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Why Charities Need to Learn the Art of Digital Storytelling

By | Charities, Digital, Marketing | No Comments

We all love stories.  It has been ingrained in us as humans from the time of our ancestors, where the elders used to tell their tales to explain and influence and impart knowledge.  Stories are a reminder to us that we are connected, that we share common things and common experiences.  Stories make our lives richer and they make us connect with others on a deeper level that compels a change in thought or a move to act. It is because of these that it would be a compelling argument that Charities utilize storytelling in their marketing efforts.

With so many charities around, and even more coming up every day, being able to stand out and reach your audience and compel them to act is a big feat–especially for small charities that do not have the funding for big marketing campaigns.  It is here that storytelling as a marketing tool will be a help in engaging with their target audience and create opportunities for action.  Digital storytelling is also a great tool to utilize because just about everyone can do it, uniquely and in their own way.  As humans, we love stories—we love to tell it and we love to hear about them.  Charities would be wise to utilise this in trying to further their programs and advocacies.

Here are some of the reasons why Charities need to learn the art of digital storytelling:

Digital storytelling makes your charity more relatable

Charities can sometimes come across as stiff and all business, especially if your charity is for rare or uncommon medical conditions or lesser talked about issues.  Having a strong digital storytelling marketing campaign can help in making a shift from the condition itself to the stories of the people living with and suffering because of it.  It makes your charity and what you are striving for something audiences can relate to.

Digital storytelling puts a face for your charity.  It makes the goals of your charity more real and relatability is very important to reach your audiences and make your charity efforts more effective.

Digital storytelling communicates how your charity impacts your advocacies

Digital storytelling is your opportunity to show your audiences how their help and their donations impact your charity’s beneficiaries.  It is a chance to let your audiences have a peek at what you are doing and how your charity affects change.

More and more stories of this kind can boost your charity’s moral.  They are “feel good” messages that confirm to your audience that their actions and their support has an effect. It can really make a change and encourage your audiences that being both active and supportive of your charity by volunteering or by donating is worthwhile.

Digital Storytelling compels audiences to act

As mentioned in the beginning, we all love stories.  It is interesting to know about how a charity is really making efforts and touching others’ lives with the programs and the actions it undertakes.  It is in these stories, and the emotions they bring up, that charities can use to compel audiences to act and to share.

Digital Storytelling is a very powerful tool that charities can utilise in marketing their programs and strengthening their advocacies. With so many tools to further enrich the storytelling experience–may it be by the use of pictures, videos or even data and facts; as well as 1st hand stories from those touched by charities themselves, it is a very good idea for charities to use this in their marketing campaigns.  It not only is a way to share the goals and programs of the charity, but it is also a way to reach more and more people because interest is raised.

We all love stories.  They are raw and they are candid, and they are real. It is important that charities know how important and powerful a tool digital storytelling is and find ways to use it to their advantage.

 

-This article was written by Abby Villarica from Green Box

Why it’s important for charities to have an online presence

By | Charities, Digital | No Comments

Many charities have started making their online presence high priority. Creating an online home and go-to has proven to help in making the charity more visible and accessible to the public. For many charities though, there has been some difficulty in transitioning to a more digital presence. Many have had difficulties adjusting and going with the flow of technological advancement. To be honest, change is difficult –maybe more so for organisations that have long done their processes a certain way and are now faced with the reality that they must slowly adjust and put importance to a website and presence online. It is a necessary move though since the advantages are too many to just put aside.

So, why is it important for charities to trudge on and create an online presence? Let me give you a few reasons why:

 

Being online much improves the possibility for audience reach

If for anything else, improving a charity’s audience reach is reason enough to focus on getting a great website and strengthening its online presence. Being a charity, having a bigger audience available to it and in support of its advocacies and goals is a great advantage. A great website that is designed well can help with that. A bigger audience reach also makes it possible for charities to host and hold bigger events for their cause. Overall, a bigger audience reach can help a charity succeed even more.

 

An online presence makes it possible to reach the right audience

Very much related to an increased audience reach, more specifically, having an online presence and website makes reaching the right audiences easier and more attainable. Having a wide net is great and it gets the attention of a lot of people, but making sure that the right people pay attention is even more important. Charities that have their websites made well and strong online presence set up have a bigger probability of getting the right attention from people that can help and support the charity and its cause. It can also reach the right people who need their help the most. It very well done website also allows people that have, in the past, problems with getting the help and support they need a chance to be seen and heard and noticed. An example of this is how those that may have challenges for travel or mobility can be allowed to reach out and receive the services they need. 

 

An online presence gives an opportunity to create and build relationships

It makes sense –bigger reach means a bigger audience, and a bigger audience means a bigger chance to touch base with the right people for the charity. Connecting with the right people, more importantly, gives the opportunity for charities to create and build relationships with them and 1) be more available and attuned to their needs, and 2) learn more about how to improve what services the charity provides. The other side of this is that it allows, too, for charities to connect and build relationships with more people that are willing to help.

Having a custom, well-designed website also adds a more personable and approachable “face” for the charity. Creating a relationship with its audience allows it to be perceived as less daunting and stiff as it would be if the charity were viewed as just an organisation. This has been shown to have a positive effect on the people interacting with the charity and is an advantage in itself.

