Notes from the Fundraising Research Thinktank Meeting
Update on Direct Mail Article

Notes from #media140 - Using Real-Time Social Media in the Third Sector

Attended Media140's event today, which featured a number of panels and guest speakers on social media.

It was an interesting event and as well as seeing a few old faces, it was good to chat to new people and to hear what they're doing with social media in their own organisations.

Below are some quickly typed thoughts and observations from each of the sessions.

Keynote 1: 'Staying relevant in a wired world' by Steve Bridger

I've had a few conversations with Steve on Twitter, so it was nice to see and hear him in the flesh (although I had to dash before getting a chance to say hello!) and I was impressed with what he had to say.

His talk was a personal plea for charities not to make social media a silo and that 'legitimate voices' were a bad idea.

He said we should encourage workers to become better storytellers and professional conversationalists about their cause and to trust them to do it properly.

I particularly found this slide about the changing giving environment useful:

Panel 1: Finding a voice - maintaining personality cross platform, across different campaigns.

The panel relayed how they used social media in their own organisations and the importance of engaging in conversation and not just 'shouting' your messages at people.

Simon Collister of We are Social got a bit of a backlash on Twitter when he suggested that charities outsource their social media. Personally I think the actual Tweets/messages/engagement should be by a charity staff member or volunteer, but I don't have a problem with an agency providing training, advice, strategy etc. As Rob Dyson of WhizzKidz pointed out we don't kick up the same sort of fuss when charities outsource things like face to face or telephone fundraising.

The other quote that I liked from the panel was: 'People are multi-faceted, you only find out their depth and diversity when you engage with them.'

Keynote 2: Building a community from nothing by John Carnell of Bullying UK

I've heard a lot about Bullying UK and social media, but hadn't heard John speak before. I thought he did an excellent job.

He made a number of pertinent points, as well as sharing some great stats on how Bullying UK engage with people. You can see his presentation on Slideshare.

He encouraged people to put their message across as a person and not as a brand as that builds the best connections.

Share, share and share content, be honest, be open and people will love you.

He predicted that the mobile web is untapped. He's getting in early as he think it is about to explode and that this explosion will be driven by the social web.

Panel 2: The future of fundraising with 'real-time' social media?

Some of the ideas and trends that the panel discussed were:

  • The increasing need for NGO's to collaborate to raise fund. No NGO is unique - even if they think they are.
  • The importance of storytelling and fitting your ask around this.
  • Making things relevant at the point of sale and the increase of micro-donations.
  • Mobile barcodes (QR-codes) becoming increasingly popular and will give fundraisers new opportunities to capture data and raise funds.

Panel 3: How to enthuse and co-ordinate volunteers

Jamie Thomas of iVolunteer gave an impassioned defence of slacktivism and said it was better that people did something than do nothing. He said this micro-volunteering (such as signing an online petition) often led to further involvement and engagement in the future.

The panel also thought that volunteering was lagging behind other functions of charities (such as fundraising) in their adoption of social media to manage and involve volunteers. Someone quoted a study that found that less than 20% of small, local charities had any social media presence.

Demo: Media140 Labs

The final part of the day was a presentation from Liam of, which is an online tool to help charities campaign better (well worth checking out if you are a campaigning charity) and from iVolunteer, a Facebook style community for volunteers and volunteer managers. One of the interesting things about this is that they are producing a white label version for large charities to use for their own staff and volunteers.

More information:

Itchynotscratchy's thoughts

The Flickr pool from the day - including this one of me not being able to keep my mouth shut!

The organisers: Media140