Create interesting content on a shoestring

  • Many small charities don’t produce strong content for their social channels because it is not a priority
  • Content doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming to create
  • Spending time thinking about and planning content can help focus resources and goals

Many small charities struggle to create content. They don’t have the time, budget or skills. Content is just not a priority when there are so many other things to do.

However, in our digital age content is crucial.

Strong, engaging and interesting content can drive fundraising, attract and build relationships with supporters and even deliver services.

In a busy marketplace, producing regular content is crucial to remind people you exist and are making a difference.

Content is not just words in a Facebook post, tweet, email or web page, but also images and video. Content can be factual but also humorous, topical, or use storytelling.

Social media channels need material to give people something to talk about, share and interact with. This post looks at four quick and low-cost content ideas that your charity should consider.

1. User-generated content

Do your beneficiaries have experiences to share? Their stories can be more powerful than content written by you. Take a look at #MyUnfilteredLife from See Me Scotland or NHS Organ Donation’s Facebook posts. These organisations have created a culture where people want to share their story.

2. Promoting content from your archive

Think about the material in your archive or on your website, how could you use it in a new or different way?

For example, if you have a blog, are there stories you could re-use or revisit to show progress? Or could you re-share them in a different way as part of Twitter # days such as #wednesdaywisdom or #throwbackthursday?

Could you use existing content in a new or topical way? This short video on Twitter by DiabetesUK shows images of food and a link to their web page about cooking for yourself at university, promoted in time for the new academic year.

3. Content curation

Telling your story through other people’s voices via your different assets can be much more powerful than simply writing a web article. Free sites such as storify.com allow you to gather material from different channels to illustrate an event, topic or theme.

For example, NSPCC used social media to show people what they do. Rather than directing people to their ‘about us’ page they asked a series of challenging questions on their social channels to get people talking.

Afterwards, they curated all the material using storify.com, creating a permanent record of the process. This document is more engaging and approachable than a corporate statement explaining what they do. Take a look: NSPCC helps children and families.

Content curation works well around a theme or an event. It could also be a way to gather lots of elements from a particular project or campaign. See Tenovus Cancer Care at 70 on storify or Water Aid’s Period Drama.

4. Quick content

Social media content can be more informal, disposable and topical than content for other channels. If it is right for your brand and audience, a tweet about the weather or Great British Bake Off can work well.

Why not take a photo or make a simple video on your phone – see Scope’s congratulations video. You could also comment on or share someone else’s story or simply say good morning.

There’s always room to be creative and have fun. See Orkney Library’s use of emojis.

Saying thank you or sharing a success helps to build relationships with supporters. Include an image to make it more personal. See this Trussell Trust thank you message.

There are lots of free tools (such as Canva) that can help you produce interesting images.