Course Code: AV1_EN
Audiovisual and multimedia tools for volunteering - Basic level
The basic level course provides information and instructions on how to use some operational tools for multimedia communication within the non-profit sector. In particular, the basic level course offers useful suggestions concerning:
1)Video-making, especially focusing on the planning phase (while for shooting techniques, editing and post-production, see the intermediate and advanced levels of this course);
2) The effective use of online communication tools that have become essential for volunteering organisations, such as newsletters and mailing lists;
3) The proper use of the social networking systems that best suits voluntary organisations’ needs.
Author/Source: CSV, Roberto Stanchi, Eva Duskova, Ivana Petrovski, Francesca Di Toro, Ilaria Giangiordano, Alessandro Fusillo, Zoltan Bujdoso, Marlena Siwek, Arantxa Toriza Perez
Tags: VIDEO-MAKING, E-COMMUNICATION, INTERNET TOOLS
Starting: 20/07/2015 Ending: 20/07/2017
Module 1: Video-making
The main idea and the screenplay
Let´s start from the idea. The idea is the main topic that the film maker wants to develop. It´s not easy to find a good idea! You can borrow some interesting ideas from a movie you have watched, a book you have read, the Internet or you can simply let your imagination lead you. Once the main idea has been written down, you can start to think about the subject. The subject is a clear and rather synthetic exposition of the story. Starting from the subject, you can then develop the process, that is a wider exposition providing places description, characters’ psychological profile and some indications concerning the dialogue. The writing of a screenplay usually follows 5 steps, namely:
This mechanism, that will lead you to the final screenplay, is known as “shooting script”. In summary, write down all the ideas that come to your mind in order to remember them better, explain them more clearly and develop them until you have a proper movie script.
Here is a very useful tool for the production of your videos: the storyboard, a set of drawings describing how some framings are supposed to appear on screen. The storyboard is a practical tool helping the director and the production work better on the movie set, preferring only what will be actually framed on screen, and giving all the team a clear idea of how each scene is to be created. However don´t worry, it is not necessary to be a professional: it is enough to make a sketch that is understandable by your crew.
Some useful tips
The set of professionals responsible for the
creation of a movie is defined as “film crew”.
There are two types of cast: the technical
cast, made up of people in charge of cooperating for the movie creation - such as the boom
operator, the camera operator and the lighting technician - and the artistic
cast, made up of the actors performing in the movie.
Evaluate well your resources: in your first works you will probably want to
do everything by yourself and trying all the roles may be a good idea it may be
a good idea. However, to become a professional, you need to specialise and
understand which part of the process is more suitable for you.
Words and drawings are effective to convey your
ideas. By using this technique, we will try to give you some useful tips. You
need to improve your team working skills; the people you work with can teach
you a lot of things and you can do the same with them. The best team is the one
in which everybody’s forces are balanced and united. So if you are alone, try
to look in your school, in your area, on the Internet, for some people who
share your passion and propose them to practise together. A video that your friend
and you like, might not be suitable for a wider audience: try to understand
why, accept criticism and be ready to learn even from it. Listen to the advice
that who has more experience than you gives you.
Don´t hurry. To make a good video you need time
and practice. With the passing of the time and strong passion you can get a
good equipment, but don´t wait until you can afford a super camera, to start.
Take the first you manage to find - even your mobile phone if you don´t have
anything better -and begin practicing!
Once you start, you are already a film maker!
Module 2: E-communication - Internet tools: The use of newsletters and mailing lists
How to implement a newsletter
A newsletter is an email containing updated information on a specific topic, sent periodically and completely for free to those who subscribed to its mailing list.
It plays a key-role within any non-profit organisation, allowing it to keep its members and extended networks constantly updated on its latest activities, giving suggestions, spreading targeted information and many more.
Newsletters must be used as a precious added value for volunteers and subscribers. Not having one is pure madness for the non-profit sector.
Newsletters are the main strong point to implement one’s website, blog, fundraising activities and visibility on social networks.
Even though newsletters open rates are dropping, with an average 1% decrease per year, email – for now - is still the queen.
