinarily might not have connected. #GivingTuesday has helped forge new relationships, whether between businesses and charities, such as Mindshare and Compassion in World Farming or in a community such as Milton Keynes. The Milton Keynes Foundation rallied round local businesses for their #SurvivingWinter campaign to great success.

We want to keep giving going all year round, so even though #GivingTuesday is over, the conversation doesn’t have to be.

For those who want to get involved next year keep up to date with us at www.givingtuesday.org.uk and follow us @givingtuesdayuk.

How to achieve fundraising success on social media

24 Nov

fundraising pic

The charity and social enterprise sector has been an early adopter of social media. It’s not surprising, given the growth in its use by donors. And this is more than slacktivism- 55% of those who engage with organisations on social media do end up donating, volunteering, signing a petition or attending an event.

But it’s not enough just to have a presence on Facebook or Twitter. Charities often ask me, ‘What is the best social media platform?’ It very much depends on your audience and how they prefer to engage and, of course,to give.

So I was pleased to see that our old friends over at Social Misfits Media have launched Friends with Money – a free guide to fundraising on social media, in partnership with Just Giving. It encourages charities to think big about the potential for social media in fundraising but also as a key driver in raising awareness, campaigning and telling your charity’s story. I’ve contributed to the guide with some thoughts on why Childs i Foundation are such brilliant fundraisers.

Carlos Miranda and Alissa Steiner of Social Misfits Media shared some excellent tips from the guide on boosting your fundraising efforts on social media in The Guardian today.

Download Friends with Money for some great case studies from Rotary Global Swimathon, Child’s i Foundation, Cancer Research UK and Cystic Fibrosis Ireland and expert tips from Facebook, Just Giving and Twitter.

Top five tips for #GivingTuesday in the UK

14 Nov

This is a guest blog by Holly Mitchell, the #GivingTuesday Campaign Manager at CAF.  I’ll be chairing their webinar on how charities can use Facebook for #GivingTuesday on 19 November.

#GivingTuesday in the UK, now less than a month away, has been a long time in the making. Here at the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF)  we have been planning since the beginning of the year. It has been fascinating to see it grow from four of us sat planning round a table to the mass movement it is now with nearly 500 partners on board.

Over the course of this year we have witnessed lots of different approaches and ways of engaging with #GivingTuesday and I would like to share our top five tips with you. Hopefully they will help enhance your own #GivingTuesday campaigns or inspire you to get involved!

Set a specific goal

The best examples from partners I have seen are those with a very specific goal in mind and a concrete plan on how to achieve it. The Lothian Autistic Society want to use #GivingTuesday to raise awareness of autism and the services they run in Edinburgh. They have planned a treasure hunt with clues being displayed in 10 local businesses windows. Alongside the clue they will display information about their work and encourage people to support them via social media.

They will also have a text to donate number on display but fundraising is secondary to their primary aim of raising awareness.

Be creative

Lots of charities have mentioned to me that they are worried their message will get lost in a day when the whole world will be focusing on charity. My advice is to make your campaign stand out. This is the first year we are running it in the UK so I understand people wanting to ‘test’ the waters but those who are planning something a little different will definitely benefit.

Azuko, an architectural charity, have set up their ‘charity for ebay’ challenge where they are asking people to sell unwanted items on ebay and gift the proceeds to Azuko. Plans which stand out have the added bonus of being used as case studies by me in meetings, presentations and events!

Remember it’s not just about fundraising

One of the things we love most about #GivingTuesday is that is that it isn’t just about fundraising. Doing something charitable covers a wide range of activity and this means that you can really tailor it to your own needs. Perhaps you want to grow your online presence or increase engagement with your volunteers.

The Scouts have a shortage of scout leaders so will be using the day for a volunteer drive to get more people to sign up.

Use as much visual content as possible

I can guarantee that any pictures, videos or infographics I tweet or use on Facebook will get the most retweets or likes. It seems obvious but adding visual content to your own material really will help reach a wider audience through greater engagement.

