A collaborative organisation for the collaborative era of social media Child’s i Foundation is a small charity that works with vulnerable mothers and children in Uganda. With the aim on ending child abandonment. So far we have set up a transitional babies’ home, a prevention service to support vulnerable families and established a social work department to find every child a fmaily. As an organisation, Child’s i Foundation is reliant on its community of supporters, not just for fundraising and helping finance the projects but on volunteers lending their skills to run campaigns and contribute to the website.
I want to take you back to the beginning of the organisation and our enduring values. Helps illustrate how the internet is the perfect tool to build and support this network. The most effective method of engagement we believe is empowering our community of supporters by establishing a culture of transparency, creating meaningful dialogue and encouraging contribution by whatever means in whatever quantity.
A little bit about me. As you know I am a volunteer for Child ’s i Foundation. I am not employed by the charity and I don’t have a background in fundraising. But I have been involved in the development of this project from Day 1. I met Lucy Buck when she had returned from her last trip to Uganda before she decided that her goal of solving the endemic problem of babies being abandoned in this country could be achieved if she could only gather enough support from those around her. We were introduced by a mutual friend who thought I might be able to help Lucy find a way to build a website as cheaply as possible. I was immediately compelled by her cause and wanted to get involved. In turn I told people about Lucy ’s cause. They were all immediately struck by the terrible situation but more importantly the determination of one woman’s quest to change it. Each person I told wanted to get involved in some way. No one thought this was just about offering money. We recognised a massive opportunity for many people to join forces to make a huge difference to a generation of children.
For small amounts of time, love and money correctly targeted, we believed, and still do, and in fact have proved, that a great difference can be made. When people get involved in the way they want to, they are acting to actually create something they can see and be part of. A journey they can follow. Not just putting a cheque in the post, “into a bureaucracy”.
So, The ‘I’ in Child’s i Foundation came to be not only about “interactivity” and collaboration but about “individual contribution” Giving credit where credit is due, genuine advocacy. We knew that our objectives could only be achieved through successful engagement with our supporters. We didn ’t have a recognizable brand. When we set up our mission we didn’t even have charity status. Our only hope was to draw on the incredible range of skills, kindness, innovation, ideas and enthusiasm of others. To use our address books, our friends, our colleagues and anyone else who would listen to get this show on the road.
So to cut a long story short, we didn ’t have any money to build a website. But that didn’t really matter. We are in the age of social media (web 2.0 as it was know in 2008) and open source technologies. We used it to our advantage. We set up a blog / website on Wordpress, a Facebook group and invited all our friends, asked them to invite theirs, set up a Twitter account and started following interesting people and community influencers Set up Flickr to house our pictures, our brand assets Set up YouTube account And managed our admin via a wiki / google docs and yammer Employing all of the advantages of social media such as interactivity, collaboration and the formation of communities in the most creative way we could.
Most importantly we started documenting our journey using video. The most powerful means of telling our story to the widest audience possible.
We videoed our supporters at face-to-face meetups, asked them why they wanted to get involved, asked them for ideas, told them about our plans, asked if they thought they were good ideas. Asked them how we could raise the money we needed to launch the project. Almost every one said to us they wanted to do whatever they could to make this project work.
And when Lucy and Brian went to Uganda to structure the project and write the business plan, they posted a video every day of their progress and journey and asked for feedback. Sometimes the videos were brilliant, sometimes they said the wrong thing, sometimes they were emotional. But every single one was powerful. The openness and willingness to include everyone on this journey was evident and the groundswell of support palpable.
We believe the dialogue needs to be genuine. We are a community, everything we do revolves around our community and the connections we make through it. It is easy to beat ourselves up – we’re not tweeting enough, we’re not putting enough status updates on Facebook, we’ve set up too many groups – it doesn’t look professional. We’ve never claimed to be professionals! We’re innovators and people who try things and change them if they don’t work.
Community and interaction is not separate from donating money. Of course every charity needs money and Child’s i is no different. Online is only one way to give but it’s the big topic right now. 2010 saw 28% of our donations from online sources (including Justgiving) – the average in the sector is less than 5%. Fair enough the majority of our funds are still raised offline … corporates, trusts, wine and cheese parties, curry nights, golf days, clothes sales, donation boxes, running events, abseiling challenges etc. We know that regular donations are low but conversely we’ve always known that this charity is less about faceless giving and more about involvement. We can improve the number of regular givers but we need to make it more relevant. A challenge. We’ve always wanted people to do what they enjoy doing whilst and raising money at the same time. We historically haven’t supplied fundraising packs – it never mattered – people were happy to print their own t-shirts and make their own banners since we’re not precious about the brand. In recent times haven’t shown the encouragement and support we did in the days of Perle. At least we still always say thank you though. There is much discussion as to whether social channels facilitate engagement but do they drive donation? The larger charities are battling with this every day, setting up costly campaigns aiming to captivate their community. Well yes. I am not sure you can separate the channels that work and those that don ’t. It is all part of our core objective. By giving our supporters a way of connecting with us, with each other, sharing the successes and the failures, they reward us with not only love and time but money too.
