Voluntary Support

15 sec without words

The 15 Second Bounce

Charities must diversify their fundraising strategy, raise their digital profile, increase their supporter base and generate online donations – an out of date website and ignoring social media is not an option.

Your website should be the centre of your communications. Visitors to your site are interested in the people you help, how you help them and how they can get involved.

Please remember that donors fund people not organisations.

You have 15 seconds to capture a visitor’s attention – this is called the 15 second bounce. In those 15 seconds you must stir emotion, empathy and invite engagement.

Menu Options: You should have no more than 5 menu options with short, call to action words:

About    Get Help    Get Involved   Contact Us   Donate

Mission statement: The message on your home page must be simple and immediate ‘We’re ending homelessness and rebuilding lives’

Fundraising: It must be obvious to the donor who you are fundraising for. Donors and funders will check your site to see what you do with your money. Tell beneficiary stories and have project pages with images and totals raised. Keep pages and interest fresh by updating regularly.

Donations: Your donate button should be in the top right of your website and visible on every page. The button should be a different colour from other menu options. No more than 3 clicks to donate from anywhere on your site. Where possible offer different donation values and tell the donor what their money buys.

Tell Stories and Use Images: Site visitors want to hear about real people and their lives. They want to hear stories and quotes from volunteers and beneficiaries about how your intervention improves lives and makes a difference. If you have vulnerable beneficiaries, try copying the image creativity of larger charities to get around the problem of showing faces. Don’t bury your stories deep in the website – they should be easy to find.

Calls to Action: Every web page, email, Tweet, Facebook post should have a call to action – donate, volunteer, contact, support, sign up, share.

Mobile Friendly: Google penalises websites which don’t display well on mobiles or tablets. In 2018 25% of all online donations were made on a mobile.

What are you for? Who do you benefit? Where are they? Show faces and tell stories. You have 15 seconds before I bounce.

Self Help Guide from Amigo

Amigo’s Self Help Interactive Services Guide

During this COVID-19 pandemic our time spent in lock-down has made it easy to become overwhelmed so we’ve produced a guide which you can download here – highlighting the range of free online services that can be used to relieve your stress or anxiety and help you to cope with your mental health.

Our new Amigo project manager Leeah Jones has created this helpful guide and encourages you to actively take part in some of the online activities and have a go at downloading some of the apps.

Please contact us if you are unsure about how to access any of the services in the guide, or you are new to the online world.

The Amigo project supports people who need encouragement to move forward on their journey of recovery from mental ill health. We match our buddy volunteers with people who need help to make connections within the local community in order to boost confidence and increase motivation. If you think you would benefit from a buddy or you would like to be a volunteer buddy please read more about the project and complete our contact form.

The project covers the residents of several boroughs; Runnymede, Spelthorne, Surrey Heath, West Elmbridge and Woking.

FB live streaming

Livestreaming Charity Events

Charities are using livestreaming for fundraising events with great ingenuity and success.

Event Ideas:

Has your charity had a successful event that could be made virtual or could you try something new? ow.ly/4ywM50Ae06N 

Choose the right platform:

Facebook Live – people have and use Facebook accounts and are more likely to find your event because they are on the platform anyway http://ow.ly/eYiM50AfgoO

Twitch – known as a gaming platform it has increasingly been used for charity fundraisers an allows fundraising goals and rewards for donations http://ow.ly/paSE50AfgoM

YouTube – best and least technical option with built-in features including a virtual tip jar for donations http://ow.ly/awoT50AfgoL

Zoom and other meeting platforms – connect and communicate with clients, donors and supporters http://ow.ly/Y1KJ50AfgoK

Sell Tickets:

The most effective platforms can help with ticketing, marketing, bookings, payments and donations, giving out essential information about the event http://ow.ly/RtXr50AhzD2

Use Subtitles:

90% of people watch videos with the sound off. There are free online tools such as Clideo, Adobe Spark to add titles to your videos and YouTube also generates subtitles.

Call to Action CTA:

Tap into the energy from your event to inspire people to take action. Tell them what do you want them to do – buy tickets for another event, donate, volunteer, sign up, share on their social media?

St John’s Ambulance have a great guide on livestreaming your event http://ow.ly/rEcK50AfgoN

open for business (1)

Open for Business

Many of our local charities have a new ‘normal’ – adapting their existing services so they can be accessed virtually and creating new online services for their users.

It may look different, but they are still there to help and still able to offer support to our community.

We’ve been talking to local charities who are ‘open for business’ and finding out how they have changed and adapted. Take a look at what the Runnymede, Spelthorne and Surrey Heath groups are doing.

FB fundraising

Don’t Stop Fundraising!

Charities still need to raise money – incomes have been drastically hit but the demand for services are increasing.