This doesn’t have to be something that you pay a design agency to create. We have provided you with our branding and I encourage you to play around with it and see how it can work for you. Rosie’s Rainbow Fund have been brilliant at this and have created some really cool graphics!

rosie's rainbow

Don’t forget to have fun!

#GivingTuesday comes at a great time of the year. People are in a festive, generous mood as the nation gears up for Christmas. It really is a great opportunity to engage with new people, thank your existing supporters and celebrate all you have achieved this year.

Make sure that you love your campaign as your enthusiasm will shine through and attract more people to your cause. It has certainly worked with me and #GivingTuesday!

Giving tuesday infographic (2)

The top 30 charity #socialceos 2014 – revealed!

7 Nov

They are finally here! I am so excited to share this year’s top 30 charity CEOs on social media with you.

We announced the winners at our awards event last night hosted by Girlguiding. A big thank you to them for hosting us, as well as Grant Thornton, who the awards were in association with, and our other lovely sponsors TPP Not for Profit and the Access Group.

As you may know, Matt Collins of Platypus Digital and I co-founded the awards to celebrate the great work done by charity CEOs who use social media as a central tool of their job. We hope it will encourage even more CEOs to take the plunge and go digital. There is a huge range of charities of all shapes, sizes and causes in this year’s 30.

Here’s my blog about the awards from The Guardian Voluntary Sector Network this morning.

Take a look at our infographic of the 2014 winners below. We’ve also published a briefing to help CEOs get the most out of social media, which includes case studies from Relate, Parkinson’s UK and Beating Bowel Cancer. It’s packed with lots of other advice, including insights from Grant Thornton on social media and governance and tips on the latest digital trends for CEOs, such as thought leadership. Get the briefing here.

If you want to help your CEO improve their social media presence, or need to boost your own, I’m also running a course on that very topic on 22 January at Just Giving’s offices.

Do let me know what you think of this year’s top charity #socialceos.


infographic final 7 nov jpeg


Can we talk about transparency?

23 Sep

In the wake of Dispatches, #knitgate and Panorama I recently blogged about how the sector has entered a new era of transparency for Just Giving.

So it was very timely to see ActionAid UK’s new crowdsourced report on transparency and to read what Judith Davey, their Director of People, Performance and Accountability says about it.

ActionAid UK are one of my clients and earlier this year I ran a workshop for them on thought leadership, transparency and social media. We talked about the concept for the report then and they went away to work on it. I was excited to see the finished product last week which includes fantastic contributions from the BBC, Charity Comms and the Big Lottery Fund. There is plenty of food for thought for nonprofits of all shapes and sizes.

I’m hoping the report will kickstart a conversation in the sector about transparency. In my view, there are some worrying misconceptions about transparency out there still, including: it’s something which is done to us by politicians; just putting all our data out there is enough; and it’s a ‘thing,’ a bolt on to all of our other activities. The cutting edge thinking showcased in the report is a refreshing antidote to all that.

Whilst greater scrutiny can be an unnerving thing for many organisations, I think that the best way forward is to embrace it and put it at the heart of your strategy. By being open and honest you can strengthen relationships with stakeholders, build new partnerships and reinvigorate your communications.

The point is, transparency isn’t a one size fits all process, and should really be the start of a conversation about your work and the difference it makes with your audience.

Isn’t it time the charity sector talked about this more? Do join the debate by tweeting ActionAid UK.


The 2014 Charity #SocialCEOs Awards are coming!

17 Sep
Last year's awards in full swing

Last year’s awards in full swing


Huge thanks to everyone who nominated CEOs earlier this summer. We’ve been spoilt for choice with 100 amazing entries. Here’s a quick update on next steps and sponsors.

What happens next?

This year’s top 30 will be announced at a special event on Thursday 6 November hosted by Girlguiding.

Who’s in this year’s top 30?

Our judges have been burning the midnight oil this summer deciding who is in this year’s top 30. As I said, we had 100 brilliant nominations and narrowing them down to 30 when the standard has been so high has been no easy task. We’d like to thank Simon Blake, CEO of Brook and Chair of our judging panel, Dalton Leong, CEO of The Children’s Trust, and Lucy Caldicott, Director of Fundraising at CLIC Sargent, for all their hard work.

