We've come up with 5 ways to make sure that your charity is at the forefront of communication trends in 2019. We talk to many clients about how to improve current stakeholder relationships and how to start reaching out to new stakeholders. How do you ensure that your charity's call to action is adopted by the public? Check out these suggestions, as you approach communication strategies in the new year.
1. Show Impact
Not many charities have grasped that supporters and especially younger supporters desire to see data that your charity programmes and projects are working. This desire requires more than annual financial accounts and testimonies from beneficiaries. These should still be provided and build part of the impact story, however, charities need to approach impact in more detail.
The mindset and process that PlanLab suggests is to think about your work as a science experiment. In an experiment, you set out to prove something, as well as achieve your goal. Therefore, in carrying out the work, you also need to demonstrate with qualitative and quantitative data that it worked. Today, it is about bringing that data which is traditionally passed to management and trustees, out to stakeholders. Transparency is key. It's time to adopt this in 2019 and it is an opportunity to get creative with data displays and how you monitor your action. Mercy Corps improved their impact reporting in the following way and also discovered previous reporting techniques weren't up to scratch.
Mercy Corps measured latrine use and hand washing in Indonesia with sensors and flow metres. Pre-sensor survey records originally showed hand washing station use at 44-60% and 58-100% for latrine use.
When sensors and flow metres were installed afterwards, lower rates were recorded, therefore, indicating the unreliability of self-reported surveys (2-25% latrine use, 0-40% for hand washing).
2. Go Behind the Scenes
Taking transparency further into your social media, how about communicating how your operations work. What happens on a day to day basis in your office and out in the field to make your mission happen?
Can you use social to tell the 'behind the scenes' story. It engages stakeholders by subconsciously communicating that they are part of the work to make it happen. By introducing key personalities and sharing how things work, it means that your charity is speaking authentically to those who follow and support your work. These days people enjoy the nitty gritty, reality, highs and lows that it takes to achieve what you set out for. Displaying the hard work that your charity does, will inspire people to support you to make it happen.
3. Double Check Stakeholder Journeys
Can you commit and set a process in place that allows you to monitor and improve your stakeholder journeys? This involves making sure all the touch points that you provide to connect with stakeholders work and that they have an easy way to pursue your call to action. Consistent monitoring will enable you to provide the best route for them to support your charities' campaigns and work.
Here are some things to consider when reviewing the touch points; are there any buttons on your website that aren't working or need placing in another position on your website, are there too many click throughs to do a call to action, are you using the channels that your supporters are using, is there a new feature that isn't being utilised in the social media apps which you use?
Technology is always developing and affecting how stakeholders behave across communication channels and that is the key reason to assessing the infrastructure that you use to interact with them.
4. Clearly Communicate Your Differentiators
What is unique about your charity and if you were to distinguish it from other charities in the same field, what would be the differentiators? In all your communication materials and across your channels, are these value propositions clearly described using simple, clean language and design? This is important because people are bombarded with information on a daily basis and do not have time to read large pieces of text, translate jargon and they require imagery that impacts and if glanced at, is easy to interpret.
Let's take a look at one example of this in action. Conservation International clearly lay out three elements that communicate their value proposition. The rest of the page is pretty interesting, as they lay out vision and mission; why not click the picture to explore their page in more depth.
5. Consider Disappearing Content
Facebook is currently questioning the extent of emphasis on their newsfeed because of the trend in digital behaviours to prefer to engage with disappearing content. Disappearing content is temporary and is sometimes called ephemeral because it exists for a short time or our attention to it is engaged in a short space of time. You can utilise Facebook and Instagram Stories to create disappearing content.
Why is it popular and worth paying attention to within your social media content strategy? Well, it invites the follower in more, creates a more personalised level of engagement and takes advantage of the FOMO culture (fear of missing out). Our next blog will look more at the benefits and how the Third Sector can utilise disappearing content.
Written by Lizzie Telfer