Tackling Charity Social Media?

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View or download your copy here…

Skillsplatform.org have just published a new, very comprehensive charity social media tookit.

The work, by Zoe Amar and David Evans offers the sector a profoundly useful resource to grasp the first principles of social media. Helping you to understand the workflow and context needed and to be able to create and deploy a social media strategy of utility to your organisation.

‘We wrote this guide for everyone, from all-hands-on-deck small charity workers to experienced digital managers in need of inspiration. Most of all, we want you to finish reading this guide bursting with ideas, strategies and tactics for your organisation’.

Spread over eight chapters the toolkit includes:

  • Your Social Media Strategy
  • Putting Social Into Action
  • How to Grow Your Social Network
  • How to Campaign and Fundraise with Social
  • Social Media Style and Consistency
  • Social Analytics in Advertising
  • Employee Social Media in Advocacy
  • The Future of Social Media for Non-Profits

Whatever your level of engagement with your partners, donors and funders or service users, then this toolkit should prove invaluable in refining your strategy, improving your audience interest and engagement, as well as adding to your social media skills as a professional.

You can access the toolkit on-line directly here, or download your own pdf copy here.


SmithMartin LLP are providers of web and communication services to the charity, education, social and community enterprise sectors.

We are happy to help any organisation across the UK to develop a web presence or new media strategy at any time. Contact us here.

Building the charitable web as a compassionate social business.

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Communications delivered…

 

Digital Knowledge – how smart are you?

Digital Knowledge – 6 year olds are as smart as 45 year old adults, with a peak for digital understanding at 14 – 15 years! (Ofcom findings).

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In a report published by Ofcom, an average 6 year old understands more about digital technology than a 45 year old.

At 6- 7 years, the Digital Quotient is 98, at 10- 11 years, it is 104, and by 14 – 15 years it has risen to 110.

In contrast,the older age groups of 45 – 49 years have a Digital Quotient of 96, and 50- 54 years have a Digital Quotient of 88.

The slide downwards continues as age increases. The findings were taken from a sample of 80 children and 2000 adults, so the figures are a guide and not an indication that all in those age groups fall into the DK described.

image3-4.jpgThe DQ was devised by Ofcom to gauge awareness and self confidence around electronic devices from tablets to smart watches, knowledge of superfast internet, 4G mobile phone networks and mobile apps.

Confidence around devices , we see as being fundamental, along with the ability to explore the resources or devices, and to access a myriad of different methods and facilities with confidence.

This is an area, where the adults definitely do not know best!

It is also interesting that in the age groups of majority of decisions makers ( we suggest from 40 54 years) that the DQ is already on the decline. We know from experience that it is hard for officers to engage with a resource which they are not familiar with and where younger people have a greater understanding.

Today’s 6 – 7 year olds have grown up with YouTube, Spotify, music streaming and accessing TV through downloads. How cool is that?

Things which make us stand back and gaze in amazement are like bread and butter to children.

Our partnership perspectives, as educationalists and IT developers mean we see the enormous potential ahead. Children who can teach themselves IT and given the opportunity are able to create Apps, and develop programming skills. Let alone all the intuitive learning that takes place through IT systems, and bypasses so much of traditional learning processes.

It’s a brave, new world!

Our partnership is immensely excited about the prospects for learning and for the benefit this will bring.

Don’t be like an ostrich with your head firmly in the sand!

The best way to approach IT?
Let our Partnership help you undertake change…

 

ICT, young people and helping them to create for the future are the way to go….

SmithMartin Partnership LLP

Labour plans for universal childcare

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Ed Milliband has pledged in his new year message to pursue the policy of universal childcare for all pre-school children and to make childcare a priority, if elected as Prime Minister.(Guardian 30 December 2013).In a Guardian interview the shadow childcare minister, Lucy Powell, said of free universal pre-school childcare: “I’d love it to be [introduced]. My job is to make the political and economic case for childcare, not just the childcare offer that we have right now but an extension of that. I am absolutely firmly of the belief that if you invest in childcare it pays for itself over time because it increases maternal employment rates.”

In the SmithMartin Partnership, childcare has always been seen as one of the most fundamental needs of young families. Over the last 5 years it has increased in cost and the argument for developing universal childcare which is affordable and accessible for all remains highly important.

The case for universal childcare was indeed a key part of the previous Labour Party initiatives and with the development of Sure Start provided a platform for a major plank of Early Years programmes for quality Early Years education.

Naomi Einsenstadt developed the concept of Sure Start within the Dept. of Children, Schools and Families, and the move into Sure Start Children’s Centres.Image 1

Good quality childcare enables young children to receive good early years education, to reduce the effects of poverty and to give families a vision for the future.

