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Life after Virgin Money Giving

Virgin Money has announced the closure of Virgin Money Giving, taking effect on 30 November 2021. The closure is unwelcome news for many of us in the UK charity sector and it raises important questions about the viability of donation platforms in the face of competition from other payment methods.

The good news for charities is that there are now lots of ways to collect donations:

But, for those of you who would like to continue using fundraising platforms because of the features and support they offer, here are your options from Charity Digital: https://charitydigital.org.uk/topics/topics/the-best-online-fundraising-platforms-for-charities-5324 

and an interesting podcast on the subject that’s worth a listen https://charitydigital.org.uk/podcasts/podcast-virgin-money-giving-and-the-future-of-fundraising-platforms

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Why do I need a charity newsletter?

Nonprofit newsletters get some of the best average open rates in email marketing (26%). Newsletters provide important opportunities to showcase the work you do, make appeals for donations and other support and raise awareness of the problems your charity tackles. Use your newsletter to connect with donors and volunteers, encouraging them to take action.

Email drives more charitable donations than any other online channel. 42% of donors prefer to hear from causes they support by email, 20% of donors said that emails made them more likely to donate again and 69% of subscribers said they were more likely to donate after receiving an appeal for a specific need.

Everyone gets more emails than they can ever read. A typical email receives no more than 15 seconds of attention – so make yours stand out. Use images, a good subject line and engaging opening paragraph. If a reader is not interested at the opening of your newsletter, they won’t read what comes later.

What else should you do?

  • ensure that your newsletter can be read on a mobile device.
  • personalise (use recipient names)
  • all non-profit newsletters should include a call to action – usually a request for donations, volunteers or an ask to social share
  • keep text to a minimum and focus on 1-5 stories or calls-to-action
  • have your donate button and social media icons at the top of the newsletter
  • enable social sharing
  • use images and video screenshots linking to your website or YouTube
  • send on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday – avoid Mondays and Fridays

Finally, remember you cannot email anyone without their permission, but you can build your email list by:

  • have a subscribe button on your website
  • promote through conversations with supporters
  • run a specific list building social media campaign
  • offer donors the option to subscribe in thank you messages

Subscribe to our e-news here!

More reading:

https://getanewsletter.com/en/blog/newsletter-introduction-examples-how-to-write-catchy-intros-for-your-newsletters/

http://www.thestorytellingnonprofit.com/blog/5-non-profit-newsletters-to-learn-from/

https://knowhow.ncvo.org.uk/campaigns/communications/e-newsletters

https://charitydigital.org.uk/topics/topics/everything-you-need-to-know-about-email-marketing-software-8734?

charity website

What does a good charity website look like?

The best charity websites are kind to users – not overloading them with choices or too much text, and instead making calls to action obvious and ensuring that users can easily find further information as needed. Here are our top tips to improve your site:

  • Give your website visitors what they want! Make your home page menu clear with no more than 6 options. Users need to be able to find what they need quickly so make your messages clear and concise to avoid overwhelming users with too much information. Guide Dogs is a great example of a clear, user friendly website with https://www.guidedogs.org.uk/
  • Be clear what your charity does, how website visitors can support you and what support means to the lives of your beneficiaries. Charity Water does this really well https://www.charitywater.org/uk
  • Use images for instant impact – donors respond to campaigns that feature a single, identifiable beneficiary. Care International UK has faces of beneficiaries on every page https://www.careinternational.org.uk/fighting-poverty
  • Make sure your website is device appropriate. You must consider how it’s being viewed on smart phones, iPads and tablets. Comic Relief looks good on all devices https://www.comicrelief.com/rednoseday
  • Payment or sign-up processes should be as simple as possible. Not too many steps to complete and don’t ask for unnecessary information in long winded forms.

More reading:

What Makes a Good Charity Website?

https://www.theukdomain.uk/what-makes-a-great-charity-website/

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Gaming for Good

Gaming and livestreaming were already big before the pandemic struck but participation has really taken off.  This is good news for charities because it gives us a new avenue for fundraising that appeals the generous Generation Z.

The idea may seem strange but gaming fundraisers are popular and effective https://fundraising.co.uk/2021/02/03/6-successful-gaming-for-good-livestreaming-campaigns/

How does it work?

Gamers share game playing with their friends and other gamers, who tune in to watch the game in action. This is called streaming and there are there are several platforms dedicated to gaming, the most popular is called Twitch, which was built specifically for streaming games. The gamer adds a donate buttons to their stream – like a donate button on a charity website which links to the gamer’s fundraising page on a donation platform like JustGiving.

