Last International Women’s Day, just a few weeks prior to the whole country going into a national lockdown, I got on a train and went down to London with a group of us from Clicky to attend the Media Trust’s annual Women’s Voices event.
This event brings together 30 charities that support, campaign and advocate for women, girls and those who identify as female, with 150 volunteers that give their time to focus on ways to help and support these charities through media and creativity.
Last year I thoroughly enjoyed the event and felt like it was such a rewarding experience. I couldn’t wait to sign up to this year’s event. This year there was no exciting trip down to London and instead everything was done over Zoom. I have to admit I was expecting the event not to match up with last year’s event with it being remote, but I think I’d even go as far as saying I enjoyed this years just as much and if not more than last years!
Before the event you are matched with a charity based on your skills and experience. You are provided with a brief stating who your charity is and what they want to get out of the session. This year for the first time they had a briefing session before the event giving advice on how you should prepare for the event and to answer any questions. I made sure I’d thoroughly read the brief and researched my charity, exploring their website and social media accounts. The charity I was matched with this year was Wish, a user-led mental health charity that provides long-term, gender-specific and trauma-informed support and advocacy to women on their journey through secure hospital and prison and into the community.
On the day of the event I joined the biggest Zoom meeting I’ve ever been in, just short of 200 people!
We were welcomed by Media Trust’s CEO Su-Mei Thompson. Then followed by the keynote speaker Onjali Rauf, best-selling author and founder of the NGO Making Herstory, a women’s rights organisation tackling the abuse and trafficking of women and girls around the world. Onjali’s talk was so moving and inspiration and really got everyone in the mood to really make the most out of the day by making a difference.
After the talks we were split into our charity breakout rooms – Zoom rooms, within Zoom rooms. Definitely top marks for the tech team! Each team had no more than 4 volunteers, including a team leader, responsible for making sure we all stayed on track and got the most out of our session. The volunteers on my team were all really friendly and put any nerves I had at ease. Each member of the team had a different skill and expertise to bring to the team.
There were two representatives from Wish who gave us a really in depth overview of the amazing work Wish does for women. They are only a small team, 8 of them in total, 6 of which are part time which but the charity has a strong set of supporters considering their size. Following an internal restructure and an upcoming rebrand Wish were looking for our advice and guidance on setting up a supporter strategy and content strategy.
A lot of charities really struggle with the resource they have available. It’s often one person’s job to do everything when it comes to marketing, therefore the ideas and actions that we came up with would save that person a lot of work.
We also had to keep budget in mind. As small charities just don’t have the money for extra resource or anything that might be expensive to run.
Flipcharts weren’t really going to work virtually so instead we turned to Miro, which worked perfectly. It’s an online visual collaboration software, something we’ve used a lot at Clicky during lockdown. We spent around half an hour all writing our ideas on virtual post it notes. We had the rule that no idea was a bad idea which is so important in these sorts of meetings as everyone should feel comfortable voicing their opinions and ideas. The board was flowing with ideas which we then went through in turn and discussed them with the charity. The charity were so pleased with some of our ideas. We finished the session off by putting together a 1,3,6 month action plan for them to take away.
We ended the day by regrouping all together and 3 of the teams were chosen to present their ideas. It was great to hear about the other charities taking part and the ideas other teams had come up with.
I had such a brilliant and rewarding day. It was so nice to be able to help these charities and to get their feedback on how much time we had saved them and that our creativity had given them ideas they’d never thought about. Wish has said they will keep in touch with the team and I can’t wait to hear how they get with their new supporter and content strategy.
From a personal development prospective I feel like the day really boosted my confidence. It’s quite daunting being put into a team of people you don’t know and aren’t used to working with, but my team were so encouraging and we were all made to feel valued and appreciated. I can’t wait for next year!