Social Media in Ireland for Charities


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Nathalie McDermott is Director of On Road Media, a social enterprise that trains voluntary organisations and marginalised groups to use social media well.

She gave this presentation to 30 Irish charities in Dublin on 11th May at Filmbase in Temple Bar for The Wheel (Ireland's umbrella organisation for the voluntary sector.)

Find out more at or

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Social Media in Ireland for Charities

  1. 1. Setting the scene for charities:<br />Social Media in Ireland & how to get involved with social networking<br />By Nathalie McDermott (On Road Media)<br />
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  3. 3. 96% of internet users in Ireland use<br />A few stats...<br />Is the world’s 2nd largest search engine<br />YouTube has over 130,000 Irish users per day<br />Almost half of Irish YouTube users are between 25-44<br />
  4. 4. More Stats...<br />has 400 million users worldwide<br />& 1.58 million of them are in Ireland<br />There are around 191,000 Irish profiles on <br />150,000 Irish people on <br />
  5. 5. Static sites were web 1.0<br />Blogs, wikis, podcasts, social networks...<br />...any site where ordinary people create content, network and socialise...<br />= web 2.0<br />
  6. 6. Blogs<br />
  7. 7. Twitter<br />
  8. 8. PHOTOS<br />PHOTOS<br />
  9. 9. PODCASTS & VIDEO BLOGS<br />
  10. 10. SOCIAL NETWORKS<br />
  11. 11. Source: Beth Kanter<br />
  12. 12. Source: Beth Kanter<br />
  13. 13. Find out more by<br />
  14. 14. The web has changed how we communicate<br />It’s gone from this<br />To this<br />
  15. 15. What’s so different about web 2.0?<br />It is fundamentally different from previous forms of media<br />Social media platforms provide a framework for people to connect directly to each other – the architecture has permanently changed, though technologies will continue to evolve<br />People are using social media to glean information from each other without relying on organisations<br />This shift is permanent! Get involved or lose out!<br />
  16. 16. This doesn’t mean we replace offline activity!<br />
  17. 17. The best users of social media blend online and offline activity in marketing<br />Example: If you’re running an awareness or fundraising event for your organisation<br />Create a network or start a group around the event<br />Write blog posts in the run up to the event<br />Invite people to post their own photos onto your site, ask them to post their feedback etc<br />Those who took part will feel like part of a team<br />Those who couldn’t be there will feel like they haven’t missed out<br />
  18. 18. Social Networking<br />Nothing replaces face-to-face contact<br />
  19. 19. But...<br />Social Networking can facilitate conversations between much larger groups of people<br />
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  22. 22. What is Facebook?<br />Facebook is a “social networking platform”<br />People “live” online there<br />It’s not just for kids (half of you are there!)<br />The average Facebook user views 45 pages during a session<br />There are different kinds of FB pages: personal, groups, companies or organisations like yours<br />
  23. 23. Starting with Facebook<br />Sign up for a personal account<br />Find your friends, look at what they are doing <br />Join some groups<br />Search with keywords relating to your organisation’s mission<br />Start contributing and creating<br />
  24. 24. To really make social networking WORK, organisations MUST:<br />Let go<br />Facilitate conversations, don’t control them<br />Involve people, don’t ‘own’ your cause<br />Allow people to get involved: Volunteer or employee on social network does not equal messer!<br />Try things and be patient<br />Aggregate content for your audience<br />
  25. 25. Be realistic<br />Social networking isn’t a miracle cure<br />It may take a while for your social networking investment to pay off<br />It might even never pay off in the way you originally intended<br />
  26. 26. Social Networking is just one communication tool<br />Don’t over-invest in social networks<br />Who are your audiences(current and future)? Court them appropriately<br />If you turn your back on conventional media (notice boards, newsletters, local press etc.), you might leave out your core audience / supporters<br />But don’t under-invest in social networks either<br />
  27. 27. Learn to relax a little<br />Of course not all information on social networks is exactly right but the bulk of it is generally right (see wikipedia)<br />SO...<br />Or at least be a little ‘zen’ about it <br />
