When I first joined No Limits in 2010 they had a Website, a fledgling YouTube Channel and used Outlook Express as an e-mail client …..and that was it. Over the last couple of years things have changed dramatically. Not only do I fundraise but I also have within my job title Promotion and Communications. The charity has also grown in size….in 09/10 it supported around 4,500 young people, had 45 volunteers, 31 paid staff and a turn over of about £825,000. This year (12/13) we have supported over 6,000 young people, have over 150 volunteers, 65 paid staff and a turn round of about £1.5 million. It has also expanded its operations from Southampton to include Hampshire, Eastleigh and Portsmouth.
Measuring the success (and that in itself is open to debate) of all forms of Marketing/Promotion/Communications is difficult and far from an exact science. It is also challenging to separate out where fundraising ends and promotion/communication/marketing starts.
I now regularly use seven different tools to ensure that prospective supporters (in all shapes and guises) and users know of No Limits and feel that they want to help or support us or use our services.
- Our website, www.nolimitshelp.org.uk, was redeveloped about twelve months ago. We are still making changes and, of course, keeping it updated. Google Analytics ( a great free service that shows you exactly who is looking at what, when and where) shows that in June 2013 we had about 2,400 visits, up 600 on the same time last year. We still have around 62% of new visitors and around 11,000 page views per year, up 2,000 on last year. The website is well used by young people looking at the details of our services. It is also a vehicle for donating (Text, Everyclick) and for finding out about volunteering opportunities.
- I developed a Blog in WordPress which can be accessed through our website along with our news page http://www.nolimitshelp.org.uk/news .This only started in started four months ago but we have already had 1,100 page views (best of 85 in one day and 15 comments). A great way of speaking in depth about your charity to supporters and potential donors/volunteers.
- Embedded in our website is CiviCRM. (Constituent Relationship Management software) This has several modules but in the last couple of months we have focussed on using it for bulk mailing, e newsletters to 400 volunteers and friends and for mail merging appeals. This particular programme needs a great deal of thought before using. It is not for the fainthearted but with perseverance it does work well. The response by volunteers and friends has been encouraging. There has only been one person unsubscribing! We can now regularly let our volunteers and friends how much we value their support and share with them successes.
- Our Facebook page is very popular. We have 240,000 friends of fans, each posting often reaching 200 to 800 unique users with an average weekly reach of 800 to 1000 unique users https://www.facebook.com/nolimitshelp This is an instant way of reaching users, friends and volunteers with success stories as well as commenting on how the political scene is impacting on our work.
- Twitter. @nolimitshelp We started tweeting about a year ago and have just reached 1,500 tweets. We have 550 followers , almost doubled in the last five months. An excellent way of interacting with other similar providers, professionals and those interested in our work.
- You Tube. We have only started to use this more effectively in the last twelve months. To date we have had 1,300 views, one clip has reached 400 views. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ug4q_iphtA This is a very easy way of showing what you are doing. A moving picture is worth several hundred words.
- I just had to mention Everyclick. Every time you use it to search you are given free money! If you encourage others to use the Give as you Live feature it is even better. To date we have raised £17,200, averaging £300 a month. For no work (apart from the occasional reminder to staff and volunteers and supporters.) See http://www.everyclick.com/nolimitssouthampton/info It is also a cheaper and alternative to other sites such as Just Giving. Supporters can make up a page for a particular event or project with ease.
We have just started to use Text giving and a Google+ account but have not had enough time to how effective these may be. I can also see some benefits in using Instagram and Pinterest…..
As a result of this work I am convinced that more people are aware of our services. This includes other providers, professionals and users. Apart from increase in use are there any other signs of increase in volunteers or an increase in income? Well there are some signs. In the last few months we have been made Charity of the Year for two branches of Sainsbury’s and a University, received unexpected gifts and donations , chosen by an individual for her challenge and are now receiving volunteer support from Barclay’s Bank. We are also managing to recruit more volunteers including some part time interns. We are distributing collection tins and are starting to place a new set of posters in a range of locations. We have a better relationship with a range of media. ….and have won a major award. All difficult to measure but compelling enough for me to encourage you to try some or all of these (and other) techniques. Let me know how you get on!
No Limits. Helping young people help themselves.