volunteers

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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.

Making sure Christmas happened in Surrey Heath #goodnews

Making Christmas happen in Surrey Heath!

For many people this year, Christmas was a time of extreme loneliness, but Surrey Heath charities made a massive effort to tackle this.

The Rotary Club of Camberley staged a Virtual Christmas Day Drop-In for two hours for anyone by themselves fancying a chat on Christmas Day.

Camberley Besom and the Rotary Club of Camberley put together 180 and 80 Christmas hampers respectively, of which 18 were made up from donations by SHBC councillors and staff.  Normal food bank parcels were also available for the festive period. The Old Dean Community Group in partnership with St Martin’s Church supported local people in hardship with food parcels including vegetables donated by the local allotments, fresh pastries and a fresh chicken voucher.

Lightwater Connected, Windlesham Caring and Bagshot Care combined efforts to take part in the Windlesham Parish scheme to provide a Christmas meal for those living alone on Christmas Day. Through the support of local restaurants volunteers were able to deliver meals to nearby residents who were lonely or vulnerable.

Our two local befriending groups the Time-to-Talk Project from VSNS and Surrey Heath Age Concern supported their clients with a special gift in Christmas week delivered personally as well as a friendly call.

Camberley Alzheimer Café hosted a special Christmas Social on 21 Dec in addition to their monthly zoom meeting for anyone living with dementia and/or carers recognising the isolation that some people feel during the festive period.

Ingenuity, sharing resources and using connections to help their community is a good news story worth telling.

January 2021

January 2021 is Mentoring Month

Mentoring can have a significant impact on a young person’s life, prospects and outlook. In addition to better school attendance and a better chance of going on to higher education, mentored young people maintain better attitudes toward school – 46% less likely than their peers to start using illegal drugs – 27% less likely to start drinking – 81% more likely to participate regularly in sports or extracurricular activities than those who do not. Being a mentor gives a young person someone to rely on, provide emotional support, educational and career guidance and generally be a guide.

Interested? Here are a few local ideas:

Forward Trust – make a difference to the lives of ex offenders and people with drug and alcohol issues

Surrey Care Trust – work with vulnerable families who need help to cope with life’s challenges or support taking their next steps in life

PACT – Prison Advice and Care Trust volunteers support prisoners resettling back through practical and emotional support

or have a look at some of the many and varied mentor roles on our volunteer website

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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.

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Connected Communities are Making a Difference

COVID brought many communities together – Lightwater is building on the successful COVID response by creating a new community organisation. Three voluntary groups in the village have joined together to create ‘Lightwater Connected’, an umbrella organisation coordinating the activities of Lightwater Care, LIVE and the Lightwater Resilience Plan LRP.

During lockdown 300 volunteers in Lightwater handled over 1000 calls for assistance and this joined up approach to community has resulted in a new, larger organisation, which shares volunteers, funding, modern technology and ideas. Lightwater Care has restarted driving duties again, the LIVE signposting centre has reopened for business. The new service will operate 5 mornings a week, manned by 2 duty officers, and will eventually not just take bookings for drivers, shopping trips and prescription collections, but pull together all the LRP and LIVE volunteers into a village-wide befriending and communication network, taking its lead from the successful operation of LRP during the Covid emergency. It will also eventually make LIVE available 5 days a week, rather than just Saturdays.

Lightwater Connected is a volunteer network ready for any future emergency and really making a difference to their community.

07933 123256 lightwaterhelp@gmail.com  www.lightwaterconnected.org.uk

Our job is to help grow local voluntary organisations so if your North Surrey community group needs support or has a pandemic evolution story you’d like to share – we’d love to hear from you.

info@voluntarysupport.org.uk

 

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Enterprise at the Swan Sanctuary

The 6 strong team from Enterprise in Egham didn’t swan around when they spent a day volunteering at the Swan Sanctuary, Shepperton.

They brushed, sanded and painted the main barn windows and fascia in the Autumn sunshine.

Steve, the Sanctuary Manager was delighted with the results and thanked them all for their hard work. The Swan Sanctuary, Shepperton is a wildlife hospital dedicated to the treatment, care and rehabilitation of swans and wildfowl. As well as caring for the birds, they provide training for organisations who may find themselves faced with wildfowl casualties and educate groups of all ages in the work done by the Swan Sanctuary

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Is Twitter a Good Tool for Nonprofits?

Twitter has around 330 million monthly active users – that’s a huge audience for your charity so how can you make it work for you?

We are always looking for new ways to use social media to extend our reach and tell our stories. Twitter is a great platform for attracting an audience quickly, allowing you to publicise volunteer roles and direct donors and supporters to your website. It’s also great for starting conversations and establishing your expertise.

To be successful on Twitter your charity needs to be doing several things in the right way.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Content – Don’t just tweet for the sake of it. To stand out from the Twitter crowd make your posts unique to your organisation and what your audience is interested in. Ask questions to promote engagement and use images/videos that are relevant and will appeal. Make your tweets human by telling your story and the stories of your beneficiaries and volunteers.
  • Who to follow – Follow influencers in your own area such as local government, councillors and other charities (local and national) Note who they follow and the hashtags they use in their tweets.
  • Use Hashtags # to reach a targeted audience. The biggest benefit of using twitter is the ability to put hashtags # in your posts allowing you to broadcast to people interested in specific topics. If you’re not sure which hashtags to include, look at the tags in tweets of other charities or use a tool like ingramer which gives a list of relevant hashtags for keywords/images. Twitter also shows trending hashtags for particular events or awareness days. Be careful to search a hashtag in the twitter search box before using it to avoid embarrassment.
  • Get attention with Mentions @ – When you mention another Twitter account in one of your tweets they’ll get a notification and if your tweet is interesting or beneficial to them they may retweet your post or mention you back.
  • Focus on getting retweeted – 78% of engagement with your tweets will be through retweets so make your tweets ‘retweetable’ by inserting links to posts and articles on your website and to interesting content from other sources. Retweet content from partnership organisations that you respect and value to encourage them to retweet yours.
  • Use Visuals – Images are more impactful than words and also not included in the Twitter word count! Make your Twitter image the correct size 506×253 pixels and use a tool like canva to create a single image with your message. Canva allows you to export your created image in the right size to each of your social media platforms.
  • Use tools to simplify media management – We use Hootsuite to manage our social media outputs but there are others like TweetDeck or Buffer
  • Analyse your twitter performance – Twitter have a great analytics tool that shows your performance over the last 28 days. It gives top tweets, mentions, retweets, new followers and many many more statistics and graphs, but even using the most basic stats will inform your future content and improve your tweeting.

Remember that Twitter is a place to connect and have meaningful conversations. Think about what your audience wants to know, not what you want them to know. Use visuals and humour, even if your cause is serious. If you’d like help with anything social media related please contact us info@voluntarysupport.org.uk and follow us on @volsupportns

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