How can small charities maximise their social strategy during the pandemic?

Charlie Jordin, digital officer at LGBTQ+ charity, akt, provides a round-up of free and effective tips for small charities looking to strengthen their engagement digitally.

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Covid-19 has massively changed the way small charities think and behave digitally. Working through the Covid-19 lockdown has been challenging and emotional for many, particularly for those in the charity sector who have had to prioritise the support and care for their service users in incredibly uncertain circumstances.

I work at akt, which is the UK’s LGBTQ+ youth charity, working with young people aged 16-25 who are facing homelessness or living in hostile environments. I began my career at akt as the communications intern in 2018, and very happily became akt’s digital officer. Everyone at akt is so dedicated and hardworking - we’re a small charity that makes a big impact, which can sometimes mean we work twice as hard. Providing young people with the happy lives they deserve is everyone’s priority, so when lockdown began, the team came together to provide young people with the best possible support online.

When the country is locked down and isolated, social media and web becomes more important than ever. During lockdown, we organised a two-day digital festival, with activists, artists, academics and charity leaders coming together to educate, uplift and entertain. We also launched a fundraising and youth engagement campaign called #aktogether, hosting online events specifically for young LGBTQ+ people like Instagram quizzes and online art classes.

I’ve put together some free and effective tips for small charities to strengthen their engagement digitally.

Trends

You can utilise the latest social media features effectively without spending a penny. Keep up to date with all the latest social media features and use them to your organisation’s advantage – for example, did you know there was a donate sticker for Instagram stories?

Website

Websites are an amazing resource for charities as they can contain so much information, but it’s vital that your website is easy to follow and the information is clear and concise, particularly when communicating with young people. How does your website look on a mobile phone? Young people in particular might access your website on a phone, particularly if they are vulnerably housed and don’t have access to a computer or laptop. Free plugins like the Mobile/RWD Tester show you what your webpages look like on different devices in a quick and simple way.

Content

In times of crisis, when creating content, I always find it useful to put myself in the position of services users – how are they feeling, what information do they need? Resources? Entertainment? How do they access information – through social media, and through what technology? Younger clientele might need simplified information and inclusive visuals can help too – below is an example of how we simplified the government guidelines and used inclusive imagery.

Your visuals should also be as consistent as possible – your audience should be able to recognise your account on their feed. This also creates a bond and a sense of trust with your audience. Our visuals are mostly created in Canva, which is an amazing tool for charities because it’s simple and easy to use, and charities and non-profits get a free pro account! If design isn’t your forte, there are lots of templates to choose from and you can add your brand elements like fonts and colour scheme. You can also create animations really simply – below is an animation I made for our new survey campaign using elements from Canva and edited on iMovie:



Take care

Covid-19 has been a challenging time for everyone, particularly those working in the charity sector, which is full of some of the most empathetic, caring and hardworking people you will ever meet. With many of us still working from home it’s easy to overwork and more difficult to switch off work mode. It’s so important that we find time to relax, and that we’re mindful that we’re not overextending ourselves. I find turning off social media notifications helps me avoid too much screen time, and removing my work emails from my phone stops me checking emails out of hours!

If you’d like to get in touch or have any questions I can be contacted at: charlie@akt.org.uk

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