Today at BritMums Live I was sitting on a panel with some other great women, we were speaking about what it is like to work with charities and NGO's (Non-governmental organisations) as bloggers. As part of that session I shared my top tips and I thought it was only right to share them here too and that way if you could not make the conference you can still have a read.
Michelle's tips for successful blogger/ charity partnerships
Choosing which charities to work with
• Don’t be afraid to make the first move. Blog about your chosen charity and then contact them and see if they have ideas of how you can help further. Don’t just wait to be contacted, they may not even realise the power of social media.
• Remember that charity is a very personal thing, don’t be bullied by a PR or the crowd/ other bloggers to get involved with a campaign that does not float your boat.
• Have a 'no response' already written and stand your ground when you get approached by charities that do not fit your criteria. I'm happy to let them know that I have my favoured charities that I blog for and I wish them luck with their campaign. One person cannot be everywhere doing everything.
Establishing a relationship
• Treat every charity as an individual; find out their needs and requirements. What will they provide and what do they want in return? We hate approaches that treat us bloggers as all one and the same and charities are no different. Ask questions, don't assume you know what they want or what fits in with their ethics and strategy.
• When working with your chosen charity establish their aim for this campaign (or trip if appropriate). Again don't make any assumptions. Not all campaigns are about making the biggest twitter noise ever, some are purely to increase awareness, to sign up new volunteers, to gain petition signatures and so on.
• Be clear in your own mind what you will and won’t do for your chosen charity/ cause. Whatever you agree to, you want to be able to fulfil and do well whilst feeling comfortable with your choices.
• We have to face the fact that some charities or their PR agents who contact us will make rubbish pitches, offer bog-standard information and give you short deadlines. Just because they are not social media experts does not mean you should not work with them. If you support their cause and like their campaign then help them by lending them your creativity and showing them the power of social media and how they can use it.
• If you want to forge an ongoing relationship with a particular charity then try and meet face to face with a representative to learn more about them and establish the best way forward. Personal relationships are at the heart of it.
Writing a post for your chosen charity
• Inject yourself into every post. Copy and pasted information impacts far less people than when you make yourself vulnerable and share how you really feel about a campaign. Link to everyday life and make it real for your readers.
• Offer your readers accessible options of how to get involved – break it down and make it easy - if you have 1 minute, 5 minutes, 1 hour etc you can.....
• Be honest - don’t be afraid to tell the truth and say you don’t know everything there is to know about all the politics surrounding the charity. Take questions if necessary and direct them appropriately/ find the information out.
• Be ready to take some stick on behalf of your charity if you really believe in them. I receive lots of negative comments for my choice to work with Samaritans Purse, an evangelical Christian charity but I believe in what they do and thus am happy to defend my position, whilst acknowledging things might be different for you.
• Remember not every blogger/ charity relationship will result in a life-changing trip abroad and if you are offered one then think it through really carefully - yes, they are amazing but also hard work and heart-wrenching as real-life goes on.
I'll write another post in the next few weeks with my top tips about travelling abroad with a charity and all the things you need to think through and do to plan for your trip.
Thanks for reading, Mich x
|How cute are these little guys? Some children I met in the slums of Addis Abbaba, Ethiopia|
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