Our Media Trust Volunteer experience: We received free expert digital marketing support

Katie Commons is the Head of Fundraising and Development for the Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants (ICRM). In need of some expert advice to develop a digital marketing strategy for her charity, she got in touch with Media Trust after discovering our free Volunteering Service. Through the service we connect charities in need of marketing and communications advice, mentoring or content creation with volunteers from across the media and creative industry. Katie shares her experience of being paired with her volunteer, Michael.

ICRM is a small organisation that works to support asylum seekers, refugees, and vulnerable migrants. We currently open three days a week, working with partners to support clients to access services on days that we are closed. We want our Centre to be a place where asylum seekers, refugees and migrants: feel safe and welcome; are supported to improve their physical and mental wellbeing; can come together with each other and the local community to build friendships and share stories.

Getting to grips with digital

We got in touch with Media Trust with the hope getting some communication support and advice as we had been looking for ways to improve our online presence. We are a very small organisation, and all but one member of staff (the CEO) work part-time. We understand that social media can both raise awareness of the issues that our clients face as well as support us in increasing vital donations but have found it difficult to get to grips with the principles of using social media, especially with our limited resources. We’ve also struggled as an organisation to develop a voice. What we really needed was the input of an expert.

ICRM works to create a strong, positive, community for people who have been displaced from their countries of origin due to persecution, war, and poverty.

Our Volunteer’s support

Media Trust put us in touch with our volunteer, Michael MacLennan, a Director at communications firm, Brunswick Group. Having held senior Content Producer positions at ITN and BBC, Michael is a digital expert and has a lot of experience in developing and implementing digital strategies. What was brilliant is he really took the time to understand our work, and its sensitivities, as well as our limited capacity. He put together a really helpful guide to social media, which had simple targets, suggested key activities, and had helpful KPIs for the first year of a trial social media strategy.

Increasing our reach

The impact of Michael’s work has been really positive – we now have a strategy to work on, and the full support of the Board, who were initially wary of this area of work. The strategy is very useful in that it is something that we can revisit and measure progress against.

We have tried to abide by it, although due to our limited capacity as a team sometimes it can be challenging. Despite this we know that it has put us on a much firmer footing for our digital marketing work going forward and Michael’s support has already started to enable us to increase our reach amongst the clients we support as well as prospective supporters.

You can find out more about accessing volunteer support for your charity here. If you are a media and creative professional, you can find out more about becoming a volunteer here

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