06 Jul Jon Cartu Asserts: Charity Digital – Topics – How to run your own charity
As more and more charities start to deliver their services digitally and find virtual ways to communicate with donors, the webinar can be a trusty tool in any charity’s arsenal.
We’ve been running our own webinar programme for over 18 months, so we thought it might be worthwhile sharing some of what we’ve picked up from our audience, platforms and other webinerds along the way.
The world of charity webinars
The hardest part of embarking any new program or initiative is starting. It’s easy to get bogged down in the specifics and over-do planning meetings. There are only 4 things you need to get going:
1. An audience
As with any content, your audience is key to success. They can help you determine your topic, time and platform. It’s essential to make sure there’s interest in a webinar programme before you put in action. Speak to your audience, find out if they’re interested and if so, what is the best time, best platform and key topics or services they’d like to hear about?
2. A topic
If your webinars are for donors, then ask them what they’d liked to hear about. Lockdown has shown that donors can be charity’s most creative assets for content creation. They’ll not be short of an idea or two– be it a discussion with a service user who benefited from a donation or a seminar on what happens with a donation.
3. A time
Ask your audience what their time preferences are. This is a tough one, especially where services are concerned. Try and find the balance between flexibility and regularity. This might mean running 3 session a day at different times to be fully inclusive.
In our recent webinar with Thirtyone:Eight, they shared how they’d moved webinar training sessions to the evening to be more accessible and available to their service users. Similarly, for a donor audience we’ve found routine works best to increase engagement. If you’re survey comes back with a definitive time and date then stick to it until otherwise informed. Your audience will follow suit and start building into the daily, weekly or monthly routine
4. A place
Nope, not a physical building but your delivery mechanism. Most video conference platforms have webinar functionality. We use Zoom, it’s an easy-to-use and cost-effective platform but there are plenty of other platforms out their offering varying degrees of features and prices. Our advice would be to use a platform you’re familiar with and one that has a simple user experience for both you and the audience.
Things to consider when picking the platform are webinar production, sign-up experience and integration, security and data handling, automated email functionality (this is important for sharing join links) and the ability to record.
Moreover, all webinars need to be engaging. Make sure to consider what interactivity features are available to you. Polls, quizzes, slide sharing, video sharing Q&A’s, chat and social sharing are all ways to make online seminars more interactive.