Embracing the possibilities that digital offers means that charities face a huge change to their culture and way of doing things, as it both enables and requires collaboration, excellent internal communications and the ability to move quickly.
Encourage staff to be digital champions
If your charity wants to get the most out of digital you will need staff who can champion the organisation on social media. However, it’s very important that they have the support from senior management to do so. Organisations should be clear about their digital goals for the future and bear these in mind when bringing in new staff – recruit for the culture you want to have, not the one you have now.
Digital means that employees throughout the organisation can have just as much impact as the CEO on the public perception of your organisation and its work. This can be a great opportunity to give your brand a more convincing and human voice, as individual experiences from the front line tend to be very powerful but it requires an open hands-off approach and lots of trust.
A good example of an organisation involving their employees in their social media strategy is the afrikids blog, which was created as a way “to give everyone in their organisation a voice.”
Work with HR and senior management
After all, while individual social media accounts belong to individuals, not organisations, any remarks made about the brand could be in the public domain forever. Just adding an “all views my own” disclaimer to an online profile isn’t enough to stop a negative comment from an individual reflecting badly on the organisation as a whole.
HR and Senior Management need to work together with your staff to ensure that everyone has clear guidelines on how to talk about your charity, its mission and work, and crucially, what not to say. Then employees should be encouraged to make the brand their own and talk about their work in their own voice.
Empowerment is key
A good example of an organisation involving their employees in their social media strategy is the AfriKids blog, which was created as a way “to give everyone in their organisation a voice.” The blog is updated by different members of staff with a mix of human interest, opinion posts and plenty of images.
According to AfriKids’ founder Georgie Fienberg, “We use the blog’s content to drive new audiences to our website with a view to spreading the word and generating interest in what we do.” This ultimately leads to new partners and donors – the lifeblood of our organisation.
Helping your staff embrace social media themselves can ultimately lead to stronger communications and networks withyour supporters, but it’s vital that it’s managed carefully.