In the Social Web era, newsletters subcription rate is actually increasing in the non-profit sector, especially within small non-profit organisations, that for the first time can count on adequate means to reach thousands of new potential subscribers through social networks websites.
Information overload and social media rise have completely changed the way people assimilate emails content. The Web 1.0 model, that used emails to publish an electronic version of paper newsletters, is no more the most effective method. Most people do not want to read e-newsletters in depth.
Newsletters should be quickly consultable, in order to let users switch to the main “call to action” or to the piece of news they are interested in.
Ten useful suggestions for non-profit organisations
The simplest and most productive way to implement and maintain a newsletter system is to use a hosting and email marketing service such as iContact or MailChimp.
Email hosting and marketing services provide an easy-to-use database, thus allowing automatic signing up and subcribing functionalities, complying with the CAN-SPAM laws and offering useful statistics on the porcentage of open rates and click number necessary to successfully maintain e-newsletters campaigns.
A non-profit organisation should never publish an e-newsletter via BCC, using an email client such as Gmail or Outlook: yet, in spite of being an obsolete and counter-productive method, it is still incredibly common among small sized non-profit organisations.
Most donors and supporters expect a more professional newsletter than the one you can achieve through the d.i.y. methods offered by BBC.
Finally, a 20 percent open rate is deemed to be a good average for the non-profit sector. It is worth stressing that non-profit organisations that send from 1 to 3 newsletters a month tend to get high open rates more frequently.
Mailboxes are always crammed with messages, newsletters, advertisement and chain letters.
Why should a voluntary organisation create a newsletter, considering that readers can not anymore keep up with the huge information flow received daily?
Furthermore, a periodic newsletter requires a big commitment; this is why it is worth assessing carefully whether and when it should be offered to a website visitor.
Let’s see some cases in which it is worth creating, promoting and managing a periodic newsletter.
• Events communication
If a voluntary organisation has plenty of news to communicate, in particular on the organisation of events, courses or any initiative with a starting and ending date, counting on a newsletter can be a very effective tool to promptly communicate that event, avoiding the need for users to constantly visit its website.
• Unique and exclusive information
If your website is a source of exclusive information, that nobody else can provide, then a newsletter is strongly recommended, especially if that information must be spread in a “controlled” way, only among those who submitted their personal data.
• Hard to find information
Those who are interested in a specific piece of information, for instance on a given topic or new norms, often have to carry out several researches by consulting different sources and keep themselves constantly updated: if you manage to select and provide the information needed, sparing your users the effort of looking for it, then your newsletter will become a really useful tool for your potential readers.
• Suggestions and useful information
If you are expert on a specific topic, then it could be worth creating a periodic newsletter containing advice and suggestions and teaching something to your readers.
• Content produced by users
If a website contains a big amount of information published by users that other visitors may be interested in, such as advertisements or help requests, then informing them with a newsletter may be a good idea.
Five suggestions to create your Newsletter
The non-profit sector has more than 10-year experience on editorial e-newsletters.
There are extensively proved practices and case studies concerning what works and what does not. Nevertheless, with the arrival of social media and mobile technologies, many of the above-mentioned practices and case studies have been made useless. As it happens for most current types of communication, best practices are constantly submitted to change.
The suggestions listed below could change or even become invalid within a few years time.
1. Give your e-newsletter a simple design
Five years ago, a three-column newsletter rich in graphs and pictures and with four or five stories was deemed to be the best standard practice ever. But this is no longer true. People are flooded with information and images coming from a huge variety of sources all day long, and too many contents could represent both a visual and mental distraction. If you want to catch your readers’ attention, keep your e-newsletter design simple. Create one column only and use black text on white background for the content body. Make use of a simple header image in the upper or side part of the news.
Mailchimp has been a pioneer in using e-newsletters, and its current design is an excellent exemple of how to succesfully plan a newsletter in the social web era.
2. Publish a 500-word (or even less) e-newsletter
Your subscribers are very busy. They must manage to grasp and elaborate your e-newsletter cornerstone within a time lapse ranging from 5 to 15 seconds.
