Championing the voices of service users is a proven and effective way to help charities put a spotlight on the great work they do. Even if your cause is not a strongly emotional one at first glance, or you support people in an indirect way, there will always be people out there who your work has touched.
The focus on ‘lived experience’ in the charity sector in recent years has meant putting user voices at the heart of how charities run their services and build digital platforms. This can extend to the way they communicate, too, giving power to the very people your charity aims to help.
Weaving beneficiary voices and stories into your charity’s digital campaigns can:
- Show the human impact of what you do to build empathy and trust with supporters
- Add extra dimension to impact reporting that really shows the worth of what you do
- Break down barriers and open the door for more people to come forward and tell their stories
- Help turn beneficiaries into your biggest fans who can help advocate for your cause
What do we mean by including beneficiary voices? While they can be a powerful communication tool, this is about more than just highlighting statistics from groups of people you help. It means going beyond the figures to let individuals tell their stories in their own words, putting a real face to issues and giving genuine insight into the impact your work has had on their lives.
As much as you can, let people lead the conversation and showcase their own creativity. Whatever you do, just ensure you have explicit consent to share people’s content and always follow your organisation’s procedures on safeguarding in communications. Be vigilant of the mental and physical well-being of participants at all times and put them first.
How can I get people involved?
Written case studies and quotes are great for people browsing your website, but there’s so much more you can do online. Why not use multimedia and social media to give service users a platform to share their personal story?
- Having service users’ names to guest blogs on your website, sharing their experiences and advice. This can be written by them, or take the form of an interview. Be sure to include photos
- Service users recording YouTube videos or ’vlogs’ about their daily life, facing challenges and interacting with your charity’s services
- Using the Instagram ’Stories’ feature to allow service users to give a snapshot into their life in short snippets over the course of a campaign
- Hosting a themed Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter ’takeover’ event with selected representatives from your service users running your social feed for a few hours or even an entire day
- Encouraging participation on Twitter under a hashtag. This works particularly well for photos and short videos
- Recording video calls as informal interviews that can then be used across social media or part of a larger video
Who’s doing it well?
CARE France’s ’Stories from the other side of the world’ is a powerful look into the lives of seven women in different countries living in poverty, who use Instagram Stories to post about their daily life and an honest glimpse into the ups and the downs.
Young Epilepsy Society have done an amazing job of putting their young service users in the spotlight, creating their own video and social content, and hosting Instagram takeovers. The latest series of vlogs sees young people filming their own insights into what they do to stay positive during COVID-19.
Mental health charity Young Minds features guest blogs on their website from young service users and their parents and carers facing a wide range of mental health challenges, sharing advice and personal experiences. The blog posts are honest and relatable, helping to break the stigma.
The Stroke Association’s video features Zoom interviews from a stroke survivor during lockdown, coupled with that of a support worker, as part of a video explaining the importance and impact of its service during times of increased isolation. It makes for a moving watch.
Ramblers the walking charity helped people get out and about and build connection during lockdown, encouraging people enjoying the UK’s natural spaces to share photos of their outings on Twitter under the hashtag #RoamSweetRoam and help others to benefit from walking.
If you have service users with talents, why not use them? In an incredible showcase of service user creativity, disability charity Scope gave to keys to its Twitter account to sight impaired illustrator Sam Schäfer for a day. His entertaining look at life via his artwork smashes stereotypes and gives representation to the diversity of people with sight conditions.
LinkedIn Makes its 20 Most Popular LinkedIn Learning Courses Freely Available Throughout August
Looking to up your skills for a job change or career advancement in the second half of the year?
This will help – today, LinkedIn has published its listing of the 20 most popular LinkedIn Learning courses over the first half of 2022. In addition to this, LinkedIn’s also making each of these courses free to access till the end of the month – so now may well be the best time to jump in and brush up on the latest, rising skills in your industry.
As per LinkedIn:
“As the Great Reshuffle slows and the job market cools, professionals are getting more serious about skill building. The pandemic accelerated change across industries, and as a result, skills to do a job today have changed even compared to a few years ago. Professionals are responding by learning new skills to future-proof their careers and meet the moment.”
LinkedIn says that over seven million people have undertaken these 20 courses this year, covering everything from improved communication, project management, coding, strategic thinking and more.
Here are the top 20 LinkedIn Learning courses right now, which you can access via the relevant links:
- Goal Setting: Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) with Jessie Withers
- Excel Essential Training (Office 365/Microsoft 365) with Dennis Taylor
- Interpersonal Communication with Dorie Clark
- Cultivating a Growth Mindset with Gemma Leigh Roberts
- Project Management Foundations with Bonnie Biafore
- Using Questions to Foster Critical Thinking and Curiosity with Joshua Miller
- Essentials of Team Collaboration with Dana Brownlee
- Unconscious Bias with Stacey Gordon
- Learning Python with Joe Marini
- Communicating with Confidence with Jeff Ansell
- Speaking Confidently and Effectively with Pete Mockaitis
- Learning the OWASP Top 10 with Caroline Wong
- Power BI Essential Training with Gini von Courter
- Strategic Thinking with Dorie Clark
- SQL Essential Training with Bill Weinman
- Developing Your Emotional Intelligence with Gemma Leigh Roberts
- Communication Foundations with Brenda Bailey-Hughes and Tatiana Kolovou
- Agile Foundations with Doug Rose
- Digital Marketing Foundations with Brad Batesole
- Critical Thinking with Mike Figliuolo
If you’ve been thinking about upskilling, now may be the time – or maybe it’s just worth taking some of the programming courses, for example, so that you have a better understanding of how to communicate between departments on projects.
