What does it take to be a Social CEOs award winner?
Lucy Caldicott is the CEO of UpRising, which is a UK-wide youth leadership development organisation. She also sits on the board of the Fundraising Regulator and is Vice Chair of Fair for You Ltd. Lucy has been a Social CEOs Awards judge since the inception of the awards in 2013. Here she shares how the awards have changed over the years, what she looks for in the winners and what it means to be a social CEO.
Now in its fifth year, the Social CEOs Awards shines a light on CEOs and leaders in the sector who understand the value of social media and are using it to raise awareness of their charity, connect with supporters, volunteers and staff and break down barriers. The awards are the brainchild of Zoe Amar of Zoe Amar Communications and Matt Collins of Platypus Digital and Lightful is delighted to be a sponsor of this year’s awards.
Why are the Social CEOs Awards so important?
The wonderful thing about these awards is that it highlights how amazing social media is and it allows us to talk about what’s good practice and not. These awards have raised the profile of the issue of getting CEOs and senior staff using social media as part of their roles. As the awards have grown over the years, it’s given those working in digital (at any level) to start a conversation with their CEO to say,” this is what we need to be doing and here are some examples of your peers doing it well”. The awards are a great leveller because it doesn’t matter what size your charity is, there is no barrier to entry as it’s free.
How has the calibre of nominations changed over the years?
People now have a better sense of what good social media is and what it means. For example, we’ve moved beyond evaluating a CEO on just one channel. At the beginning of the Awards, it was likely the nominations were only about a presence on Twitter but now it’s multi-faceted. We are seeing a lot more varied content and platform; the nominations we have looked at this year include YouTube, blog posts and other social media platforms. It’s moved immensely from being more ‘broadcast’ and simply retweeting the charity account to CEOs showing their whole, authentic self. And, of course there have been many more entries this year as more CEOs and leaders have embraced social media and the opportunities it can bring to not just their charities but to themselves too.
What do you look for in a social CEO?
I make a private list on Twitter of my nominations, so I can look at their tweets throughout the judging process. This allows me to see a range of their content and the frequency of their posts. I’m looking for an interesting variety of content – not just RTs. I look for evidence of their own viewpoints and whether they speak about more than just their own charity’s issues. Social media is about bringing your unique perspective to the world – your social presence is not just a mouth piece. It’s about how you connect with supporters and staff alike and showing a bit of yourself. It’s both an internal and external communications tool and can be very powerful. When I was Director of Fundraising at CLIC Sargent, being connected to regional staff on Twitter allowed us to talk on a more personal level, when we met face-to-face. It’s a great tool to get to know your peers and colleagues.
What advice would you give to CEOs looking to be nominated next year?
My top advice would be to really think about your audience and what is interesting to them. Think about issues that you, in your unique position, can share. I’d encourage CEOs and leaders to see it as not just part of your job but simply as part of life. As a CEO myself, I personally find social media very enriching as I learn something every day from reading articles, opinions or views from the people that I follow.
What’s your top social media tip for leaders?
Be yourself! That’s exactly what social media is – it allows you to be yourself so don’t be afraid to show off aspects of your personality and private life. Of course, this doesn’t mean sharing everything though. Just put yourself in other people’s shoes, think about what they would find useful, interesting and insightful and see how your content lands. Put yourself in the mind of the recipient.
Were there any nominations that stood out for you and why?
Yes, those where you get a really strong sense of their personality. They don’t just talk about their cause but about a range of topics. You can tell that social media is part of their lives, not just part of their job.
The COVID pandemic has created an urgent need for nonprofits to rapidly scale up digital advocacy and digital fundraising. Organisations need to be reaching their supporters where they are, and in 2021… they are online. A rapidly changing world post-pandemic demands new approaches to engaging the public and winning their support.
Last year the COVID-19 pandemic created challenges across many sectors, but especially for nonprofits, many of which were previously reliant upon in-person events and more traditional means of fundraising. At Lightful, we’ve been working with charities to understand how the pandemic has affected the sector and what’s become evident is that digital fundraising skills are vital in adapting to the ‘new normal’ that has emerged following the pandemic.
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