The power of building relationships, of social media and the amazing tools the internet provides. Joey was abandoned in a public taxi park when he was just four weeks old. Before we set up our Baby Abandonment Project, Joey would doubtless have spent his life in an institution. Instead, after just six weeks with us in Malaika, Desire and George, a wonderful Ugandan couple, adopted him. After his terrible start, he was finally cherished by a loving family and had a wonderful future ahead of him. Then disaster struck. On Monday night, we found out that Joey is suffering from critical stenosis of his pulmonary artery – and it was only a matter of time before he would suffer cardiac failure. It seems he is already a true miracle baby – we discovered that since his birth, Joey ’s heart has been relying solely on the temporary structures that are necessary for babies in the womb. These should have closed up within days of his birth, but they have somehow remained open, and are currently the only things keeping him alive. We launched an appeal on Just Giving, hoping we could go some way to raising the £10,000 we needed to send Joey for life-saving care. Then another miracle happened – you raised the entire amount in 38 hours. Save Joey's Life Appeal Need: To raise £10,000 for life saving surgery for Baby Joey Launch date: Late in the evening 9th August 2010 Campaign duration: 38 hours Total budget: £0 Objective: To spread the word across all our available online platforms and social media channels, giving our supporters the choice and opportunity to help us raise the funds for life-saving surgery for one of our formerly abandoned but recently adopted babies. A JustGiving appeal page was set up. The link was shared on Twitter @childsi - 2726 followers - (and personal twitter accounts of supporters close to the campaign) On the Facebook Group - 2411members - ( www.childsifoundation.org/go/facebook ) and Facebook page - 789 fans - ( https://www.facebook.com/childsifoundation ) and subsidiary Facebook pages that have been set up for specific purposes e.g. Undress for Uganda (193 fans), Child's i Klimb (225 fans) We also emailed our newsletter mailing list via Mailchimp (1025 reciptients) - Emergency Appeal: Please help save Joey's life - http://eepurl.com/OoqP - at 8.49am on 10th August. Open rate: 37.8% (Industry average: 19.8% ), Click through rate: 14.4% (Industry average 3.4%) We continued to update Joey's progress through tweets and facebook updates throughout the appeal - we received 100's of messages of support and love for Joey and his family. George and Desire (Joey's adoptive parents) were sent an email containing all of these amazing messages of support. YouTube 3 videos were created to support the campaign 1) Help save Joey's Life - http://youtu.be/wzxwUIE7wDQ - 804 views This explained Joey's story from being a resident at Malaika babies Home, being adopted by George and Desire to three weeks later the shock of finding out that he had less than a week to live, with a direct ask to help us save his life. 2) The second provided an update on Joey's situation and a thank you from George, Desire and the Child's i Team. This was distributed by email to all those that donated on the Just Giving page, to everyone on twitter who had tweeted, RT'd or donated and on all our face book pages. Save Joey's Life - A massive THANK YOU - http://youtu.be/0izq1pN6Z3E - 1134 views 3) Finally we followed up on Joey's return home to his parents George and Desire Joey returns home - http://youtu.be/EhYnMgNUfyo - 369 views
We do however try to do things differently behind the “give” button. We feel our donors deserve a little fun, humour and creativity in return for their generosity. Our one-off donations are made on an interactive, tweeting brick wall hooked up to an ecommerce backend. Built of course by a group of kind and willing volunteers.
Again our values are upheld. Every brick is equal. Doesn ’t matter if you pay £2.50 (minimum due to admin fees) we are so grateful for your donation. The average donation is approximately £40
We also launched a baby shower using the online site “shopify”. We encourage supporters to buy gifts for occasions like Mother’s Day, Christmas etc. for their loved ones. These items are genuine items needed by our babies, mothers and centres.
Of course we like to show you where your money goes … On our blog and Flickr
This is our tagline. “ We make families, not orphans”. It has taken us a while to get back here. To get brave enough to say it. We simply believe the best place for any child is in a family. The best interest of the child therefore guides all programming decisions and actions. It sits are the heart of our core values.
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A collaborative organisation for the collaborative era of social media Child’s i Foundation is a small charity that works with vulnerable mothers and children in Uganda. With the aim on ending child abandonment. So far we have set up a transitional babies’ home, a prevention service to support vulnerable families and established a social work department to find every child a fmaily. As an organisation, Child’s i Foundation is reliant on its community of supporters, not just for fundraising and helping finance the projects but on volunteers lending their skills to run campaigns and contribute to the website. The internet is the perfect tool to build and support this network. The most effective method of engagement we believe is empowering our community of supporters by establishing a culture of transparency, creating meaningful dialogue and encouraging contribution by whatever means in whatever quantity.
soundtalks: The Power of Social Media- The story of the Child's i Foundation
soundtalks: The Power of Social Media & the Story of Child’s i Foundation
Contribution The personal contribution that each and every participant makes as they support Child’s i Foundation – whether through time, money or love – is something we recognise and value highly. Individual contribution, giving of credit where credit’s due, genuine advocacy – are all at the heart of our passion, and they determine how well we can respond to the needs of those we are seeking to serve.
Transparency We want our supporters to be part of our journey, to truly experience our successes, as well as our failures. We want them to speak up if they don’t believe in what we are doing and most importantly, we want them to know where their money is going. Crucial to the creation of a strong community is a culture of trust, honesty and transparency. We like to have conversations with our supporters, and create a credible and compelling groundswell of support for our project as we tell our story online.
We are a community Child’s i Foundation is a community organisation – this is “our” charity. Everything we do revolves around our community and the connections we make through it, and our ability to generate conversations and connect. We believe that it’s the supportive collaboration and interaction of our community with which we will make a real difference to children’s lives.
Doing things differently We’re committed to creatively striving for change in new ways, through both the work we do and the way that we do it. We do things differently, not for difference’s sake, but because we can. We’re committed to finding imaginative, invigorating solutions to the problem of child abandonment in Uganda.