Limit the content by publishing no more than one/two news stories or updates, allowing them to see clearly what must be done, or where to click in order to act, examine a piece of news in depth, make a donation or do anything else.
Format the text by using brief paragraphs and changing your links text colour, in order to make them stand out.
Highlight the headings in bold, to make your e-newsletter easy to browse. If you need more than 500 words, link an article published on your website or a blog.
3. Add a “Donate Now” button and Social Media icons
Most online donations made by friends, followers and supporters take place through e-newsletters. This is why non-profit organisations with a huge e-newsletters list succeed in increasing the amount of online donations and tend to have the biggest communities on social networks websites.
The “Donate Now” button and Social Network icons must be added to your e-newsletter template.
4. Costumise your e-newsletter
Your e-newsletter address should use a language that makes your subscribers feel integral part of your organisation. Use words such as “we/us/together” and sentences in the first person.
5. Make your e-newsletter “social”
A functionality that most email marketing services providers have recently added is the possibility of easily sharing your e-newsletter on social networks websites.
Once accessed the DASHBOARD, pinpoint the functionality to make your content shareable on Social Networks. In this way, subscribers can easily share your e-newsletters on Twitter, Facebook and other Social Media with one simple click. Allowing users to share their own experience with one simple click means reaching a larger audience.
6. Use Screenshots for your videos and presentations
Currently, it is not possible to upload a video on a host newsletter. There is still not a standard source code for videos and presentations for all platforms. Nevertheless, adding a screenshot of your videos or presentation/s to your e-newsletter can significantly boost your click rate.
It is sufficient to take a screenshot of your computer, YouTube or Vimeo channel, cut it properly and then add it as e-newsletter image.
Finally, do not forget to link it to to the website or blog page hosting the video or presentation, or directly to your YouTube or Vimeo channel.
7. Send several attempt versions of your e-newsletter for different email platforms
Another strategy to keep your e-newsletter model the most efficient possible is to prevent it from having a not homogeneous formatting on different email systems, such as Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo!, Hotmail, etc. A simple design will increase the odds of having an identical layout on different platforms.
Even though it could turn out to be frustrating and seem a loss of time, in order to properly manage your newsletter you should subscribe to several email accounts and double-check your project on each different platform, to verify its coherence and consistence and the presence of evident mistakes. Ideally, this should be done for each number.
If compared to Web Communication 2.0 mistakes and their acceptance level, subscribers are far less indulgent about Web Communication 1.0 ones.
8. Importance of the first email and destination page
Most hosted newsletter services allow you to create emails automatically sent to new subscribers. This is the first email they will receive from your non-profit organisations, thus you have to make sure that your project is good, the tone is polite and friendly and that it directly invites the user to visit your website and blog, Facebook, Twitter and so on. Pay attention not to ask for a donation! On a later stage, you will have plenty of time to do that.
Hosted email services allow you to create destination pages containing a “Thank you for subscribing!”. Make sure that this page as well promotes your website, blog and social networking community.
9. Send from one to three e-newsletter a month and up to six fundraising requests a year
You might turn out to be too zealous in carrying out your email marketing strategies, if for instance you sent your e-newsletter once or twice a week. In this way, the productivity law would decrease almost immediately. People might start to ignore your email or – even worse – they could even erase you. On average, you should send from 1 to 3 e-newsletters a month. It is important to monitor cancellation rates. There will always be somone who quits, but if they exceed a 0,5 %, then you should reduce the frequence of the e-newsletters sent.
In some particular situations – such as on the occasion of awareness campaigns or participation in special events – you can test your readers’ response, by sending 4 or 5 newsletters a month, but always keep in mind that nowadays many people feel flooded with e-mails. Non-profit organisations must not be considered annoying.
Together with 1-3 e-newsletters a month, it is possible to send 6 fundraising requests a year.
Since most donors makes donations from November to December, plan at least three of the above-mentioned calls for the last two months of the year, together with more veiled requests for the rest of the time. Your call should explain clearly why and how to donate, and communicate a certain feeling of urgency. Also in this case, each e-newsletter edition should include a “Donate Now” button.