We hope that this recent statement from Labour will turn into a reality.

Sue Martin

SmithMartin Partnership LLP – bringing communities together

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Making connections in the Storyverse

We think that our projects are about making connections. Connecting children with books, connecting people with communities, making information freely available on-line for those communities of interest…revealing new things in new ways.

We do use technology, we love the web for its endless potential to reveal and strive to make access to that information and the connections as simple, yet as meaningful as possible.

We recently came across the Small Demons web site. This makes connections from within books, to all the elements of a story that you might think are important.

Small Demons sets out to index the content of books, but to also allow you to cross reference that content with other books, allowing you to build your own Storyboard. This short film gives you a flavour of the intellectual possibilities for your Storyboard…

 

 

As you would expect, the site is fully integrated with all the social media connections you will need to share your Storyboard. (If you have added a book, the site offers viewers the opportunity to buy it too, of course).

You can see a quickly created example of a Storyboard, using some of our interests with the keyword ‘community’ here.

Small Demons is a new way to explore texts, but it definitely captured our imagination.

You can see our books and making connections projects here…

Books go Walkabout        City Stories           Thirdsectorweb

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Emotional creativity – imaginative landscapes…

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Shekhar Kapur and A R Rahman have created a new Bangalore based social network for creative expression – QYUKI.

Using the internet and a web connection to set your mind and your imagination free.

 

 

The aims of QYUKI are that…

…the platform aims to discover the vast untapped talent of India and the Indian diaspora; mentor and transform them into brands of the future
Qyuki’s dynamic young team lives off one common dream – to empower people’s self-expression and help build their creative identity.

As a tool for social connectivity we liked the system of casting ’emo votes’ for submission to the network. Casting a vote on an emotional basis for what you have just read or seen.

Shekhar Kapur was a chartered accountant in an oil company, before changing his life to become an Oscar nominated actor, director and producer of films.

A visit to the home page of QYUKI offers the viewer a short presentation by Kapur and co-founder A R Rahman – the talk by Shekhar Kapur we found particularly inspiring. He talks about the stifling of creativity and the potential to realise ambitions for young people and how letting go with that imagination and engaging across the world with others for creativity is a great way to change your expectations and those of others. His own life course illustrated.

A philosophy that chimes with our partnership approach to international and UK projects and how to use the internet for community gain and individual expression within a framework of ethical action.

We are currently supporting Marham Voices, a Heritage Lottery funded community project which aims to deliver a oral history and heritage publication for a rural community.

Part of the process is to create an oral archive and free publication for the community and we have built an Open Source and free software ‘tool-kit’ which will enable volunteers to create digital and print outputs for the project – at no cost for users or the project. (The hardware and physical technology generously supported by The Heritage Lottery Fund).

In our own small way we hope that by deploying our technology as a community resource we can help to create an emotionally coherent and better understood landscape for a small corner of the UK…with a lot of fun doing it along the way!

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Having an Idea!

A Wordle - ideas expressed

You know that moment when suddenly the most brilliant idea comes into your head? What happens from then can either make the idea come alive or it remains dormant.

Two young people who have had brilliant ideas and been able to put them into practice are Pavegen founder Laurence Kemball-Cook and Raspberry Pi co -creator, Eben Upton.

In the Royal Society for the Arts publication this Autumn, 2012, they talked about their thoughts on establishing a working model for their ideas. Both are now proven and making great strides in improving lives using technology.

But without the ‘good idea’ even technology is unable to change and improve how we live; although it can be the ‘tool box’ and make the idea possible.

So what are the principles needed? Where does a good idea go from here? How steely are your nerves? Because once your idea takes off it can explode into a hungry world.
And how do you ‘hang on’ to the originality and ensure the idea is not swallowed up by larger and wealthier organisations?

Both Laurence Kemball Cook and Eben Upton share similar approaches; the ideas they conceived were alongside other original work, they had the intrigue to follow the idea, they sought funding which would enable the idea to take shape but not so big that they lost control and they were prepared to deviate in the development when needed.

Pavegen is a new concept using flooring and people’s steps to produce energy.
Raspberry Pi is an affordable credit card sized computer that can be used in schools to teach technology.
Both on their way to success and will make a huge difference to people’s lives.

Lots of ideas are already finding their way into our global technological society. Never easy but if you have an idea, it could be the very one to change the life for someone out there.

Tocare el cielo con dito‘  Touch the sky with your finger tips!