By hosting a donate button on screen, gamers engage their audience into making donations in return for gaming activity. A gamer could host a 24-hour gaming marathon or they could host a tournament with other gamers.

If you want your charity to run or help run a gaming fundraiser, try reaching out to local gaming communities or looking for gaming events that have occurred in your area. Maybe someone on your  charity team (volunteer/supporter/member of staff) has a passion for video games, and they can help organise hosting or participating in a gaming fundraiser. Look for gamers who might be interested in your cause https://charitydigital.org.uk/topics/topics/gaming-for-good-how-to-find-gamers-9003

More Reading:

Top tips for successful livestreaming and gaming for good

Just Giving Gaming

How to Get Started with Gaming Fundraising

Fundraising on Twitch

 

Impact Measurement Tools

Measuring Impact

You know that you are doing good things and your beneficiaries agree with you – but the only way to prove it is to set targets and collect data.

To inform your supporters, partners and funders you must measure what kind of difference you are making. Measuring your impact is essential and ensures you are achieving what you set out to achieve.

If you’re new to impact measurement then go to the Inspiring Impact website and read about the impact assessment process and best practice. The Small Charities Coalition have put together a list some free and low cost impact measurement tools for when you’re ready to get started:

impactasuarus.org

stateoflife.org

goodfinance.org

socialvalue.org/social-value-tools

outcomesstar.org.uk

measurewellbeing.org

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Time to Change

An exciting new project launching across Surrey encouraging and supporting voluntary organisations to recruit and manage young volunteers aged 19 – 25 years old.

Laura Butler has been appointed as the Young Volunteer Development Manager on behalf of all volunteer centres across Surrey. As Project Manager of Time to Change, she will encourage and support voluntary organisations to recruit young volunteers, aged 19 – 25 years old.

Time to Change aims to increase the number of young volunteers (19 – 25 year olds) in Surrey by 10% over 1 year. Initially the project will work with local voluntary organisations to help them to connect more effectively with potential young volunteers. Young people will be pivotal to defining and implementing plans.

Young adults already add tremendous benefits to some local organisations, but many organisations do not articulate and deliver an attractive offer. Young people have an abundance of energy and varied skills to bring to voluntary organisations.

Time to Change working collaboratively with the Council of Voluntary Services county wide will encourage voluntary organisations to utilise young volunteers and their skills. The project will provide training and support organisations to create, develop and promote attractive roles. Central to the direction of the project will be a Time to Change focus group capturing insight directly from young people.

Register your interest in ‘Recruiting & Managing Young Volunteers (19-25’s)’ Training here: https://forms.office.com/r/ktfMSPD0Hk

To find out more about Time to Change, please contact:

Laura Butler
Young Volunteer Development Manager

laura@voluntarysupport.org.uk

07485 349309

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Arthur Birkby Retires as Chairperson of VSNS

Voluntary Support North Surrey announces that Arthur Birkby MBE, Chair, has resigned from VSNS board of trustees as chairperson.
Since 1996, Arthur has led and provided valuable insight and assistance to the organisation. Arthur has served as Chair since the launch of Voluntary Support North Surrey (formerly RAVS). He was responsible for the inception of the organisation and after 15 years’ service he was awarded an MBE in the 2010 New Year’s Honours list for services to Runnymede.
His accomplishments included the successful merger of RAVS and Voluntary Services Surrey Heath and the establishment of Community funds for Runnymede and Surrey Heath. These community funds are a legacy and small grants for charities and voluntary groups will be available in perpetuity.
VSNS’s CEO, Solette Sheppardson, said, “We thank Arthur for his service to Voluntary Support North Surrey as chairperson and we are delighted that Arthur will remain on the board as a trustee. We have grown from a small charity to an established independent charity, improving the lives of many individuals locally. Serving the local community has been central to Arthur’s commitment and motivation throughout his leadership”
Arthur said ‘I have been the chair at VSNS for a long time and I have decided it is the right time to stand down as chairman but remain a trustee. It is healthy for the organisation going forward to elect a new chair to bring fresh energy and insight in delivering our mission together with all of our statutory partners’.
The mission of Voluntary Support North Surrey is to build the capacity of the local voluntary sector by supporting charities and voluntary groups with governance, fundraising, training, volunteering and much more.
We are delighted that Helen Frary has been elected as Chair and feel confident that her skills and experiences with the United Nations will further enrich and develop Voluntary Support North Surrey as she leads our competent and committed board of trustees.
Text to give

Text to Give – Donations by Phone

When did you last pick up your mobile phone?

When did you last use your phone to pay for something?