  28. 28. “But what if we’re attacked?!?”<br />People are (hopefully!) talking about you whether you like it or not<br />Better they have these discussions where you can see them and respond<br />Not all comments will be favourable<br />How you react to the negative ones says a lot about you<br />Pick your battles and don’t be afraid to say sorry or admit when you’re wrong<br />
  29. 29. Power and Control<br />You won’t always be able to control things or place yourself at the centre of discussions.<br />You will have to give up some control to gain more friends, followers and influence. This is a good thing.<br />
  30. 30. Savvy Chavvy & the power of bespoke social networks<br />
  31. 31. Savvy Chavvy<br />A social network for young Gypsies and Travellers in the UK<br />3500 members<br />Won the first Catalyst Communities award in July 2008<br />‘Chavvy’ is a Romany word for ‘child’<br />
  32. 32. Savvy Chavvy<br />Young Travellers use the network as a safe place to learn, have discussions, find family members, make friends and arrange events<br />
  33. 33. Rosina Hughes is 17 from Wareham, Dorset. She says:<br />"It's great to have a site where you feel comfortable and safe discussing these things”<br />"They have Gypsy hate groups, so it's important that we have our own space."<br />“You're all dirty” and “you're all scum”, are some of the racist responses she says she has received on other social networking sites.<br />
  34. 34. You can set up your own network for your community or organisation by using free networks like:<br /><br /><br /><br /><br />We set Savvy Chavvy up using Ning<br />
  35. 35. Some examples of other bespoke social networks<br /><br />Hundreds of people in the UK with mental health problems use the network to share information with professionals and other service users in Uganda<br /><br />2500 residents of this town in London use it to share information, launch campaigns and build community spirit <br /><br />Over 6000 people with diabetes use the network to support each other and share information<br />
  36. 36. TOP TEN TIPSto start your own social network<br /> Firstly, you need to consider the purpose of your network – who will be your members and why will they use this website above others? What need does your network address? <br />
  37. 37. Set Up<br />Go to a platform like Ning, SocialGo or and set up your network, choosing a catchy name and web address. It’s very simple; all you need is an email address and it takes a couple of minutes <br />
  38. 38. Privacy<br /> Choose how public or private it is going to be – can everyone on the web see and contribute to your network or will it be closed and private for your members only? <br />
  39. 39. Tagline<br /> Give your network a tagline and short description - what’s it all about? The tagline should consist of one pithy sentence, E.g. ‘A social network for young Gypsies and Travellers in the UK’ <br />
  40. 40. Features<br />Next, add features to your network. You can drag and drop functions like ‘forum’, ‘chat’, ‘blog’, ‘video’ & ‘photos’ into the front page. <br />You might, for example, place the ‘forum’ function prominently in the middle of the page if having discussions is the main purpose of your network <br />
  41. 41. Design<br />Choose a design – Bespoke social networking platforms will give you lots of templates to choose from and you can customize one with your own choice of images, logos, fonts and colours<br />
  42. 42. Content<br />Your network is now ready for content – help to define the network’s identity by starting discussions, posting photos, adding videos etc that are relevant to the purpose of the website<br />Behaviour – YOU set the tone of your network. You set the house rules define how you want people to behave in your space<br />
  43. 43. People<br />Invite people to the network – start by inviting relevant people and welcoming them by writing a note on their pages. <br />If you’re trying to attract a certain community don’t send out blanket invites to attract a volume of members – the quality and relevance of your members is what will help it grow and develop into a sustainable space. <br />You can support this by writing your own relevant joining up questions <br />
  44. 44. Engage<br />Keep the community active and interested – once you have a working network, keep your members engaged by making small changes to the site, adding new content and sending them relevant information (without spamming them with constant messages!) <br />MODERATION: Make sure your network is looked after, little and often works best.<br />
  45. 45. Extras<br />A lot of services are free but platforms like Ning are now starting to charge a compulsorymonthly fee. You can also pay extra for optional services like the removal of ads, the ability to use your own domain name and extra storage <br />
  46. 46. Find out more by<br />
  47. 47. Contact<br />