Sue Martin FRSA

SmithMartin Partnership LLP Creative, entrepreneurial and flexible and pleased to work with RSA in promotion of ‘free thinkers‘.

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BME support flowers in Cambridgeshire

We are delighted as a partnership to be the web publishers for the new information directory for ABMEC,  a Cambridgeshire based CIC, supporting the BME community in the county.

ABMEC is a lottery funded project, providing resources, training and advice to its community of interest for the last five years.

We are happy to be able to institute a web reference information resource and to maintain the quality and accessibility of the information for ABMEC after the project has reached fruition this year.

You can find the new directory online here at supportingcambridgeshire.com

The service is provided by our community web arm, Thirdsectorweb, who are specialist web and communication suppliers for the charity, education and local authority sectors.

You can find the Thirdsectorweb team here. As works in progress, online directories of socially useful  information are never complete.

If you have information that can go into the directory just add the details to the contact us page on the directory website. The directory team will make sure your information is always current and up to date.

SmithMartin – helping support communities across the UK. 

Social entrepreneur – five cornerstones

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Starting a business, social or otherwise, is a leap of faith. Faith in yourself or your team, faith in your product or service and faith in your audience, customers or community of interest.

Below are some basic tenets to help your vision endure, each element when applied well will add to your chances of success, generate turnover and increase your capacity to generate surpluses…

 

1. Get your governance model right:

Whether you want to be a limited company, by guarantee or shareholding, a charity or a management committee within an existing organisation, dedicated to providing a service – then working hard to research, take advice and recognise the rationale for the way your organisation is structured will pay huge dividends later on.

2. Really know why you are doing it:

Understanding why your business and governance is structured the way it is tempers what people will think about your service. Clarity here will not only help you build effective internal management processes, but will also add to perceptions of your value with your customers or client base.

3. Share the knowledge:

Be open and honest with yourself and amongst your fellow board or committee members. Work hard to make sure that the clarity you have is shared and understood by all. Keep good minutes, business records and accounts – share them and talk about them together. Don’t have a ‘closet controller’ at the table.

If you are in the not for profit sector, have a new service and a shiny new web site – use it to publish that ethical procurement policy, use it to explain where your profits go, use it to make sure your mission is evident in your strapline. Don’t assume we will know.

4. Suppress the ego:

Charismatic, energetic and driven project leaders are part of start-ups. The hunter-gatherer can be a great asset when looking for new markets and new product opportunities. Remember though, that in businesses of all kinds the more pastoral, contemplative team member also has their role to play and skill set to offer.

Be bold by all means, but don’t be a bully.

5. Accept the risk:

Risk is part of any entrepreneurial activity. It’s not why you do it, but processes, people and products are never infallible. If you have energetically and intelligently pulled together your team, implemented your processes and delivered your service, then you will also know when the nerve endings are starting to jangle as failure or missed targets approach.

Embrace that feeling and use that same energy to drive forward the next phase of your business development.

Accepting risk doesn’t mean you have to be an Horatio on the bridge, lonely sword in hand facing the ravenous horde as they approach. By sharing and being open you can reach out for advice and help…there’s plenty out there.

(SmithMartin LLP provide ethical business, governance and distribution advice and support across a wide range of social enterprise, charity and private sector businesses.

Our web service writes effective, income generating copy and provides fault free, secure, best value software and hardware solutions – we are your enterprise ‘in the cloud’).

Are we anaesthetising our children?

A question posed by Sir Ken Robinson, world renowned education and creativity expert and recipient of the Royal Society of the Art’s, Benjamin Franklin award in October 2010.

You can follow it in an animated version on RSA animate or through TED. He explains that; countries are all trying to reform public education.

It falls into two models, firstly, economic; how do we educate in the economy of the 20th century? Secondly, cultural; how do we educate for cultural identity whilst being part of a global world?

And the way this is happening is by meeting the future with what they did in the past! On the way we are alienating millions of kids who see no purpose in school.

What good is a university education? Of course it is good in its own right, but not if it marginalises everything you believe in.

Our UK system was built on the premise that it is paid for, compulsory and free. There were certain assumptions on social structure and academic capacity. Now, says Sir Ken, we need to wake children up to what they have inside of themselves. We are anaesthetising our children and dulling them down to learn what is directed.

An interesting argument, really good to watch and hard to do justice in a few words on a blog.

But following on from our blog before which points the way to a global access to free information, a gathering of publications without the reliance on paper, trillions of bytes of information.

Not an easy one for schools and colleges to move onto. We have sat in many places where the argument for status quo wins every time! It is less of a challenge than moving forward with an unpredictable model…

Is it scary stuff or a real WOW factor? wow