84% of the UK now own a smartphone – putting the internet in their pocket. On average people spend 2 hours and 34 minutes online on their smartphones every day. People can browse the internet, shop, view social media and download apps that allow them to do endless tasks.

It’s not new, but the text-to-give process might be the answer for those charities looking for a safe, hygienic giving method that follows social distancing rules. It’s a good option for donors too because it’s quick, they use their own phones and they don’t need to enter credit card information. Charities set up custom keywords preset to a specific donation amount and accept donations in a few quick steps.

£50 million was given in text donations in 2019, making it a serious fundraising contender as more and more people become comfortable using their phones to make payments.

To get started you need a text to donate service provider – have a look at the t&cs of DonrDonate or instaGiv for more information.

https://merchantmachine.co.uk/digital-wallet/

https://charitydigital.org.uk/topics/topics/the-best-uk-charity-text-donation-services-5632

https://www.whitefuse.com/blog/text-to-donate-giving

https://snowballfundraising.com/text-to-give-guide/#basics

https://www.nptechforgood.com/2021/08/01/how-to-effectively-share-text-to-donate-campaigns-on-social-media/

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Social media – make it easy!

You want to inspire and motivate your audience to get involved with your charity by posting great social media with valuable content. You need engagement, retweets, likes, shares, followers, and all the other good things that comes with a successful social media profile. So the question is, what kind of social media content gets that kind of love and gives you the most value?

Who is your audience?

This is a group of people that you’ve identified that you want to appeal to and who are most likely to be interested in your charity. Your audience can be based on location, age, employment or behavior. Look at other similar charities to yours. What content are they publishing? What kind of voice are they using? Who are they appealing to? What’s their call to action?

What is your goal for the social media post/campaign?

Your social media posts should have a purpose – this is a call to action CTA. Do you need donations? Sign up to an email list?  Volunteers? Publicising an event? Your call to action should encourage readers to engage with you further. Be clear what you want your audience to do.

What should you write?

We write about our successes, our beneficiaries, our volunteers, our community and we share local and national social media from partners and charities. Cause awareness and giving days can also be powerful themes for fundraising and social media awareness campaigns. Get ideas from 2021 Cause Awareness Days Days of the Year  Wikipedia’s List of Commemorative Months and download the handy calendar template from Hootsuite for your office wall.

When should you post?

Different audiences on different platforms read posts and view videos at different times of the day. For example, commuters consume social media on their journey to work. Homeworkers may read posts in the middle of the day. Twitter audiences are consuming in the early morning and engagement drops off later in the day. Use the Sprout Socials guide to experiment with posting at different times on different platforms.

How do you make it visually attractive?

Including images is one of the fastest and easiest ways to increase engagement. Our brain can interpret images much quicker than text making your post much more effective. Top tip – make your images the correct size for the platform! We use a free version of an easy to use graphic design platform called Canva and Hootsuite have a guide to getting the sizes right. Remember to use images that belong to you or those from a royalty free site – we use pixabay or unsplash

Finally … make it easy

Posting diverse, interesting content at the right time on the right platform is made much easier by using a scheduling tool. We use Hootsuite. It allows us to plan our content in advance and schedule appropriately across 3 platforms for free. Read about Hootsuite and other scheduling options here.

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Local Business Generosity in North Surrey this Christmas

Confronted with a global pandemic many local corporates have been responsive, engaged and extremely generous looking into ways to keep their CSR going and making sure they are still engaged and helping the local community.

Local businesses including Enterprise Rent a Car in Egham, ADP Chertsey, Compass Chertsey. Alcon Camberley, Enterprise Aldershot, Spirit Energy, Visa and CHEP Addlestone have donated over 900 Christmas gifts to charities in Surrey Heath, Runnymede and Spelthorne.

Besides the gifts several local corporates have donated over £12,000 to local charities across the boroughs.  Recipients include the Runnymede Foodbank who received £2,500 for Tesco Vouchers and Just a Helping Hand who received £1,450 to help the homeless in Runnymede. Alcon Eye Care Specialists in Camberley bought and filled over 100 rucksacks for The Hope Hub and Spirit Energy in Spelthorne have bought and filled arts and craft bags for children in Foster Care in Surrey.

With many elderly and vulnerable residents being isolated and unable to leave their homes corporates have organised zoom events to write Christmas Cards which will be delivered through the Salvation Army, Age UK Surrey and Purple Angels to lonely individuals in our community.

We want to say a big thank you to all our local businesses who are working hard to ensure that their collective effort can support those most in need this Christmas.

 

 

 

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