Constituency dialogue and involvement
As defined in our Communications Strategy 2010-2015, storytelling forms the basis of our communications in all of our outputs and events. Our websites and social media highlight the stories of many different children, whether written or filmed, throughout the year.
Open communication about our work, results and the people involved
War Child took a number of steps to become more open about our work and improve our communication about our results in 2013, including:
organising a live chat in our Facebook chat room with War Child head office and field staff once every three months. We kicked off with Country Director Ans de Jager in Uganda, followed by chats with War Child staff in Lebanon and in the Netherlands. The chats resulted in the acquisition of a small group of dedicated social media friends, who not only attended the chats, but also spread the War Child message. Will continue organising chats in 2014 and will also explore possibilities for engaging different target groups, such as Business Friends, in the chats;
communicating more intensively on our emergency response projects for Syrian children in Lebanon by introducing War Child staff members Samir Chalhoub and Minou Hexspoor as online spokespeople on Twitter and Facebook. The shared many updates on our programmes in Lebanon for Syrian refugee children, resulting into great reach, interaction and even press visits in Lebanon. We also organised two live Facebook chats with our staff in Lebanon;
sharing updates about children in our programmes through a pilot initiative using social media. The public was able to follow Yasmin and Kareem, Syrian refugees in Lebanon, as we shared updates about their lives through their eyes in Dutch and English. Later, a third child, Maryam, was also introduced online;
encouraging more War Child staff to start sharing War Child’s work on social media by distributing example posts during campaigns or important activities. We will further stimulate the participation of War Child staff in social media in 2014;
facilitating visits from ambassadors Marco Borsato and Jetske van den Elsen to our field programmes. During their travels they shared their experiences through social media posts (Marco in DR Congo) and through blogs (Jetske in Lebanon);
investing in live Twitter reporters during events. In this way, the general public could follow what was going on even if they did not attend, giving us the opportunity to reach even more people with information about our activities and work. For example Twitter reporters were active during the Dutch Postcode Lottery awards gala,(‘Goed Geld Gala’), Friends meet Friends events for individual donors, events attended or organised by War Child at the EU or UN, and the Kampala conference on the reintegration of children affected by conflict;
providing excellent web care. Our web care was extremely active and responsive throughout the year, especially during ‘538 voor War Child’ action week. We even got compliments via Twitter for it!
piloting to-the-minute reporting on an innovation project in Uganda, WoMap, through Pif-World, an open source community. War Child staff member in Uganda Ernst Suur also started blogging on www.viva.nl about the situation of young women in Uganda who can benefit from this project. We hope the project can start in June 2014, when the amount needed for implementation has been generated through crowd funding;
increasing our communication on lessons learnt by giving them a more central place in the annual report and on our annual report website. Communication on the results published in the Annual Report 2012 was also successfully extended through the use of Facebook and Twitter. We reached 100,491 people through twenty posts on Facebook, resulting in 553 likes, shares and/or comments, and 187 new likes on our Facebook page. We also posted thirty-six tweets in Dutch, and thirty-four tweets in English, resulting in 144 retweets and 155 new followers on Twitter. One in ten of our Twitter followers visited the www.annualreportwarchild.org website through Twitter. We also organised a live chat with War Child staff on Facebook about our 2012 results.
Meeting our constituency in person
Complementary to our online approach, War Child invited partners from the SME segment, Business Ambassadors, and individual private donors to small scale personal events, such as ‘Friends meet Friends’ meetings in The Hague, Groningen and Soesterberg, which included presentations and activities from our work, in addition to business friends meetings and Business Ambassadors events. These events allow our constituencies to get to know us better and learn about our work in more detail and become more engaged.
Input from our constituency
Questions, remarks or complaints about our work or communication, whether by phone, mail, and social media or in person, all receive a personal reply, including why and how feedback may or may not be used. We approach feedback with an open mind; good ideas are welcomed and put in practice where possible.
Social media are essential in sharing War Child’s story and our work. Sharing up to date content, live reporting, responding to our constituents, and creating the possibility for people to engage and interact with War Child through social media have proven to be effective in 2013. Our pro-active approach to social media resulted in an increase in online Facebook friends and Twitter followers, and a growth in constituency engagement (shares, retweets, likes, comments). Ambassadors and online spokespeople can also play an important role in increasing our constituency’s engagement through our online activities. In 2014, we will look to involve them even more in the online #warchild movement.
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