10. Do not send your e-newsletter as punctual as a clock
Do not send your e-newsletter always on Monday at 10 a.m. Try to do that on Tuesday afternoon, Thursday morning and occasionally create a weekend edition. The Web has its highs and lows and it should be the same also for your e-newsletter programme. It is almost impossible to foresee which day and time is more convenient for sending your e-newsletters, for they are constantly subject to evolution, according to the events that are underway, holidays and subscribers’ habits. Keep your e-newsletter sporadic and unpredictable. Once it becomes foreseeable, your open rate will start sinking.
How to choose the subject of a Newsletter
According to an American study on the non-profit sector dated 2012, the average economic value of a non-profit email address corresponds to 12,48 dollars in online donations. Non-profit organisations that have been using e-newsletters from years are likely to have already a certain knowledge of the reason why and the way newsletter lists are to be created and of how important it is to regularly ask donors, subscribers and volunteers their email address.
To create “your own” list should be a priority. If you follow the five suggestions provided here below, the size of your mailing list and the amount of your online donations will tend to grow constantly with the passing of the time.
1. Start from your old list and follow a code of conduct
For the first edition, it is possible to include in your list old donors, staff members and volunteers that in the past supported your organisation.
Afterwards, you will have to stick to a rigid participation policy. It is advisable that you do not add people to your list only because you think that they would like to receive your newsletter.
There is a code of conduct to be followed in creating a mailing list. Adding people without their permission means breaking the rules.
2. Add the functionality “Sign up” to your website and your blog
Any website or blog deserving this name should be provided with the “Sign up for the Newsletter” button.
The more personal a blog is, the more interesting its contents will be – compared with static ones - , thus leading a higher number of people to enroll for your e-newsletter.
All hosted e-newsletter services offer “Sign up” buttons that can be added to your website or blog, simply by copying and pasting a small piece of HTML code. Furthermore, they provide costumisable destination pages.
3. Ask your supporters to sign up through status updates and Tweets
Once or twice a month, invite users to enroll for your e-newsletter via Tweets or status updates. Always remember to link the “Sign up” destination page.
4. Include your e-newsletter address in all the printed material
Make sure that all the promotional and communication tools and the printed material your non-profit organisation makes use of contain a valid e-mail address, to register for your newsletter.
5. Use registration sheets on the occasion of the events you organise or take part in
In all the events involving your organisation – from the smallest to the biggest ones - , you should always make use of a registration sheet for your newsletter. It is never positive to show an empty subscription sheet. You should sign up first, together with your mother, your boyfriend or your wife, to make the registration process start. It is typical of the human nature not to sign up in front of an empty sheet. On the contrary, people will enroll enthusiastically, after seeing other users doing the same.
The best Newsletter format
Choosing the right subject can be crucial for a newsletter success.
When we access our mailbox, we often decide which emails to open and which ones to throw away only on the basis of its sender and subject.
Sender and subject together represent the first message that potential donors read. The way we present ourselves to them for the first time.
The sender’s name makes explicit who is communicating; the object, what he/her means to propose.
There are no completely or absolutely right subjects. The subject is always a bet and, in order to identify the most effective one, several tests and constant experimentations are needed.
What is important is to follow some simple rules, not to make the most common mistakes:
1) The subject must inform, arouse curiosity, invite. The space destined to an email subject is very limited: in several email programmes, it corresponds at the most to 50 or 60 characters. This is why you must not waste it with unnecessary information, for instance by repeating the sender’s name or inserting the sending date: always use it to write down what is really important.
In particular, the subject must intrigue, provide information, call to action. But also reassure: as a matter of fact, the reader must be sure that he/she is not in front of spam emails, swindles or dangerous viruses.
2) The subject must not be too ambiguous
It is true that a captivating, imaginative and well-written subject can increase the open rates of your sent messages. What is important is not to overdo: if you create false expectations and make “fabulous” promises that you can not keep, then you will run the risk of disappointing your readers.
