Third Sector Lab’s Social Media Strategist speaks to @RevolverPR

Take 5 with … Martin Keane

Take Five - Martin Keane Credit photo to Paul Jackson

Who am I?

I am Movement Builder with OneKind, a leading animal protection charity. It is my job to be first port of call for our supporters, ensuring that the organisation is moving forward for them and that they feel involved in our campaigns.

Digital media has helped us engage people on issues such as snaring and wild animal circuses, harnessing support from across the globe. The main part of my time is spent building a digital following for us, however, in recent weeks I have now started to look at ways we can mobilise supporters offline too.

What inspires me?

I am inspired by my wife and the impending arrival of our baby daughter in August, building this family together gives me heart in all I do. It makes me want to get up in the morning and be the very best that I can for them. Their presence in my life makes me recognise how important it is to have love and support. I feel I can literally do anything, because my wife and bump believe in me no matter what.

What could digital be used to address?

Digital can be harnessed to break down the gaps between various levels of society and make tangible social change. I was truly inspired to hear the story of Eric Sheptock in Washington D.C. recently. Eric is homeless, but utilises Facebook, Twitter and his blog to discuss the issues homeless people face and harnesses these digital channels to raise awareness.

Eric puts his points across on topical issues and his arguments are well informed, quashing any notions that his writing may not be worth checking out. Through his blog he has actually managed to give a voice to the homeless community of D.C. at large and bring issues to the attention of those who can make a difference. Eric aims to make basic housing a realised human right for all. I think this is the perfect example to hold up to people to illustrate just how important digital and social media can be, it can really drive social change and give a voice to those who have never had one before.

Who/What is the next big thing?

I could pick some faddy bit of tech here, but it is without doubt Be Good Be Social for me. Ross McCulloch has masterminded an event which doesn’t even feel like an event. It truly feels like some friends getting together and discussing how digital can take the third sector forward.

We will see the second Be Good Be Social on 7th April and I can truly say that it will become the highlight of the third sector digital calendar. The buzz around the event on Twitter has never died down, people are constantly engaging and sharing using the hashtag. The conversation has never stopped since the very first event in October.

There is lots more to come from Ross and Be Good Be Social. I can see a world of possibilities for ensuring that not only the Scottish third sector, but not for profits everywhere continue to reap the benefits of the knowledge being shared. Perhaps, some new digital ventures for the sector may emerge too.
I guess it really goes back to my belief that digital really can have positive ramifications for change in society.

Best advice I was ever given?

I was told to always be confident in myself by Meg Dunn (my marketing lecturer at university). If you don’t have confidence in yourself, you can’t very well expect others to have any in you.

In five years time….

I intend to be spending a great deal of time with my wife and daughter, hopefully enjoying life in a nice rural location. Maybe the Lake District? I think no matter what I am doing professionally, that will make sure that I am happier than I could ever imagine being.

Don’t dare call us ‘big society’

One year on from David Cameron’s launch, Scotland still doesn’t seem to have fully embraced the “big society” concept. It’s not that we’re a nation of dullards who cannot grasp such lofty ideas. It’s not because we think the government ought to control every element of Scottish life. And it’s overly-simplistic to cite Scotland’s perceived disdain for all things Tory. As Antonia Swinson, CEO of Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition, puts it we’d rather “leave the English to their spirited debate about whether the ‘big society’ represents inspirational and long awaited reform” while we get on with the business of actually “shifting accepted norms of Scotland’s public service delivery in whatever way we can”.

Swinson’s comments may be blunt but party-political they are not. She’s not saying we need to specifically steer clear of Tory rhetoric, but rather that, as we’re geographically and politically miles away from the big society Westminster beach ball, us Scots can concentrate on developing a meaningful model of civil society. Whether we call it big society is neither here nor there.

Civil society, in its true sense, has had something of a resurgence and social media is allowing that to happen. While councils and other public sector bodies have been slow to react to the growth of social media, networks of citizens linked by a common cause have grown up organically. Social media is taking the place of the town hall by providing a space to share ideas and make things happen. Non-profits are beginning to realise that they can move beyond clicktivism to genuine activism if they spend time building a movement online.

