Why I quit as Head of Comms and what’s next…

I’ve worked as part of an incredible charity for almost ten years. I started out with Relationships Scotland as Development Manager back in 2007, became Digital Media Manager in 2010 and then landed the role of Head of Communications in 2013. The Head of Comms role was 14hrs per week and budget was limited… very limited.

Despite that, with the support of great staff, we managed to achieve an incredible amount – running successful campaigns both online and offline. The charity is front and centre when it comes to the big debates around reforming the family law system. The need for stronger relationship support services within Scotland is now on the political agenda in a way that it wasn’t before.

While I was working 14hrs per week as Head of Comms I was still spending the other half of my week with charities, social enterprises and communities groups across Scotland to help them get the most out of digital. In the last twelve months I’ve helped major funders up-skill grant holders to get digitally confident, I’ve given a range of charities beautiful, accessible websites they can be proud of, I’ve run a third sector digital senior leaders programme for SCVO and I’ve trained thousands of charity staff in digital and social media skills. This is something I’ve been doing since 2008. This is what I’m passionate about. From now on this is what I’ll be focused on full-time.

This is something I’ve been doing since 2008. This is what I’m passionate about. From now on this is what I’ll be focused on full-time.

I took the difficult decision to quit a senior role for a charity I love because I’m convinced these next few years are going to be critical for Scotland’s third sector and digital is going to be key. With ever-shrinking budgets and changed public expectations we can no longer ignore the potential offered by digital as way of delivering services, collaborating with our users, better understanding societal need and raising much needed funds. I want to make sure I have the time to be part of some of the amazing work going on across Scotland to get the third sector digitally confident.

At Third Sector Lab and Be Good Be Social I’m now working alongside a range of people to make this stuff happen – designers, developers, multimedia storytellers, animators, SEO & Google Adwords Grants experts, digital skills trainers and social media strategists. We’ve worked with a wide range of organisations, including Cosgrove Care, The RS MacDonald Charitable Trust, Big Lottery Fund, ACOSVO, SCVO, GCVS, The Alliance, Breast Cancer Care, Angus Council, NHS GGC, The Scottish Government and more to help them get the most out of digital.

So if you’d like us to help your organisation get to grips with all this give me a shout. Whether it’s a new website, delivering elements of a service using digital channels, making better use of data, training staff in use of social media, getting trustees excited about digital or if you’d just like a chat here’s how you can reach me:

I’m looking forward to working with more people across the third sector to ensure Scotland becomes a world-leader in the use of digital as a tool for social good.

All the slides from Social Media for Social Good | Glasgow, December 2014

Here’s all the slides from Scotland’s leading conference for people passionate about social media for social good. We’ll be back in May 2015 with a fresh line-up of workshops and speakers. Oh and a new title for the event itself, watch this space.

Sticky Content: Tons of content ideas for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, your blog and beyond
Ross McCulloch – Director, Third Sector Lab

Goal setting – Crafting a simple social media strategy
Leah Lockhart – Director, Relate Lab

Dads rock – Using Facebook, Twitter and more to engage dads, raise funds and campaign
Thomas Lynch – Project Coordinator, Co-founder and Trustee, Dads Rock

Young people online – Safety, privacy and policy for third sector organisations
Claire Connachan – Senior Communications Development Worker, Youth Scotland

Super storytelling – Using simple video & audio to transform your case studies
Rosie McIntosh – Communications Strategy Consultant, Third Sector Lab

#Icebucketchallenge lessons – How Facebook propelled MND Scotland’s biggest ever fundraising campaign

Iain McWhirter – Head of Fundraising and Volunteering at MND Scotland

#Indyref uncovered – Social media lessons from the Scottish Referendum campaign
Kevin Gilmartin – Digital Communications Officer at Glasgow University (Previously Digital Media Producer at Yes Scotland)

One man mission – How an award winning campaigner uses social media to raise awareness of dementia
Tommy Whitelaw – Project Engagement Lead, Health & Social Care Alliance Scotland

Building buzz – How social media could transform your next event
Sara Thomas – Event Coordinator at Beltane Fire Society

Perfect planning – Time and multi-channel management for busy people
Leah Lockhart – Director, Relate Lab

Search engine secrets – Using SEO for awareness raising, fundraising and more
Conrad Rossouw – Digital Manager at Shelter Scotland

Become a #socialmediasanta and give a homeless child a Christmas to remember

12th Dec is the final submission date for gifts.

For the last three years the good people of Twitter have come together to give homeless children across Scotland a Christmas to remember. Shelter Scotland have hundreds of boys and girls – aged from 6 months to 16 years – at their families projects who might not get a present this year. There’s over 4000 kids homeless in Scotland right now.

Us Twitter users can make a real difference to these children, so why not join us as a #SocialMediaSanta. Here’s how:

– Check out this year’s best books for kids, top toys and great games. Lots of which are under a tenner.

– Select an online retailer or support a local toy shop and pick a gift.

– If buying online: Add to Basket, use Shelter’s address at checkout (below) and add a wee message using the ‘gift’ option if available. Shelter Scotland would like to thank you personally for your gift.

– If buying in a local toy shop: Send to Shelter Scotland (address below) or drop it off at their office. Include ‘#socialmediasanta’ and your contact details on the outside of the parcel if possible. Shelter Scotland would like to thank you personally for your gift.

– Voila. You’ve made a kid who might not have otherwise got a present very happy this year.

Here’s the full address for Shelter Scotland, they’ll be distributing presents to the families projects in Glasgow, South Lanarkshire, Dumfries and Dundee:

Social Media Santa, Shelter Scotland, Scotiabank, 6 South Charlotte street, Edinburgh, EH2 4AW

I’m not sending out cheesy corporate gifts this year, instead I’ll be sending a present on behalf of each of my clients. Lets make it a really special Christmas. Help spread the word by sharing this blog post and using the #SocialMediaSanta hashtag across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Why not take a photo of the gift you bought and use the hashtag!

I’m now Head of Communications at Relationships Scotland

Well the post title says it all really. I now have the pleasure of working with national counselling, mediation and family support charity Relationships Scotland as their Head of Communications – two days per week.  I’m incredibly excited about this new position and look forward to getting started later this month.

I’ll be splitting my week between the Head of Comms role and my position as Director of Third Sector Lab. Things have grown considerably at Third Sector Lab – we now have a much bigger team providing social media training & strategy development, social media support for events and website design. We’ve also got a much-needed new website for the Lab in the pipeline. Here’s just a few of the organisations we feel privileged to call recent clients:

  • SCVO
  • Relate
  • Oxfam Scotland
  • Lifelink
  • Dunfermline Advocacy
  • SCLD
  • Inspiring Scotland
  • GCVS
  • The Conservation Volunteers
  • Voluntary Action Fund

As well as being an incredibly exciting role, the Head of Comms position with Relationships Scotland is really important from a business point of view. It keeps me grounded in the reality of the challenges Scottish charities face. Not every organisation has a whacking great comms budget and most certainly don’t have the privilege of a full-time comms team – that’s something we always bear in mind at Third Sector Lab.

I’m looking forward to connecting with lots of you in my new role at Relationships Scotland while continuing to develop the digital media work we do at Third Sector Lab.