Creating a Social Media Framework for Charity

In light of unprecedented demand from our recent Third Sector working lunch on Social Media Frameworks, we repeated the event in London on March 28th. A packed room of 30 senior marketers from charities including Marie Curie, Diabetes UK, Greenpeace, CLIC Sargent and Practical Action attended. This reinforced our view that there is a desire amongst charities to rationalise their social communications and better define their objectives and associated KPIs.

The two-hour session comprised an introductory presentation on methods for delivering social media frameworks, followed by a lively debate on key challenges facing the gathered brands over a working lunch.

Senior Strategist, Kate Fitzpatrick, shared e3’s best practice example of implementing an organisation-wide model for Arthritis Research UK.


This included:

1) Defining a scope and context for social media delivery

2) Delivery of an actionable framework

3) Supported implementation

You can view the full presentation here.

Asked about the tangible impact of the Arthritis Research programme Kate explained, “There has been a significant improvement in the production of quality social content, most notably for the organisation. The team have a much clearer view on the performance of activity. A lot has changed, and is continuing to change internally.”


The ability to benchmark and track activity was something heavily referenced during the open discussion that followed, with three key topics debated:

1. The challenge of attaining senior stakeholder buy-in for additional investment

“It’s tricky being able to demonstrate the value of social media to stakeholders when they operate on a hard and fast stat basis; hard metrics like donations where social doesn’t always fit”, commented Jules Worrall, Assistant Director of Strategy, Insight and Operations at CLIC Sargent.

Echoing her point, others felt that often they understood the 121-relationship social could offer but that wasn’t enough if they couldn’t show a direct line to revenue. Following a considered framework helps to define the value of social communications and the quality of the traffic it generates.

2. Content creation and devolution

Everyone quickly got to the topic of content, and what it needs to look like in social today. The themes of storytelling and greater transparency continue to persist. A challenge for international aid agencies to access the right sources to generate authentic content from the ground was raised.

Some were actively looking to spread responsibility across content creators, who were essentially advocates not directly employed by the organisation, whilst others were nervous about losing control of their brand by allowing free content flow from the outside in. Plan International explained how they have created regional story teller roles for gathering first-hand information and writing it in an authentic yet brand-managed style to be shared from the central team. By contrast, other charities explained how they allow people on the ground to share social directly, which creates authentic voice but leaves the core messaging inconsistent at times. It was agreed that following a cohesive framework and associated playbook for everyone to follow would help to reduce such problems.

3. Knowing your audience

On the topic of truly understanding who it is you want to speak to or with, Barbara Stoll, Senior Campaigner at Greenpeace, added, “we humans are not very good at listening - as in, actually listening! At Greenpeace, we’re conducting a lot of support surveys through our social channels, with the predominant intention of discovering the best way of talking to our audience in their language. We’re not perfect but I feel that more organisations should be doing more to build that picture/persona.”

After much lively debate over lunch, the session concluded with a demonstration of Okey Dokey; an exciting new social media app we have recently launched. The tool has been designed to help organisations quickly approve time-critical content for social media. It gives a voice to the most powerful advocates and voices within an organisation to ensure more effective content is published.

Third sector organisations, such as British Heart Foundation, are using Okey Dokey to drive volunteer and colleague engagement by safely empowering them to contribute to social media. The tool unites content creators and content approvers in one dedicated workstream that ensures only on-brand content that people will enjoy and find interesting is published.

For more information about e3’s Social Media Model or to hear more about ways Okey Dokey could help your business manage these processes more swiftly and efficiently please get in touch.

Our next e3 Talks working lunch: Embracing Disruption Through Digital Innovation takes place in London on April 11th. Register now to book a place – only a few remain.