Or you could take an Agile course. If, you know, you don’t trust your own management ability.
The courses are available for free till August 31st via the above links.
Instagram Is Rolling Out Reels Replies, And Will Be Testing A New Feature Which Informs …
Instagram has added a few more social features to the platform, with Reels Replies being rolled out. Along with the Replies, anew feature is being tested that shows when two users are active together in the same chat.
Reels has been performing much better than perhaps even Instagram ever anticipated. The TikTok-inspired new video format (which officially claims to have absolutely no relation to the former) had some trouble really finding its footing initially. However, Reels has grown massively and while it may not be a source of the most direct competition to TikTok, it is indeed a worthy alternative.
Reels has grown to the point that it has a massive creator program attached to it, and the video format has even been migrated to Facebook with the goal of generating further user interest there. Naturally, with such a successful virtual goldmine on its hands, Instagram has been hard at work developing new features and interface updates for Reels, integrating it more and more seamlessly into the rest of the social media platform. Features such as Reels Replies are a major part of such attempts at integration.
Reels Visual Replies are essentially just what they sound like: A Reel that is being used to reply to someone. It’s a feature that’s been seen frequently across TikTok as well. Reel Replies essentially take a user’s comments, and reply to them in video format. The comment will then show up within the Reel itself as a text-box, taking up some amount of space, and showing both the user who issued said comment along with the text. The text-box is apparently adjustable, with users having the ability to move it around and change its size depending on where it obstructs one’s Reel the least.
Overall, it’s a fun addition to the Reels format, even if the credit should be going to TikTok first. At any rate, it’s an example of Instagram really utilizing Reels’ social media capabilities, outside of just serving it up as a form of entertainment.
Speaking of social media capabilities, a new feature might help alleviate one of the most common frustrations encountered across all such platforms. Isn’t it annoying when you see that a friend’s online, but isn’t replying to your chat? Sure, they’ve probably just put their phone down to run a quick errand, but there’s no way for you to know, right? Well, there sort of is now! Instagram is beta testing a new feature via which if both users are active within a chat, the platform will display that accordingly. It’s a work-around, sure, and one that’s currently being tested for usefulness, but it’s still a very nice, and even fresh, addition to the social media game.
— Yash Joshi (@MeYashjoshi) December 10, 2021
5 apps for scheduling Instagram posts on iPhone and Android
Alright, we get it. You’re an Instagram Nostradamus.
You know exactly what you want to post and when you’re gonna want to post it. Maybe there’s a meme or comment you want to make that you know will be totally relevant for a future moment or event. Or it could be that you’re an influencer and you want to make sure you keep a steady stream of content coming, so you want to schedule posts for times when you know you won’t be active (or won’t have internet access).
You’ll be happy to know there are apps that are specialized for just such situations. So listen up, InstaNostradamuses…Instagrostra…Instadam…Insta…uh…you guys (we’ll workshop it. No we won’t. We’ll probably just abandon that effort completely. You’re welcome) — these are the Instagram-post-scheduling apps for you.
While all of the iPhone apps below are free to download, they all have some in-app purchases.
We’ll start with “official partner” of Instagram, itself, Planoly — an Instaplanner that uses a grid to let you plan, schedule, and publish posts (as well as Reels) on Instagram. The app also lets you see post metrics and analytics so you can make sure your post didn’t flop.
Credit: buffer / app store
Buffer is another Instagram post scheduler that helps you plan your posts and analyze feedback once they’re published. Use a calendar view to drag and drop posts into days/time slots for easy scheduling.
Credit: preview / app store
Preview offers typical post-scheduling tools and analytics along with a few helpful extras. Get caption ideas, recommendations for hashtags, and more.
Credit: content office / app store
An Instagram post scheduler with a visual boost, Content Office allows users to plan and schedule Instagram posts while learning “marketing and visual guides to grow your brand on Instagram.” Like aesthetics and using visuals to create cohesive themes? Maybe this is the Instaplanner for you.
Content Office is available for iOS on the Apple App Store.
Credit: plann / apple store
You’ll never guess what “Plann” lets you do…
Aside from scheduling posts, get content ideas and recommendations, as well as strategy tips to ensure you’re maximizing your Instagram engagement. Ever wonder when the best time to post something is? Plann can offer you some help with that.
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