Social media isn’t the preserve of larger, more tech-savvy charities. In fact, it can help even the smallest charities drive change and engage with their grassroots supporter base.
Loneliness is bad for your health. Studies have shown that loneliness can increase your chances of depression, sleep disorders, and metabolic dysfunction. While everyone feels lonely sometimes, chronic loneliness can be made worse over the holidays. During Christmas this year, social media grassroots movements made it easier for care leavers to join up, and have a brilliant time out. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram were alight with images and videos, energising the local supporter base.
What’s in a grassroots social media movement?
Loosely, a grassroots social media movement is a strategic charity digital marketing campaign aimed at a niche audience. The aim is to spark an on-the-ground movement – to energise the supporter base to do more. The key focus for a grassroots social media campaign is audience and intent. Charity digital marketing experts thinking of launching a grassroots social media campaign could turn to Wordstream, an online advertising agency for some useful tips:
Remember, for charity digital leaders and marketers, making the message easy to share can enhance the speed of movement.
Endearing ideas empower supporters
The story behind local care leaver Christmas dinners is special. Lemn Sissay, English author, poet, broadcaster and MBE, was in care when he was a baby. Since his triumph in arts, the author has set up his own charity with an idea that has since snowballed.
“Christmas Day can be a very difficult day for young care-leavers,” he said.
“For some of us, going home for Christmas is a pain and there are arguments and dysfunction.”
The Gold from the Stone Foundation, the poet’s charity, was set up to provide Christmas dinners to care leavers. Launched formally in 2017, Christmas dinners have been rolled out in big cities across the country with the foundation’s support.
The dinners themselves are arranged by local volunteers forming a Steering Group. In September, local supporters join up with the foundation to plan the event. The focus is on creating a curated event.
Mr Sissay says that: "It’s all about the detail - the cards written to that person, the presents chosen for that person so they have that joy and surprise and the thing they’d always wanted, like a pair of football boots. It’s about spreading that joy."
Social media spreads the excitement
Even more touching has been how the Christmas care leaver dinners has inspired Quilts for Care Leavers. From Leeds, Maggie Lloyd Jones, a solicitor had been part of her area’s Christmas dinner. Using Facebook to call out to like-minded quilters, she started the grassroots social media group Quilts for Christmas Dinners and Quilts for Care Leavers.
Responding to children in care, she explained: “When you were 12 and were placed in children’s’ homes no one hugged you and a hug is all you wanted. I had a Eureka moment. So I set up two Facebook pages. One is an open page called Quilts for Christmas Dinners and a closed group which you can request to join called Quilts for Care Leavers.”
In preparation for the annual Christmas dinners, Quilts for Care Leavers collects quilts from all over the country to be gifted to care leavers as part of the dinner.
Good times are shared on social media with like-minded groups. The Hackney Xmas dinner Twitter account started in 2016 and has been running events for 3 years now. Images posted by volunteers and attendees show the decorations and individual place settings, creating emotive images to drive more engagement from the supporter base.