If your newsletter and website actual content is not coherent with the subject, this will become smoke and mirrors. Readers will fall for it once, but then they will not read your messages anymore.
3) The subject must be concise
A too long subject runs the risk of being “cut off” by most email programmes.
Anyway, even when the subject is wholly visualised, usability tests reveal that readers’ gaze focuses on the first words on the left.
This is the reason why the first three words are the ones that you have to pay the most attention to. Choose them properly. Finally, if you manage a periodic newsletter, the subject should work as subtitle, anticipating the contents that recipients are about to read and being always different for each number, so that readers’ attention level does not decrease with the passing of the time.
Not only is the aim of a newsletter to communicate pieces of information and news via email, but also to provide a general overview of the contents available in a given period.
Therefore, newsletters body should ideally be made of brief and captivating texts, making reference to your website or to single pages for further in-depth analysis.
If it is true that a newsletter is supposed to give a “taste” of the news and contents published on a website, then its structure must be simple, orderly and easy to read. Readers should understand, at a glance, what you can offer and decide within few minutes what they are interested in and what they are not.
Therefore, which format should you choose in order to make a newsletter more effective? We can find the answer in the “Email Newsletter Usability” report, carried out by the Nielsen Norman Group, that collected interesting results emerging from some studies on newsletters usability.
The best format, in Jakob Nielsen’s and his fellows’ opinion, is the “blurb format”, according to which if a newsletter covers more than one topic and is made up of more than two articles, it is recommended that its elements are organised following this order:
• A brief and concise heading;
• A short but thorough summary, summing up the article content;
• A link making reference to a website or pdf documents, for an in-depth analysis.
This format’s advantages are clear. The email will not be too much long and it will be easier for the reader to identify the topics he/she is interested in. Furthermore, in spite of their conciseness, texts are comprehensive (in other words, they are not cut off articles) and provide useful information even if the article is not read entirely.
In order to make an email further easier to read, it is useful to insert a table of contents at the very beginning of the newsletter – as in the example given.
The tests carried out by Nielsen showed that newsletters with this structure met a higher approval than the ones reporting entire articles or only anticipating their first lines.
Module 1: Video-makingVIDEO-MAKING
Why should voluntary organisations use social networks?
Social networks represent a great chance for an organisation to become more popular, interact in real time with a big variety of subjects, reach and promptly update its target audience, promote events, look for volunteers, raise funds and take a stand on a social issue.
Most innovative and widespread social networks and media – such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter – can be deemed to be an effective tool for “social action”, helping organisations to foster network interconnection, social logic and contents socialisation.
As every network deserving this name, also the one offered by these platforms is based on the connections and relationships that users build with each other.
Being completely free and easy to use, social networks allow any user to upload and share a huge variety of material – pictures and videos included -, spreading and amplifying through the Web pieces of news and single events very quickly.
They can be considered, also for non-profit organisations, an efficient promotional tool for social activities and initiatives.
This module aims to provide voluntary organisations with the ABCs to start managing their presence on the main social channels.
FACEBOOK PAGE FOR VOLUNTARY ORGANISATIONS
Facebook is a social network allowing users to keep in touch with a group of people (“friends”); it is possible to change messages, see what other people are doing in a given moment, or consult the links and contents that your friends share and propose you from time to time.
Thus, Facebook usefulness highly depends on the typology of people we decide to follow, and on the use they make of it, in their turn.
How to use it?
If you are still not on Facebook, the first question you should ask yourself is: shall I create a page or a profile? The right answer is: it depends on the aim of your presence on one of the most widespread social network in the world.
You must necessarily open a page if you want to be on Facebook on behalf of your organisation. As a matter of fact, this social network rules forbid the use of a personal profile if you are supposed to represent “your group, company or product”.
You can open a personal profile to manage your personal and professional network. One of the reasons why it is not worth using a profile for an organisation or a company is that you could not exceed a 5000-friend limit: in other words, once reached this contacts number, you can not add any more friends.
