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Could hyperlocal social networks transform how your charity reaches people?

If you’ve been to one of my social media workshops you’ll hear me banging on about the need to go to where your audiences are. I really cannot emphasise this enough. It’s great that you have a 500 Likes on your Facebook Page or 3000 Twitter Followers but if your key audience is single parents living in Inverness where are they congregating online right now?

With that in mind I asked Joe Cockerline at Streetlife to guest blog his thoughts on how charities can use his site to connect to local people. This isn’t a paid-for post, while Joe is talking specifically about Streetlife the lessons apply equally to local forums, Facebook Groups, etc.

These days, a social media presence is a given for any charity. Facebook and Twitter are the obvious candidates for reaching people en masse, but the trouble is the majority of people who see your updates already know about your charity.

For charities operating on a local scale, it can be more valuable to connect with those in the local community who don’t already follow your social media channels. Every one of these people is a potential supporter and, with the cost of printed publicity materials so high, it’s becoming harder than ever to reach them.


Is there another way?


Streetlife is a British social network for local communities. Used by more than 800,000 people and 2,800 charities across Britain, Streetlife works by connecting people within their neighbourhoods – there are no friends lists or followers, just open conversation at a community level. Below are five of the key ways that charities are using Streetlife to connect with their local communities:


1. Finding new volunteers

Recruiting volunteers is always going to be a challenge for any charity. 74% of Streetlife users are aged 40+, representing a settled, community-minded group, who have free time and are prepared to give back to a local cause.


2. Sharing news and updates

Charities are using Streetlife to share news updates beyond their established followership on other social networks. This means local people are kept informed and raises your charity’s profile within the community.


3. Publicising events

From bake sales to raffles, small-scale events are the cornerstone of fundraising for many local charities. Local residents are the people who attend these events, and sharing upcoming events on Streetlife helps raise awareness within the community and boosts attendance.


4. Attracting support for campaigns

The kindness of strangers never ceases to surprise, and you’d be surprised what members of the local community are prepared to help out with. Streetlife users have donated furniture, offered to fundraise and helped to spread the word about charity campaigns in the past.


5. Establishing a presence in the local community

Any charity is much more likely to gain traction and support in the local community if it’s viewed as a real part of that community, rather than just a shop front on the high street or a logo on a leaflet. Streetlife allows charities to have a voice in the community and gives them the chance to offer help and advice to fellow residents.

For a charity, of any size and scope, forming meaningful connections with the local community is always going to be a challenge. Streetlife represents another tool in a local charities’ arsenal, a way to attract support among an important, and too often overlooked group. Namely, your neighbours.

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