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GOV49 Communication Delivery and Social Media in the Public Sector – Day One

By Advice, Government, Presentations, Resources One Comment
Day One of GOV49 Communication Delivery and Social Media in the Public Sector

Day One of GOV49 Communication Delivery and Social Media in the Public Sector

GOV49 Communication Delivery and Social Media in the Public Sector is a two day conference held in Sydney.   The first day looked at how to plan social media campaigns, drawing on examples at a local and state and federal level.

I was asked to chair the conference and also provided a presentation exploring the use of social media as an advocacy tool.  The presentation drew upon my experiences in Maroondah City Council and my use of social media to advocate for the redevelopment of Ringwood Station into a safe and accessible transport interchange.

Maroondah City Council did not have social media policies at the time, despite its potential in providing direct communications from the council.  As a result I utilized my own social media networks, including Facebook, Twitter and Youtube to extend the reach of our advocacy campaign.

My Mayoral year in 2010 coincided with the State Election, providing an opportunity to advocate for the much needed replacement of Ringwood Station.  The station fails to meet accessibility standards and its outdated design leads to perceptions of poor safety and a lack of integration with key facilities within Ringwood.

As an outer eastern municipality, Maroondah’s advocacy needed to be noticed by the community, media, local MPs and the the political parties.  We needed to be able to reach the community to demonstrate widespread support for the redevelopment, the media to raise awareness, as well as local MPs and the political parties to generate results.

The campaign led to commitments from each of the major parties, including the redevelopment of Ringwood Station from 2014 by the current Government.

The advocacy campaign was successful due to the use of several communication tools. Social media supported the campaign by encouraging community participation and dialogue, by sharing experiences at Ringwood Station.  We were able to use this dialogue to encourage ongoing media interest and to gather signatures for a petition calling for action.

The advocacy campaign generated sufficient momentum to be supported by the local MPs and candidates, who in turn pushed their parties to provide commitments.  Ultimately the campaign was successful due to the community focus and the use of social media to generate ongoing interest.

GOV49 Communication Delivery & Social Media in the Public Sector

GOV49 Communication Delivery and Social Media in the Public Sector

By Government, News, Presentations No Comments
GOV49 Communication Delivery & Social Media in the Public Sector

GOV49 Communication Delivery & Social Media in the Public Sector

GOV49 Communication Delivery and Social Media in the Public Sector is a two-day conference held in Sydney to explore how social media and online communications can be used effectively by the public sector.

The conference is being organised by Tonkin Corporation and I was approached to present two sessions as well as to chair the event.

I was invited to provide a forward address:

Government and its representatives cannot afford to ignore the impact of social media.

If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest with a population of 955 million. Twitter with its ability to quick messages and fast re-tweeting is increasingly becoming a valid news source for journalists.

Social media can enhance public policy by encouraging broader participation in discussion and the ability to explain decisions. As government we can help increase transparency and provide a sense of ownership over policy. In particular, social media can be useful in reaching demographics that tend not to utilise traditional forms of consultation.

Used effectively social media can increase transparency while providing insights into governance processes. Like any method on engagement it requires policies and guidelines for acceptable use.

Social media is no longer an instrument that can be ignored but must be considered as a tool requiring engagement. Social media is being used to convey opinions and and it is better to be part of this discussion, rather than simply ignoring this discussion.

Attend Communication Delivery and Social Media In the Public Sector to discover how you can utilise social media to engage and be part of the discussion

I’ll be in Sydney for most of the week as part of the conference and look forward to meeting the delegates over the two-day event.

Managing Volunteers - Take the Next Step

Managing Volunteers – Take the Next Step

By Advice, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, Presentations, Resources No Comments

Many not-for-profit organisations rely on volunteers for service delivery and to assist with administration and other functions.

Managing Volunteers – Take the Next Step, was a full day conference hosted by the Shire of Yarra Ranges and Eastern Volunteers. The conference discussed several topics relevant to volunteer management national standards, the steps required to prepare an organisation for volunteers, as well as marketing and promoting an organisation.

I presented a session for the afternoon workshop, discussing the Essentials of Social Media and Marketing.  The presentation discussed the need for a strategic marketing approach, to identify aims and to understand what would attract volunteers to assist with the organisation.

Organisations need consistent messages to demonstrate the volunteer experiences that are created through their involvement.  Messages need to be communicated using a range of marketing tools to reach prospective volunteers through multiple communication channels.

Social media is one of the tools that can be used to reach prospective volunteers and should be considered as a part of a cohesive marketing campaign.  Social media should be integrated with website content, providing the seamless ability to update websites, as well as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites

It is important to utilise the strengths of each tool and one advantage of social media is the ability to share content.  The intent should not necessarily be to develop viral content, but to ensure your target audience is able to distribute content and share their views on being involved with the organisation.  Stories can be very effective and assist in providing content that can be shared.  The sharing of content is the online equivalent of word of mouth recommendations and can help reach the connections of people already involved with the organisation.