As Rosie McIntosh, Oxfam Scotland’s media and new media officer, puts it: “I hear talk of apathy, but I don’t see it. People care. People speak out, even on issues that are never likely to affect them directly.”

Oxfam Scotland’s Citizen Journalist Network has allowed the charity to think about campaigning and communicating in a new way. It’s not about them telling people what to think and do, it’s about ordinary people speaking up about the poverty and injustice they see in the world. Citizen journalists are Oxfam’s eyes and ears on the ground and that’s incredibly valuable. Importantly, the standard of the writing and the complexity of the arguments that are presented through the network aren’t your usual Daily Mail keyboard warrior fodder. The effort put in by each citizen journalist in the network is anything but clicktivism.

Similarly, animal protection charity OneKind have been building up a movement of like-minded individuals loosely connected through Facebook and Twitter. OneKind’s supporters have had their say on big issues; they sent some 6500 emails to MSPs asking for a ban on snares after OneKind simplified the process via social media channels. When people were outraged by Edinburgh Zoo’s plans to cull three healthy Red River Hog piglets Onekind launched an immediate Twitter campaign against the zoo, using the #savethehogs tag. Within hours the tag had been used thousands of times and the zoo made a u-turn on their decision.

It’s not just big organisations using social media to redefine big society. Some of the best examples come from small community groups influencing real change at a local level. When the council ran a budget consultation which many locals perceived as skewed, Greener Leith, a local residents’ group, responded with an alternative online poll. Greener Leith have also used social media to crowd source ideas to help people leave their cars at home — leading to the local council investing hundreds of thousands of pounds to make it happen. In a similar vein, the North Kelvin Meadow Campaign and Cumbernauld House Trust have successfully used social media to bring together local residents in an attempt to, respectively, save local green space and a historical building from developers.

Be Good Be Social, Scotland’s first social media gathering for charities, social entrepreneurs and community groups has become a showcase and laboratory for these successes. What’s clear from the Be Good Be Social discussions online and at the events is that real movements emerge naturally. Civil society action comes from the grassroots. It can’t be imposed from above by a Westminster policy. While David Cameron might like to claim it as his legacy, we know that, in Scotland at least, a thriving third sector is in our hands. Just don’t dare call us big society.

Comments welcome over at:…

Seriously, don’t give

Stuart Glen, Director of Fundraising at OneKind, has written an exclusive guest blog post on using Twitter to broadcast rather than connect with your supporters…

This #CharityTuesday, I tried something different. I asked followers on Twitter not to give.


I remembered the Oakwood School Don’t Give video from the US (see below) and wondered could the messaging be repeated in the UK? Could it be replicated on Twitter? No strategy. No masterplan. Just curious.


Well, after 28 tweets later [great name for a film], what did I learn? Was it successful? Ultimately, no. I didn’t receive one additional donation in support of my fundraising efforts. I lost three followers on the day; goodness knows how many others I annoyed and/or muted my stream.

Reverse psychology is nothing new, so why didn’t it work? Other than the obvious fact I’m not Steve Carell or J.K. Simmons. My view is that somewhere between the medium and the execution it fell down.

Twitter succeeds when users establish relationships and enter into two-way conversations. This exercise highlighted for me the failings of users (many of them charities) that do nothing but broadcast. Throughout the day I didn’t engage with loyal followers that commented on my different approach to Twitter that morning. Even when the negative bombardment abated, the inevitable switch to a more positive ask felt clumsy, cold and corporate – preachy even. Someone with a lot more finesse than I may make this work, and I’d love to know if any UK charities have tried this approach already.

My Don’t Give #CharityTuesday has passed and normal service has resumed. Oh look, dancing cartoon badgers. 