If you want your profile to be visible and reachable by more than 5000 people, then you can activate the option “Updates”. Users will subscribe to get your posts and pictures-related updates, but you will not be allowed to access their data, as on the contrary it happens when you are added as a “friend”. This could be an effective solution for public personalities who do not want their page to be managed by other people, preferring a more personal approach.
turn out to be extremely advantageous for an organisation. There are no supporters number limits and users that click on the “Like” button will not share their own data, as on the contrary it happens when two profiles add each other as friends. A page can have more than one administrator and each one can play a different role.
The first step, in order to create a fan page, is to click on the Facebook address for the creation of fan pages
• Then, choose the page type you want to create and click on the corresponding box;
• To give you an example, we have chosen to create a Facebook page for an organisation, therefore we have clicked on the second box, named “Company, Organisation or Institution”;
• Chose the category that in your opinion best suits your activity;
• Give the page a proper name: your company/activity name is a good option;
• Then click on First Steps;
• If you still not have a Facebook account, you will be asked to create one, otherwise you can proceed with your personal account;
• Your new Facebook page has been created, now you only have to follow the different stages highlighted below to costumise it, add content and then promote it.
Here you have a Facebook page layout analysed from near step by step
1 When you create a fan page, you have to choose a profile picture (squared, with specific dimensions) and a cover one;
2 On your page you can publish posts with text messages, links, pictures, albums and events. If you want a post to be always visible on your page, even after publishing new ones, you only have to choose the option “Display always on top”;
3 With the option “Highlight Post”, your post will occupy both page columns;
4 In the section destined to the page administrators, you can moderate posts and supporters’ comments;
5 You can enrich your page with creativity, pinpointing on the timeline your organisation historical dates (foundation, events, new projects).
Twitter is a service allowing you to leave an online text message no longer than 140 characters, that will be read by those who chose to get your updates, named followers
The first step is to visit the website http://www.twitter.com and sign up for free, to get the nickname that you will use from that moment on. Straightafter, you can already start leaving your messages, known as Tweets
, writing from the homepage or your own profile page.But which is the content of Twitter messages?
The purpose Twitter was born for is to communicate everybody what someone is doing in that specific moment. The service can be used in several ways:
• There are people who use it to tell how their day is going, through short messages;
• Others use it to share interesting links and applications;
• Someone else to date with other users;
• Finally, even some information websites make use of it to announce the hottest pieces of news.
Consider, for instance, that the latest chronicles have been spread “live” through the Tweets of those who were on the event place in that precise moment.
In other words, the use you can make of Twitter is only limited by your will and fantasy.
The Tweets you send will be read only by those who decided to follow you, that is to say your “Followers
”; otherwise, if you type a given topic name preceded by a hash character #, whoever types the same topic name can read your Tweet.So how can you do to follow a user’s Tweets and find other users to follow?
You can read other Tweets by carrying out a hashtag research or looking for the name of the person you are interested in: to follow him/her, you only have to click on the “Follow” button, on the top section of the page. From then onwards, you can read their Tweets. But be careful! The users you follow (Following) are not necessarily your Followers.
You will soon notice, among the different Tweets published, some nicknames preceded by the @ symbol (for example: @roberto54, @donzelletta90, etc.).
This means that the Tweet in question is addressed to that person in particular; this is a practical and useful functionality, for the “@nickname” formula is automatically turned into a link to that user’s page. In this way, if you want, you can add to your followers also that user.
You can also send private Tweets (Direct Messages)
to another user. It is sufficient that you type “D @nickname message” in the field where you usually write your Tweet, and only your recipient will read it.
Another useful functionality is the re-Tweet (RT)
one: another user’s Tweet that you decide to share with your followers, as a kind of quote. You only have to click on the flags below the message and that Tweet will be published also on your profile.
For your voluntary organisation, using Twitter to make calls, launch campaigns and virally spread messages is not a brand-new idea. Knowing Twitter as an online activism tool
has lately become more and more important for those who work in the social communication sector.
Before analysing in detail some specific applications you will find on Twitter, here you have a small glossary
with a list of terms that will allow you to become the protagonist of a 140-character conversation:
@ = the reply
symbol, to activate a direct link to another user’s profile and send him/her a public message (read by everybody).