 

Marketing and fundraising becomes easier and it becomes easier for people to give

One very important reason for a charity to have a great website and an online presence is that it opens doors and channels for marketing and fundraising. Presently, there are many available services that charities can utilise to help them in raising funds, or a page or a part of the website can be dedicated to helping people better understand its cause and make them more open to share and donate. Merely having the means to donate present on the website of a charity does wonders in helping raise funds for projects and advocacies. Utilising other channels such as social media creates even more possibilities for charities to be known and to raise funds.

Having an online presence for charities should very well be at the very top of their priority list. The advantages are many and it would be good not only for the charity but also for the cause that they serve. There may be challenges to making this possible and finding a great partner to work with for custom websites is a must. Having an online presence now is a need for charities. It is a need that must be addressed for charities to better succeed.

 

-This article was written by Abby Villarica from Green Box

Mental Health Awareness for Freelancers

By | Freelance, Freelancing | 2 Comments

Working in an office day in and day out can be grating.  The daily commute to and from work, the dragging on of the hours for the office day to end, the office politics to deal with; and a million other things — all these can lead to a lot of frustration and stress! Wouldn’t this motivate you to just leave it all behind and venture off as a freelancer? After all, all the office stress and what comes with it shouldn’t be good for one’s mental wellbeing, right?

It is this scenario that oftentimes motivates people to get into freelancing.  The thought of being your own boss and being able to be in control of your own time –your own schedules, may be very appealing for those stuck in a rut at work. Yes, freelancing may have its advantages, but many are unaware too that it comes with its own stresses and frustrations that can affect your mental health.

Let’s look at the positives and the negatives of freelancing, and how more often than not, each is a double-edged blade that can work both ways when it comes to your mental health and well-being.

You have control over your time

This is great because ideally, you can control how much work you will take on.  You can work at your own pace and choose the type of work that would be most fulfilling to you.  

On the other hand, most freelancers are quick to admit that though they do have control over their own time, they work more hours as freelancers than they ever did with their regular 9 to 5 job. The pressure is greater to have more gigs and jobs since many office benefits are nonexistent when you get into freelancing. Yes, you have the control, but you really feel the pressure to become successful. 

Financial control

Freelancing can be very lucrative and be a great source of income. Many make a fine living as freelancers and believe they made the right decision in leaving the corporate jungle behind.  It is also a benefit to your mental wellbeing that you can demand what you feel is your worth and be compensated accordingly.

To be honest, though, most freelancers have a more difficult time financially. There is more to think about, too, in terms of getting leads and clients. The downside of this all is that there is greater pressure to meet financial goals since each project solely contributes to living expenses. There are no office benefits or bonuses that you can count on. 

Some deal with this by contracting full-time with just one client, akin to being employed yet being based at home. Benefits may be limited though and there is always a lack of job and financial security. Yes, the potential for making more is higher, but there is pressure to work more and do more. This is something that is always present and puts a toll on the mental well-being of freelancers, too.

A Question of Balance

Freelancing allows you to take control of your schedules and be your own boss in terms of the things you would like to do.  For many, this conjures thoughts of being able to work by the beach somewhere or have the picture-perfect moment where freelancer parents work while being able to be hands-on in the home and kids. A perfect positive for your mental health, right?

The reality though is this is not always the case. More often then not, freelancers have a tough time balancing work and home and family; and oftentimes work even more and have less time to spend time with their kids and spouses. Also, though there is that thought where you are your own boss, the reality is that working with the demands of multiple clients can be highly stressful and lead to long work hours and less time with family and friends. This can lead to a lot of feelings of guilt and frustration that is definitely not good for one’s mental health.

Blows on Self-esteem

It can be such a boost to your self-esteem if you are able to be a successful freelancer.  You are paid what you feel is due you and you are able to choose the projects you want to do.  Being in control of your own schedule and finding fulfilment in the work that you are doing are great too for your mental wellbeing — a definite positive in any book.

But being a freelancer takes a lot of work and can lead to a lot of stresses and blows to your self-esteem as well. Though some freelancers become very successful in their businesses and gain a lot financially, most do work much harder and have much more to think about in terms of overhead costs.  The pressures of having no job security whatsoever, too, can really be a source of pressure and stress–not to mention having to deal with so many different clients and rejections along the way. Things like these can really take their toll on mental health.      

Isolation  

Freelancing gives you the freedom to do things that many people with office jobs can’t do. You can up and choose where you want to work — like say your neighbourhood cafe, even bring your work with you as you plan for that vacation you have always wanted.  The downside to this though is that it can get very lonely, working alone and having less interaction, unlike in an office setting. You really need to adjust and make time to go out and see your friends. Being in a completely different work environment does not help either — your world, your lifestyle and your schedules are so different from most that have office jobs that it is hard to relate and reconnect with friends. Just another thing that can negatively impact your mental health.

Being a freelancer really does have its perks and disadvantages just like any other type of job — may it be office-based or otherwise. It does not spare you from stresses and frustrations, it just gives you different ones.  What is important is to be aware and acknowledge these pressures and stresses and find ways to deal with them from the very start. Maintaining good mental health is important, maybe even more so as a freelancer because everything is really dependent on you.

The lesson here is simple — be aware be proactive in dealing with your mental health wellbeing. Find ways to set limits, create balance and manage yourself and your time well.  Taking note of how you feel and how you are emotionally will be a definite plus.

 

-This article was written by Abby Villarica from Green Box