Successful volunteer recruitment will use a mix of tools to reach prospective volunteers, supported by consistent messages and a cohesive marketing approach. Marketing encompasses more than promotional tools, such as brochures or flyers, but every form of interaction that someone has with an organisation.

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Marketing Your Strengths – Presenting at Connecting Up 2012

By Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, News, Presentations, Resources 4 Comments

I was one of the presenters on the second day of Connecting Up 2012, where I led a session covering marketing and how not-for-profit organisations can develop a marketing plan around their key strengths.

While understanding one’s strengths is important in most contexts, it is particularly important in not-for-profit organisations where there are competing demands and limited resources.

A strength is something an organisation does well and typically does better than others, providing a unique attribute that differentiates the organisation in terms of receiving clients, volunteers, supporters, donations or grants from funding bodies.

Marketing Your Strengths outlined the process required to develop a marketing plan looked at how a not-for-profit organisation can frame its key messages and reach its target market.

It is important to remember that not-for-profit organisations have multiple target markets. The concept of a target market, is broader than clients, but extends to other stakeholders, including volunteers, donors, business partners and Government.

Understanding an organisations’ strengths, enables the ability the form key messages that can be used to reach each of these target markets. While aspects of the message may alter slightly, it is important that there is consistency between the messages and the aims that an organisation wishes to achieve.

Our presentation explored Eastern Volunteers as a case study. Eastern Volunteers is a volunteer resource centre based in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. Eastern Volunteers embarked on a building fund to enable the purchase and fit-out of a new building to end a transient history of being relocated from one building to another.

Core strengths of Eastern Volunteers included its strong governance and networks, namely the ability to reach community organisations, volunteers and its clients. Understanding these strengths enabled the formation of partnerships with businesses who could see value in aligning themselves with Eastern Volunteers.

Key messages were identfied, including the benefits of ongoing service delivery and accessibility improvements. Eastern Volunteers was formally located on the first floor of a building, creating accessibility implications. A ground floor location enabled the organisation to become more inclusive and accessible.

Once key messages were identified it is important to consider how to reach the identified target markets.

Every time someone contacts an organisation, the impression they receive is a form of marketing. It is important that all aspects of organisation, from brochures and newsletters, through to telephone and email responses, are consistent and that they reinforce the key messages of an organisation.

It is also important that the right marketing tools are used to reach the identified target markets. For example, the quarterly newsletter was the best method to reach the transport clients of Eastern Volunteers, while social media was effective in reinforcing relationships with businesses.

The broader community was also important and was reached through local and social media. In particular, a media campaign was formed around donating $500 to purchase a piece of Eastern Volunteers future. The jigsaw campaign ensured a significant number of donations that were worth at least $500 and helped generate ongoing media interest.

Measuring progress is an important aspect of marketing and metrics are needed to evaluate performance. The success of the Building Fund was measured through donations and in-kind support, as well as media coverage.

It is critical that success is celebrated, particularly in the not-for-profit sector where policy change or advocacy is a goal. A marketing campaign should have a defined conclusion with an opportunity to celebrate success and to reflect on how the campaign progressed.

I would like to thank the many people who attended our presentation and also the people I met during the conference. I hope you enjoyed your time at Connecting Up 2012.

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#CU12 – the Connecting Up 2012 Conference

By Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, News 3 Comments

Connecting Up is a not-for-profit organisation that exists to enhance the level of IT and technology within other not-for-profit organisations. Connecting Up holds an annual conference and this year I was a guest presenter holding the session ‘Marketing Your Strengths’.

The Connecting Up Conference began with a breakfast featuring two speakers from the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC). The Commission is as a statutory authority responsible for regulating the not-for-profit sector.

The Commission’s short-term focus will be charities, particularly in considering taxation concessions (such as DGR and PBI status) and reporting requirements. It is anticipated however that other not-for-profit organisations will be part of the Commission’s responsibilities over the longer term.

While harmonisation of laws between Commonwealth and State/Territory is required, it is envisaged at the Commission will become a ‘one-stop-shop’ for charities and not-for-profit organisations. This should assist in providing timely and accurate information to the sector, particularly in regard to the potential for taxation concessions.

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission should be a positive initiative for the sector, particularly if it is accompanied by the harmonisation of various laws that regulate charities and not-for-profit organisations.

I was able to attend several other sessions at Connecting Up, with topics covering cloud computing, social media and the use of technology.

Given that many not-for-profit organisations are busy undertaking day-to-day activities, there is a tendency to overlook technology and marketing due to a focus on operational tasks.

The Connecting Up Conference aimed to showcase the options and solutions that exist for not-for-profit organisations. As a result there was strong focus on innovation and how not-for-profit organisations can gain additional value through social networking, marketing and technology.

One of the highlights was an organised networking session, which provided a great way to meet other attendees. While many conferences discuss how they provide networking, Connecting Up made this a feature by facilitating networking between conference delegates.

Congratulations to the team at Connecting Up for organising such a great conference, we look forward to being involved in future years.