Charities: You Need to Tell Your Story

In honour of Mandela Day, Digitlab took to heart the philosophy of give a man a fish, and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he eats for the rest of his life. We wanted to use our knowledge and skills to empower others to take control of their own story and ability to reach the audience they needed to in a sustainable way.

In light of this thinking, we invited representatives from four charities elected by members of the Digitlab #workfamily to a workshop revolving around discovering their online voice.

The charities were:
Neema Foundation
• The Nyusa Project
RSS: Refugee Social Services
iThemba Lethu

What’s the point?

Your organisation isn’t on social media to beg for donations. Nor is it there to implore people to volunteer.
You’re there to broadcast your story. You’re there to build up your ongoing tale. You’re there to allow others who may not have ever heard about you otherwise to become as passionate about your cause as you are.

Building Ambassadorship

In our CEO Mike’s 67 minutes he concentrated on explaining how an NGO’s audience is not just there to be spoken to – they aren’t even there to be persuaded into fulfilling the organisations immediate objectives. They are all a chance to build brand ambassadors who will not only give of themselves, but who will be keeping the NGO at the back of their minds in social and business situations that could fit the organisation.

Word of mouth is the most invaluable form of marketing – especially with so many brands and organisations talking themselves up these days, and often inaccurately. People trust peers with real-life experiences and reputations on the line for their opinions.

What are the practical steps to building ambassadorship?

It’s all very well to tell you to go forth and make people passionate about your cause, but that doesn’t give you the all-important how.

1. Formulate your core story (what is your organisation about, what are your core objectives online, why was the organisation started? i.e. what made you passionate in the first place?)

2. Decide on your target market (who do you ideally want to be speaking to? Do you have a few target audiences? Envision each target audience as a person with interests, hobbies, a job, a routine etc)
3. Choose the social platforms that your target audience are on and that fit your core story (does your story translate best into visuals, text or video? Is your target audience tech-savvy and on the go, or are more likely to sit down and read a blog post? You don’t have to be on every social platform)

4. Create content that speaks to your story, not just your objectives to allow people to be drawn in on an emotional level
5. Once your audience becomes aware of your presence, encourage a relationship (when someone reaches out and interacts with your content, it can be more detrimental than anything else for it to fall on deaf ears – always answer anyone who took the time to engage)

6. Casual conversations turn into investment (the more someone comes back and can engage with your story, the more they become personally involved. The more positive experiences, the more your organisation is in their mind at the right opportunities for them to be an ambassador)

How do you tell your story?

• Define the topics your organisation can speak about

• Identify where your content will come from

• Make an content calendar so you always have an overview of what can happen at any time

• Schedule content ahead of time so you aren’t taken off guard (Use free services like Hootsuite and Facebook’s built in schedule function)

• Keep an eye on when your target audience tends to be online and adjust when your content goes out so that as many people have the chance to see it as possible

We look forward to seeing the stories unfolding of the amazing charities whom we spoke to today and wish them all of the best in spreading the passion for their causes.

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