Zoe Amar talks viral fundraising, social media and mobile (Interview) » Charity Digital News

Zoe Amar talks viral fundraising, social media and mobile (Interview)

We recently caught up with Zoe Amar, director of Zoe Amar Communications, a strategic marketing and digital communications consultancy which has worked with leading charities including CAF, Crimestoppers, Macmillan and Action Aid. 

Here Zoe discusses her predictions for charity digital in 2015, shares her thoughts on viral fundraising campaigns and gives some helpful advice for charities looking to explore mobile. 

What do you think is going to be big for charity digital in 2015 and what can those working in the sector do to prepare?

There are three things that I think are going to be big for charities this year. In the run up the election, hyperlocal sites such as the Kentish Towner or Birmingham Updates are going to grow in influence as digital channels. They offer great opportunities to fundraise and campaign within communities, so get to know your local sites. I also think we’ll see more charities using LinkedIn to develop relationships with corporates and local government. There are 364,000 policy makers and government organisations and 19,000 CSR directors on LinkedIn in the UK, so get your colleagues to start using it regularly, especially the groups. Finally, supporter led viral campaigns such as #icebucketchallenge are here to stay. Make sure you’re listening to what your audience is saying on social media and seize any opportunities quickly.

What advice would you give to charities which don’t yet have a mobile strategy?

Understand how your audience is using mobile and ensure it is integrated into your fundraising strategy and e-commerce. Your website and e-newsletters need to be mobile friendly. Supporters expect their interactions with charities to be seamless and frictionless and that’s a change which is being led by mobile.

For a charity deciding what their social media strategy is going to be, what would your top tip be? Do you think it’s important for charity CEOs to be involved?

The most important thing any charity can do is understand which social platforms their audience uses and how best to engage with them on there. There is no one size fits all answer for every charity. CEOs definitely need to be involved in the strategy. Your CEO and board need to lead the strategy from the top otherwise it will be much harder to make it a success.

Would you say there are any forgotten channels of communication that charities should be paying more attention to this year?

However great a social media campaign is, it will always work best when integrated with other communications channels. Just look at the way Rethink used traditional media to spread the word about their #findmike campaign.

What elements do you think made viral campaigns like #nomakeupselfie and #icebucketchallenge so successful?

Listening to your audience via social media monitoring tools means that you can act as soon as you see the possibility of one of these campaigns- Cancer Research UK did this particularly well with #nomakeupselfie. Their organisational culture also meant that they were empowered to act. Finally, I’d advise sharing progress regularly during the campaign such as fundraising milestones. This will encourage supporters to keep giving.

Do you think viral fundraising campaigns are the future of charity fundraising?

As a consultant and a trustee, I don’t think any charity should invest all their fundraising resources solely into viral campaigns, otherwise they’ll become hostages to fortune. However, all charities do need to be prepared for their #icebucketchallenge moment as the opportunities are huge.

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