  • Go digital – over the last few years I’ve encouraged you to introduce digital fundraising as part of your fundraising strategy. Now more than ever your website should reflect what your charity is doing in the community, with good news stories of business as usual or how your services have evolved because of COVID. Use all the avenues available via links from your website – donation pages, Facebook donate, Instagram donate, Amazon Smile and charity shopping fundraising sites such as EasyFundraising.  Hold virtual events using video conferencing platforms such as Zoom or Google Hangouts Meet or virtual sporting events using sports platforms such as Strava.
  • Get personal – use this time to send direct personalised messages to your existing supporters and tell them what the pandemic means for your charity in terms of your finances, delivering your services, beneficiaries, staff and volunteers. Ask your trustees to talk directly to your funders to ensure they are aware of your financial situation, they may be in a position to extend your funding or help you reapply for different streams.
  • This is an emergency – if you are in real trouble, now is the time to tell your supporters and community that you will not survive without their support. Highlight what closure will mean for your beneficiaries – now is the time for an emergency appeal. To avoid saturation and donor fatigue why not think about having a joint campaign with other local charities.

COVID is not going to be over – even after lockdown is lifted. The emotional fallout will impact on the community for years to come. Fundraising will not be the same and we will all have to learn new skills to survive.

https://www.strava.com/

https://charitydigital.org.uk/topics/topics/the-best-online-fundraising-platforms-for-charities-5324

https://fundraising.co.uk/2020/03/30/virtual-fundraising-ideas-during-the-coronavirus-lockdown/

https://www.techradar.com/uk/best/best-video-conferencing-software

 

 

heroes

Always looking on the bright side of life ….

Under Covid-19 lockdown the voluntary landscape changed dramatically almost overnight. But despite the necessary suspension of face-to-face services, community spirit has fought back – and improvised. With fantastic new Covid-19 support groups being set up in most areas to localise help with shopping and prescriptions, many of the established voluntary groups have also revamped their offer through both online and telephone contact.

Camberley Care for example was forced to cease its neighbourhood driving service as a precautionary measure for its volunteers’ wellbeing but instead has organised its team to support all regular clients by ensuring they receive friendly chats each week and are linked up to Surrey Heath Prepared, the new Covid-19 hub across the borough.

Another inspirational story is Surrey Heath Age Concern which has similarly set up a support network for its regulars with their befrienders continuing to maintain contact with their clients over the phone with friendship and practical essentials. Staff are also working in partnership with Surrey Heath Prepared to combat loneliness through telephone befriending.

The Time to Talk befriending service that normally offers visits to anyone over 18 has adopted a similar strategy moving to telephone and online calls to keep in touch. Elaine Hawes, the Time to Talk manager, says:  “I am really proud of our volunteer befrienders who have continued to support the people they usually visit with phone calls and text messages and with practical things such as collecting shopping and prescriptions. They have been such a source of support at a difficult time”.

In Lightwater the Lightwater Resilience Plan grew out of a merge between the already existing, successful LIVE group and Windlesham Parish Council. One of the group leaders Windsor Rackham said “We have pulled together over 300 volunteers to make contact with, and look after, all 2700 households in Lightwater with shopping, prescription collection, and helping to resolve all the many issues surrounding self-isolation and long periods of quarantining”.  LRP have linked to Surrey Heath Prepared for the duration of the corvid-19 pandemic in order to access their food bank facility and the security checks on new volunteers, demonstrating the power of combining voluntary resources at this difficult time.

With Covid-10 support groups being overwhelmed by offers of volunteers we can only hope that after coronavirus is past, every cloud really does have a silver lining and this revived community spirit will carry on.

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Donate to foodbanks in Runnymede, Spelthorne and Surrey Heath

Local foodbanks need your support with donation of non-perishable food or a financial donation.

Runnymede: 

Runnymede Foodbank

Food donations to any of the food bank centres or at 95, Guildford Street, Chertsey.

Make a financial donation via their Virgin Money page link on the Runnymede Foodbank website.

Spelthorne:

Community Foodbank – Sunbury and Shepperton:

Food donations to Saviours Church, 205 Vicarage Rd, Sunbury-on-Thames TW16 7TP.

Contact: community@stsaviourssunbury.org.uk

Make a financial donation to the Community Foodbank on the St Saviour’s Sunbury Community Foodbank website

Manna Foodbank

Food donation points https://www.mannafoodbank.co.uk/where_to_donate_

Contact: Jean Pinkerton on 07770 478778 or info@mannafoodbank.org.uk

Make a financial donation to (please ensure your donation is referenced ‘Foodbank’ or ‘Manna Foodbank’):

HSBC Walton on Thames,
PCC of St Mary & St Peter
sort code 40-52-40
acc number 00033500

Stanwell Foodbank 

Donations of food to the The Pavilion, Cambria Gardens, Stanwell, TW19 7ER

Contact Anna-Marie Goodacre on 07429 584286 or info@stanwellfoodbank.org.uk

The Salvation Army – Ashford

Donations to be placed by the main door at the Community Centre, Woodthorpe Road, Ashford, TW15 3HY.  Food bank opening hours 9am – 12 midday from Monday to Friday.

Contact : Cath Maughan on 01784 423424 or staines@salvationarmy.org.uk

Financial donations by cash and cheque should be sealed in an envelope and posted through the letterbox. Anyone requiring a receipt should include their name and address in the envelope.