Naturally, the names of those in this year’s top 30 are under lock and key until November. They will be announced officially in the press the morning after the awards i.e. Friday 7 November.

Who else is involved?

We are thrilled to announce that this year’s awards will be run in association with Grant Thornton (you may have seen their recent report Growing Communities on charity leadership and social media). We’ve got some other great sponsors on board including TPP and Access. If you’re a corporate who would like to get involved please contact me on zoe@zoeamar.com

How can I help my CEO/ board/ leadership team use social media?

We’ll be producing some content to help you do just that which will be launched at the same time as the awards. In the meantime, check out the guide we produced last year.

I’ll also be running a workshop to help trustees use social media at the NCVO conference on 10 November, and am planning some workshops on how you or your leadership team can develop good personal online presences early in the new year. If you’d like to know more about these drop me a line on zoe@zoeamar.com And for tip top digital campaigns advice and resources do check out Matt’s agency, Platypus Digital.

6 tips to beat the holiday email blues

19 Aug

This is a guest blog from Dr Monica Seeley, founder of Mesmo Consultancy and an international expert on best email practice.  Monica has written several books and many articles on email use. Her latest book is ‘Brilliant Email’.

email image

August time always sparks the age old debate about whether or not to stay connected whilst on leave.  Those firmly in the wellbeing camp say disconnect and give yourself time to recharge the batteries properly.  Others feel they must stay connected no matter what and that doing so makes no difference to the quality of their holiday.  In effect they are saying ‘I am indispensable and super human’.  Most of my clients when asked why they stay connected whilst on leave say it is because they feel it is expected of them.

Last week Daimler introduced an email programme which self-destructs employees’ emails whilst they are on leave. In effect they have levelled the playing field for all employees regardless of seniority.

However, the Daimler system is sophisticated and not everyone can afford such technology.

For many, dealing with the holiday email back-log is one of the most stressful aspects of taking a break .  More stressful, some say, than losing your luggage and having to look after aging parents.  If you are not in a position to implement a Daimler-type system what are the other options?  Take heart because technology alone will not cure email overload despite the claims of some software providers.

The real cure for email overload lies in changing our email behaviour.  It is about rethinking how we use email and curing what has become the hidden disease of 21st century working life – email addiction.

Whilst these are long terms action in the short term, for those either going on holiday or returning to work from vacation, there are some simple things you can do.

Before going on leave do some basic and simple email housekeeping to clean up the inbox. Here are my three top tips:

  1. Clear out all the old emails – either move them to folders or delete them and especially old newsletters.
  2. Set some rules (filters) to move automatically any new less important emails to folders, or maybe even the trash can (eg all user emails, newsletters, social media alerts etc). This way when you return you will see only the high priority emails in your inbox.
  3. Set an appropriate Out of Office message. Keep it short and simple giving the dates you are away from the office. Most email software allows you to set two different Out of Office messages. For internal emails, set a message similar to the Daimler one asking people to resend any important emails after your return. Many senior executives already practice this principle to reduce the level of holiday email overload. Done carefully you can even filter out the ones from the CEO and let them slip though. For external emails you may wish to craft a different less blunt message.

On your return from leave here are my three top tips to reduce the dreaded holiday email overload.

  1. Talk, talk and talk again to colleagues before even touching your inbox. This will give you an overview of what really needs your attention. Then and only then tackle the inbox.
  2. Triage the inbox based on what your colleagues have told you and deal just with the really vital emails. If you have followed the three steps above then this should just be important emails from clients and the senior management team.
  3. Declare email bankruptcy. Once you have dealt with the really key emails, if your inbox is still full of unnecessary emails, delete the rest. If anything is that important you can be sure the sender will re-contact you.

The result? No more email holiday overload.  Longer term you can start to implement an email management change programme to better educate your colleagues about how to reduce email overload.



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