As is fast becoming a tradition, our first charity digital breakfast of the year covered the topic of digital confessions. It’s an opportunity for attendees to consider setting digital New Year Resolutions for their charity. Joining us to share their confessions were representatives from The Children’s Society, SPANA, The Institute of Cancer Research, JDRF UK and Electrical Safety First.

Nick Shread, 4Ps’ Head of Third Sector, and Digital Executive Louie Boffa hosted the event. The confessions that were debated included:

“We don’t prioritise SEO so aren’t making a drastic impact”

“We don’t take advantage of content opportunities”

“We need to use our content and videos to drive more traffic”

“We produce good content but don’t use it as effectively as we can”

“We don’t make full use of video content”

Clearly there were concerns amongst the group about their ability to make the most of their content and video offerings. We started by considering what the obstacles to effective utilisation might be.

Capacity Issues

Tom Crowe, from The Children’s Society, suggested that there may be capacity issues involved, with a need to set priorities to areas that can make a difference. It is certainly a difficult balance when trying to make the most of your resources.

Internal Resistance

Laura Mulkerne, from The Institute of Cancer Research, raised the issue of internal resistance to creative ideas, which can stifle opportunities for awesome content. As a solution, Calum Sanderson, from JDRF UK, suggested keeping researchers involved in the content-creation process. Researchers benefit from fundraising activities, so demonstrating the worth of content opportunities can gain their support for creative ideas that will publicise their good work. Giving thanks to researchers on your website can keep everyone feeling that their work is noticed.

If line-managers aren’t fully appreciating content’s value, Laura suggested demonstrating how content can help your line-manager achieve their goals. That’s always a good way of getting their attention!

Nick noted that it is also worth taking any opportunity to talk about your achievements with those in positions of responsibility within your organisation. Any water cooler moment to show how you’ve reached a wider audience, generated more donations etc. can help decision makers understand how your content work is helping the organisation achieve its aims. When funding decisions come around, these little seeds sown can help gain favour.

Create Attention-Grabbing Content

Hannah Kaplan, from the working animal charity SPANA, gave some insight on how you can make the content itself work harder. Sometimes, having a different angle for video can raise excitement levels. Consider how you could make this next video differently from the rest, to spark interest and reach a wider audience.

Whilst looking at ways to spark interest, Hannah noted that “shock” videos weren’t found to be effective for SPANA. This really depends on the audience you are aiming to reach. Penny Walshe, from Electrical Safety First, stated that “shock” videos were effective for getting their message across, although they can draw negative comment. They were extremely effective at starting conversations that increased awareness and understanding of the dangers of some electrical appliances. If your target audience would be open to dialogue following shocking content, then it is worth considering testing this approach.

Regardless of whether a shock approach is taken or not, Hannah raised the point that it is important to grab people’s attention early within a video. With an attention span that could rival a goldfish, you need to ensure your viewers are engaged straight away. One possibility would be to create a series of videos to follow an event, so that viewers are encouraged to watch future instalments to continue their journey. Of course, the prize for watching must be worthwhile to engage them over a series of videos.

Sometimes the simplest change can have the greatest impact. Electrical Safety First successfully reached a specific subset of their target audience by compiling a showreel of their greatest achievements. According to Penny, the showreel instantly shows potential partner organisations how a partnership would benefit them.

Identify Your Audience

There is always a need to consider your audience when creating content. In previous breakfast sessions, we have discussed creating personas to understand different audiences that you are aiming to reach. 4Ps has helped several charities understand the diversity of their target market for different products, from event signup to making donations.

Laura, who has undertaken persona creation sessions with us, raised this point of understanding your audience for each product you offer. In her current role, she works with differing audiences that are after funding or information, both requiring differently targeted content offerings.

Use Social To Maximise Engagement And Reach

Nick touched upon other areas of content that may engage an audience. He cited the regular #WaterwaysWednesday tweets from @CanalRiverTrust, which test enthusiast’s knowledge of the waterways network by posting a photo for them to guess the location. For example, there could be a series of “Where’s the Donkey?” quizzes for SPANA, based upon photos from the countries that they provide support for working animals abroad.

The ability to recycle old content was also raised by Nick. Making use of social trends like #ThrowbackThursday on Twitter is one way to make the most of historic content that you may have. You could also create new content by comparing old campaigns and how they impacted people in different ways. Hannah suggested making use of “Then and Now” comparisons, as nostalgia is always a good way to engage people. Callum Sanderson, from JDRF UK, said that comparing diabetes equipment from the past with today’s advanced technology would provide extremely effective content.

Finally, Nick suggested linking up with vloggers who are on the rise, especially if they have a connection to your cause. Hannah also recommended trying to animate your own videos, making use of the free trial on offer from GoAnimate (www.goanimate.com).

Key Takeaways

As always, towards the end of the session we asked each attendee for their key takeaway:

Tom Crowe, Digital Coordinator, The Children’s Society:
“Demonstrate the impact of past projects to put your case forward for additional funding.”

Hannah Kaplan, Content Officer, SPANA:
“There’s no right or wrong way to produce content, but it needs an emotional hook. It doesn’t have to be expensive.”

Penny Walshe, Corporate Communications Manager, Electrical Safety First:
Use in-house expertise to experiment with content and video to develop quick wins. You are more able to be reactive when using in-house resource.”

Laura Mulkerne, Digital Marketing Manager, The Institute of Cancer Research:
“It’s sometimes worthwhile taking a different viewpoint when considering your content to find out the best way to maximise your existing resources.”

Callum Sanderson, Social Media Officer, JDRF UK:
“Consider the best location to host videos, from YouTube to hosting options like Vimeo Pro.”

We hold our Third Sector Digital Breakfast bi-monthly and new attendees are most welcome. If you work in a marketing role for a charity and have an interest in helping take them forward digitally, please get in touch with Nick Shread to reserve your place at our next breakfast.

If your organisation could benefit from an audit by a content marketing strategist, or persona creation guidance from an experienced web analyst, consider the third sector team at 4Ps. Give us a call on +44 (0)207 607 5650 for a no-obligation coffee and chat about data, marketing and technology across all inbound channels.