DM = direct message
. To send to one of your followers a private message.
RT = the re-Tweet
, that is to say another user’s Tweet that you decide to share with your followers, as a kind of quote.
# = the hashtag
symbol that, if used before some keywords in your 140-character messages, highlights them, giving them value. It allows you to share interests and discussions on specific issues and topics.
TL = the Twitter timeline
, where all the messages of the users you follow roll in.
TT = trending topics
, that is to say the most popular and discussed topics among Twitter users (that hopefully include your social campaign, as well).
Follower = a Twitter user that follows you
Following = the users you have decided to follow
, that is to say that you are follower of.
Once you have clear in mind this glossary, another basic aspect to take into consideration to implement and carry out your campaign is a set of rules on how online activism works.
Claudia Vago, storyteller of social movements 2.0, has collected 5, all well defined
: we recommend that you read them carefully and hang them (yes, written down on an old paper sheet) on your desk.Basically
1 Know the tools that you are using (glossary);
2 Have an aim that is clear,
easy to explain and, most of all, simple to achieve.
(“Defeating the world’s hunger” is not an immediately reachable goal through a Twitter campaign!);
3 Spread well-founded information
, always pointing out its sources (you should include a link within your 140-character message);
4 Dig up – within and outside the web – to find little stories with no visibility
(those that your volunteers and collaborators experience daily are perfect, being personal and different from the usual and same old pieces of news reported by mainstream media);
5 Choose a keyword that identifies your campaign and never change it (always highlighting it on Twitter with the # symbol);Here you have a Twitter profile layout analysed from near step by step
Instagram is a smartphone application that allows the immediate sharing of pictures among its users, together with their simultaneous uploading on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks.
Who starts using it, will soon develop a dependence on this application, and often it becomes the first and unique channel through which a user uploads online the pictures taken with a smartphone. Somebody has even chosen the Instagram format for his/her wedding video or to create real news reports.
Why do 80 million people love Instagram? Maybe because telling one’s story through a set of images is easier and more captivating, because taking and sharing pictures means speaking an universal language that allows you to reach places and communities even very far from you. And then there are the filters, that gives your pictures that vintage look able to improve even the less successful snapshots. These are the same reasons why also a non-profit organisation should deem to be essential a communication channel like Instagram.
There is who is already taking advantage of this tool. Unicef, for instance, that uploads digital snapshots directly from its campaigns promotional events; then Charity Water (that has already 48 thousands followers) and Amnesty Uk, that uses the app to broadcast live its flash mobs in defense of human rights all over the world. But also Save the Children, than can tell its stories through images that are extremely powerful from the communication point of view, since it deals with children.
Follow this short to-do-list to start using Instagram properly with your voluntary organisation
1 Download the application on your smartphone. Then choose an username that represents your organisation and a profile picture that well identifies it: one containing your official logo is a good option;
2 Before uploading your first picture, explore the community snapshots through the “tags” (keywords) that you mean to use to describe your images. How are they used? From whom? Are they the right words? Could you look for better ones? Keep in mind that, to reach a high number of people all over the world, you must write in English;
3 Start “following” other users similar to you, as we suggested before, and focus on how they use this tool. But find your own language. One picture only for one story only? On-field reportages? Volunteers’ testimonies? Events live coverage? All these options mixed together? Everything can potentially work, but your strategy must be the result of a consciuous, well-planned and day-by-day appraised choice;
4 We suggest that you select the pictures to upload in blocks of five, but use them with moderation, one a day, two at most, if you are not dealing with a live coverage or a news report. In this way, you will have plenty of material for your weekly “social sharing” on Instagram;
5 You can retrieve pictures from your NGO archive and save them in your smartphone albums, in order to upload them on a later stage on Instagram. Even better, to do so use applications cloud sharing systems such as DROPBOX, ONEDRIVE, GOOGLEDRIVE;
6 Every picture uploaded on Instagram is square-shaped. You can choose to use the filters and the frames provided, or to leave your picture “au naturel”, to give it an even more professional look;
7 Describe it with a short text that is easy to understand for those who do not know the reality within which your organisation operates and then add some tags (max 10), in order to index your content. To achieve the highest possible visibility, you can also link your Facebook and Twitter profiles to your Instagram account.