@stuglen’s take on #BeGoodBeSocial for UK Fundraising

Last night saw the inaugural #BeGoodBeSocial at the fabulous Melting Pot, Edinburgh. The brainchild of Ross McCulloch of Third Sector Lab, #BeGoodBeSocial brought together 50 Third Sector professionals interested in using social media for social good – the tartan equivalent of the #nfptweetup if you like.

The programme consisted of an opening presentation from Martin Keane, Movement Builder with OneKind, a young, dynamic and pioneering charity celebrating the wonder of animals and reconnecting people with animals. Martin is believed to be first full-time social media employee in a Scottish charity and wants to use social media to empower people and build a passionate movement through authentic two-way conversations.

Those present then had the choice of two workshops – either ‘Kicking off a conversation about fundraising through networks’ with Steve Bridger or ‘Social entrepreneurs and technology’ with Snook. Steve, an acclaimed consultant who has worked with various high profile charities across the UK, suggested that Twitter was a vital tool for fundraisers. Snook, the team behind MyPolice, hosted a practical workshop on how social entrepreneurs can embrace social media and how they, Snook, are fermenting the revolution in Scotland!

Rosie McIntosh ended the evening sharing Oxfam Scotland’s plans for a Citizen Journalism network which provoked an interesting reaction and in-depth discussion. Oxfam Scotland hopes the Citizen Journalism programme will offer key supporters a way to engage beyond clicktivism.

What struck me last night, was that this felt different; different to traditional conferences or seminars. Yes, #BeGoodBeSocial combined presentations, case studies, practical workshops and networking opportunities, but it was presented in a relaxed, friendly, collaborative environment. Perhaps the feeling was best summed up in a tweet from Steve Bridger, “Tweetups vs conferences – people actually want to be here, and to share.”

#BeGoodBeSocial undoubtedly whetted the appetite of the Third Sector is Scotland. The demand is there. The event was streamed live on the internet and the Twitter-feed showed the breadth of the audience involved in the conversation [NB. All resources from #BeGoodBeSocial, including all the presentations, are available from the website]

But what now for #BeGoodBeSocial? I, like many of the attendees, would like to see #BeGoodBeSocial evolve into a regular tweet-up; but is it fair that the burden of work should fall on one man? Ross McCulloch deserves an immense amount of respect and admiration for putting together the inaugural event – what we witnessed last was game-changing.

Last night’s event would not have been possible without the support The Melting Pot, Green City Whole Foods and of course, Third Sector Lab.

Stuart Glen (@stuglen) is Director of Fundraising at OneKind

Martin Keane is a self-confessed social (media) animal

I’m a social (media) animal

Posted by Martin Keane on Wednesday, October 13, 2010 · 1 Comment (Edit)

Since an early age I felt that I had to choose a path which made a difference, in recent years I came to realise that this had to centre on helping people realise that animals must be treated with greater respect. They feel emotion just like us.

I will never forget the feeling I had when I saw the advert for a “Movement Builder” at OneKind in New Media Age a few months back. It was just like those moments in movies when the heavens open up and the light shines upon one lucky person. I simply had to be this mysteriously titled Movement Builder.

Social media appeals to me in a big way; I am what you might call a Social Media Enthusiast and what my wife might call a Social Media Addict. I love the level of interaction social media can bring and the power this can place in the hands of organisations using it properly.

Digital media is a component key in OneKind’s engagement strategy for spreading the conversation, building the movement and empowering our supporters. We have embraced a number of tools, including “They’re Here”. What this will do for OneKind is game changing.

I aim to create (and be part of) a powerful and proactive network of supporters with a shared interest. This is a unique role and a fantastic opportunity to build a mass movement, who will share our values and embrace the OneKind lifestyle. Just the job for a social [media] animal.

I look forward to sharing my experiences with you all at Be Good Be Social and encouraging you to take a similar journey with your organisations.

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ross McCulloch, Third Sector Forums, The Melting Pot, Martin Keane, Oxfam Scotland and others. Oxfam Scotland said: Great post from @onekind on Social media for charities #begoodbesocial ^rm […]

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