Jennifer Rose talks to Kitty Gardner from Woman’s Trust about fundraising and social media.
Kitty Gardner (KG) is a Fundraiser at Woman’s Trust, which has been supporting women affected by domestic abuse since 1995. Jennifer Rose (JR) is the Community Manager of Lightful, the new social media and campaign management platform built specifically for charities, nonprofits and social enterprises.
JR: Hi Kitty, its great to have you with us today for our interview with UK Fundraising! Can you tell us in your own words a bit about the work you do at Woman’s Trust?
KG: Woman’s Trust is a charity which supports survivors of domestic abuse. We address the emotional and mental health effects the abuse has caused. Our aim is to improve the mental health, autonomy, and thereby capacities and safety of DA survivors in London by providing free therapeutic services.
My role at Woman’s Trust is both fundraising and social media. This means writing about our work and targeting relevant funders to explain its importance and the need for it. The other aspect of my role is about communicating information about our service and about domestic abuse through our social media channels.
JR: We often hear how charities recognise the importance of social media, but lack time, money and resources. We’ve got two questions here for you – do you find this to be the case? How Lightful has helped you with this?
KG: In order to build a following and create an impact through social media, a big time commitment is required – this means money and resources, although WT have put more woman-power into social media, it is still not the social-media and marketing operation which larger companies are able to afford. Lightful gives us the space to schedule our social media posts, create a holding space for previous posts, a media library – making our social media output well organised, in one place and also accessible to the two people who share this responsibility.
JR: You’ve been with us at Lightful since the early days, and we’re so grateful for all the feedback you’ve been able to give us along the way. How do you use the platform, and what features do you find the most useful?
KG: We find scheduling tweets and Facebook posts the feature we use most often. And, as I say, the ability for different members of the team to access media and posts used simultaneously or at any time is particularly friendly to part time staff.
For us, the ability to feedback and ask questions to the team at Lightful has been really useful as it has allowed us to talk about what is important for us, get support in features we didn’t understand and build a relationship with them.
JR: As a tech company, we are always looking ahead, and want our suite of tools to help beyond profits to do the same. How do you want to strengthen and grow your social media presence – what do you use your channels for?
KG: I think a key way to strengthen and grow our social media presence is to use our channels as an educational tool – to be able to reach men and women to discuss what healthy and unhealthy relationships look like. Young people learn through social media, we want to be a part of that learning.
Further, another key element of our social media presence is the way in which we can use it as a fundraising tool. We want to grow our social media presence to encourage donations and create relationships with potential funders who see the value in our work and want to be part of supporting it. Social media can be a really powerful tool for networking and creating a presence that lends itself to that is a goal for us.
JR: We love hearing about organisations, like yours, that are trying to make the world better. What have been some of your
biggest successes on social media?
KG: We have used social media to connect with other domestic abuse charities and create and maintain relationships with them. We are often able to communicate with survivors who comment on our tweets, feeling validated by the content we post as it debunks myths about domestic abuse and raises awareness of prevalence. We have conversations over our Twitter or oversee conversations where survivors express their frustrations or victories – and having that online space formed through our posts
is very exciting.
We used social media in our charity auction in small charities week to advertise the Adele tickets, signed Spandau Ballet DVD and bespoke dog drawing, among other things.
We have used social media to advertise our services and raise awareness of their accessibility.
JR: In your opinion, what is the role of social in relationship fundraising?
KG: It is a way to raise the profile and awareness of a) your organisation and b) the cause and c) the need for your service. It is also a way to create relationships and potentially meet new funders.
“We have used social media to connect with other domestic abuse charities and create and maintain relationships with them.”
JR: At Lightful, we are all about using social media and technology to build relationships – and working collaboratively is a big part of this. What advice would you give other charities working with vulnerable groups?
KG: It can be hard using social media when working with vulnerable people as you are less able to ‘showcase’ the work you do – there can’t be heartwarming photos up or cute images of kittens to encourage donations but using your channels to raise awareness of the issue and the service is key. Further, for us, using testimonials and infographics have given us a real opportunity to create something eye-catching and different.
JR: What’s next for Woman’s Trust – and how can people support the important work that you do?
KG: We intend to maintain and expand the services we provide. We are constantly listening to our clients and adapting our work in line with that, for example, after requests from clients, we now offer crisis counselling (immediate support available to women who require urgent support for three months) and mother/child workshops (arts-based therapeutic workshops for mothers to attend with young children to help repair their bond (often damaged by DA in the home) and provide them with an outlet to express).
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