Surrey Heath:

Besom Food Bank

Non perishable food donations to High Cross Church, Knoll Rd, Camberley GU15 3SY

Financial donations via the High Cross Church Camberley website.

COVID-19

COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Information for voluntary sector groups

The spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is a concern for all of us and VSNS takes this situation seriously. We can all do things to help reduce the risk of catching and spreading this virus.

Keep up to date with advice from:

NHS England
Department of Health and Social Care

The government site gives clear guidance on what to do (e.g. self-isolate) if you have returned from visiting any of the affected areas, whether you are experiencing symptoms or not.

What you can do:

  • Regular and thorough hand washing with hot soapy water (not touching mouth, nose or eyes with unwashed hands)
  • The agreement not to take offence when someone politely reminds us about washing our hands (it is easy to forget when we are always in a rush and our minds are elsewhere)
  • Using tissues or your elbow when sneezing or coughing – NOT coughing or sneezing into someone’s face – guidance here
  • Using antibacterial wipes on phones and keyboards – especially if you hot desk
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell
  • Ensure people you support understand the situation – particularly if they are unable to speak/read English
  • If you think you might be infected with the Coronavirus, do not risk spreading it by coming into work or by going to the GP or hospital. Ring 111 for advice

If you are providing services in the social, community care or residential care setting there is specific advice for providers of these services on the government website here.

What VSNS has done:

  • We’ve put practical measures in place to help reduce the risk of spread of the virus across our 3 offices such as, improved signage in toilets about hand-washing; paper hand towels; antibacterial hand-wash in kitchens and regular disinfecting of taps and public door handles. These practical measures will be reviewed regularly, in accordance with changes to public health guidance.
  • We have made contingency plans in case the services VSNS provide can no longer be delivered from our offices – if you haven’t already done this, it may be timely to revisit your own contingency planning for the services you provide.
  • We have put in place WhatsApp groups, video conferencing and team chat facilities so that we can stay in contact with each other. If your organisation needs help with any of these technologies we will support you wherever possible.
  • Office phones will be redirected to enable us to be contactable even if the offices are unmanned for a short time.
  • Contacting our volunteers individually and collectively to ensure that they are supported. Befrienders and buddies should be led by their clients wishes and they should not visit anyone if they are feeling unwell or have had known contact with anyone with a virus.

For more information watch the The iHASCO ‘Coronavirus Awareness’ video

Read specific online advice for COVID-19 

Sign Language information from SignHealth on COVID-19

seo-1288976_1280

SEO to increase website visitors and donors

Search Engine Optimisation helps your website perform better in search engines like Google.

SEO is important because good SEO practices improve the usability of your web site and your visitor’s user experience. You’ll get discovered by the right people more often, allowing you to grow your base of supporters and donors.

Users trust search engines – if your site is in at the top of a search for the keywords used by your visitors, they will have more trust in your site.

Many small charities face 2 problems – not enough website visitors and the ones who find you are not engaged enough to stay.

So how can you improve your SEO?

  • Regularly updated, quality, relevant content
  • Identify and use your target keywords
  • Use Google Search Console
  • Use Google Analytics
  • Ensure your site is mobile-friendly
  • Use a plugin like Yoast
  • Fix 404s

The higher your google ranking, the easier your website will be to find. You’ll attract more visitors and persuade them to donate and support you with an interesting and attractive, navigable site – easy!

https://analytics.google.com/analytics/academy/course/6

https://truenorthsocial.com/seo/how-to-choose-seo-keywords-for-your-business/

https://search.google.com/search-console/about

https://www.quicksprout.com/best-seo-plugins-for-wordpress/

https://www.classy.org/blog/7-seo-tips-nonprofit-cant-afford-ignore/

https://charitydigital.org.uk/topics/10-essential-charity-seo-tips-to-get-your-website-found3-6168

https://whitefuse.com/blog/7-steps-mastering-seo-your-charity-website

social proof fb

Use Social Proof

The Rule of Social Proof: ‘If others are doing it, it must be the right thing to do.’

92% of consumers worldwide trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of marketing. People care about what others think and you can use that to attract new donors and supporters.

Tell the stories of your beneficiaries and supporters in text and pictures. A good story will spark emotion and empathy in your reader and persuade them to answer the call to action on your donate page. Images in the online world increase engagement by 313%. Not everything can be expressed with words, but nearly everything can be explained with visuals. Pictures help us relate to content, which will increase credibility and trust in your cause.

Use numbers on your website donation page. Show the number of people who have already given or who have fundraised for you to motivate visitors to donate. Tell your readers your total so far if you have a target amount to raise, this inspires them to help you reach your goal.

If you’ve received positive mentions from credible media sources, influencers or publications, put them on your website as well as key quotes from experts. Don’t forget to include social media buttons on your website pages to demonstrate broad support for your organisation and so people can easily share your content.

The internet has made social proof a powerful way to influence social behaviours.  By building and increasing the visibility of social proof for your cause, you more clearly demonstrate the value of your organisation to prospective donors and fundraisers.

https://zapier.com/blog/power-of-empathy/

https://www.globalgiving.org/learn/listicle/photography-tips-for-fundraising/

 

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