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Is social media in your charity’s DNA?

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This year, we joined the call to action to create a digitally confident third sector in Scotland.

The call to action asks charities to explore, adapt, invest and collaborate to make this happen.

Fundamentally, using digital more allows you to reach and therefore help more people.

You may be thinking, ‘Things already work fine for me’ or, ‘I’m not sure what to do’.

Well... have you ever:

  • Struggled to recruit a Trustee?
  • Paid a newspaper for an advert?
  • Spent time and effort knocking on doors and going to events to get people interested in your cause?
  • Had to spend time and money responding to queries via letter?

Yes, these are things that many charities do on a regular basis, and when appropriate they should continue to do so.  But what if I told you that using the digital option of social media could make all of these things even easier?

Just using the examples above, any messages that you put out on a simple social media account could reach a potentially huge audience and, if you have the budget, you could use a targeted advertising option to make sure your messages reach people in a specific location or who have certain interests.

Your social media account can act as a newsletter, recruiter and customer service channel – whatever suits your needs.

As easy as it can be for some, I know using social media can be a daunting task for others. There are many factors for this – a lack of IT skills being the biggest one. As Scotland’s charity regulator, we would encourage you to consider having at least one digitally competent Trustee or, if that isn’t an option, work closely with other bodies in the Third Sector who offer support.

I post content on our Twitter channel, @ScotCharityReg, and the channel has been an invaluable tool in helping to meet all of our objectives. It has helped us get messages out in a more cost efficient and timely manner to our key stakeholders. Other members of OSCR staff also have access to the account and they all bring something different with their contributions.

We’re not resting on our laurels though - we have some exciting new channels and content to come in the near future (keep an eye on our ‘Hot Topics’ and sign up to our Newsletter to be kept up-to-date).

Even having worked in communications for many years, I still look closely at what other organisations do to try and make my messages as effective as they can be, and I recommend that you look at other similar social media accounts to help shape your planning.

I would encourage everyone who doesn’t already have a social media account to read the excellent guides made for our website by Third Sector Lab. The guides take you through the basics of a social media strategy. There’s advice and guidelines to protect your organisation, staff and volunteers and you’ll get an overview of why good content creation and maintenance matters.

Thanks for reading and I hope to see your charity on social media if it isn’t there already!