Finally, remember that Instagram is a community: participate, comment and, most of all, get a taste for it!
Google for Non-Profits
YouTube is an useful tool even for those non-profit organisations seeking for a wide open communication system, based on exchange, sharing and participation.
To be able to “tell something” in the digital world, it is worth using an introductive tool addressed to all those people – activists, volunteers, third sector operators, etc. – who want to properly move within the digital storytelling and examine more in depth its good practices.
The whole system, therefore, builds upon the ability of telling stories and discovering new strategies to do that in a digital context:Using videos in the storytelling world means adding a fundamental tile in building a good multimedia tale
: the combination of images, music and words has an evocative power capable of transmitting messages in a direct and effective way. If some years ago films production resulted from the work of experts and required the use of complex and often exprensive programmes and tools, nowadays whoever wants to actively participate can count, even in this sector, on tools that have become far easier and are available completely for free.
The most recommended editorial platforms are Vimeo and YouTube
, social networks on which any user can upload his/her own video, follow other channels, leave comments and interact with other videomakers. This is the reason why they are highly suggested, being furthermore easy to use and share on all social media and giving users the chance of indexing all their videos (YouTube ones, for instance, are very simple to look for, by using Google or other search engines).
There are plenty of things that a non-profit organisation can choose to tell through the storytelling system: an event backstage, the making of an advertisement, the “daily life” of its volunteers tied up with their work, or the “human side” of an actor preparing for the show behind the stage. The storytelling world has become an effective tool to provide - by means of new strategies - institutional information, but also to engage activists and sympathisers and foster their free expression.YouTube Charities ProgrammeCertainly, for a non-profit organisation, joining the YouTube non-profit programme can turn out to be an excellent choice to be combined with the use of the traditional channel,
at least for the advanced functionalities that an organisation can count on, by participating in the programme. As a matter of fact, the strong points of the partnership dedicated to the non-profit sector mainly concern some channel technical aspects: the possibility of doing live streaming
, of inserting notes
that direct the audience to a website or a fundraising programme, or adding an overlay banner
, exactly like an Adwords advertiser.
Resulting from the awareness of how powerful videoclips can be in sensitising public opinion about social issues, collecting donations and helping people to share their story for the common benefit, this programme’s aim is to value the presence online of all those realities operating within the non-profit world.
Advanced functionalities, a button allowing users to make donations directly through the YouTube channel
, the possibility of doing live streaming or enriching videos with notes for a clear call to action
addressed to the community: these are some of the the main characteristics of the project, that also provides a guide on how to maximise the use of videos within a communication campaign.
The non-profit and activism sector is one of the YouTube categories whose success is increasing more quickly: non-profit organisations videos have already more than four billion views on YouTube
, which means one view for each two people around the world; more than 20.000 organisations
are already members of the YouTube non-profit programme; non-profit organisations with more than one million video views are hundreds and hundreds.Here you have the link to join the programme:https://www.youtube.com/nonprofits?gl=IN&hl=en-GB
Google is not only the most widespread search engine in the world. No, it is not. Google is also a company producing web services. Many services. Its tools are accessible to everybody completely for free. But it also offers a “premium” package (upon payment) that increases and strengthens the opportunities provided by Google. Well, for some days these services have been offered for free to all non-profit organisations.
Unicef and Save the Children are only some of the organisations that have still successfully experienced these services.
In order to help organisations improve the traffic on their website, extend the number of users (and consequently the information spread), increase donations, amplify a communication campaign and share stories from all over the world, the company has enriched its package for the non-profit sector with Google Apps, Google Ad Grants, the advanced YouTube programme and Google Earth for the social sector.
“You are changing the world. We want to help”. This is the slogan that Google has chosen to address third sector operators. Joining the programme is quite easy. Of course some specific requirements are needed, depending on each country’s legislation. This is the link to join the programme:http://www.google.com/nonprofits/