True Type | Changing the world with social media
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Changing the world with social media

If you’re involved in any capacity with a non-profit, social enterprise or community organisation, by now you may have heard of or been lucky enough to attend Change The World.

Organised by Hancock Creative, this free and value-packed annual event originated in Perth and now also takes place in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and New Zealand, bringing together cause-based organisations and experts in social media and digital marketing.

I attended Change The World in 2018 with Mary Erceg from Lupus WA, around the time I started to provide pro-bono communications support to the board of Lupus WA, which serves a cause that’s close to my heart.

Both Mary and I were keen to learn more about social media and how it could be used by Lupus WA to raise awareness of lupus in the WA community and to provide information about support groups, medical research and advocacy efforts.

Here’s a summary of my key takeaways from Change The World which I often reflect on:

  • If you’re a social enterprise, non-profit or community group, you need to start thinking of yourself as a commercial venture and be ready for disruption in the sector – with less government funding and corporate sponsorship dollars likely to be available, you need to consider ways to collaborate and share resources.
  • Think about what you COULD do if you weren’t afraid, then re-frame your perceived ‘deficiencies’ as your super powers and communicate them.
  • You don’t need to pick a fight, just pick a side and ensure your communications are evidence-based.
  • Build an engaged audience by telling your origin story and ensure your communications include the five V’s – your vision, voice, value, variety and vulnerability.
  • Manage your risks and maximise your results – it’s possible to turn a negative into a positive outcome and its essential to have a social media plan that documents your goals, audience, content, resources, growth strategy, risk management and results.
  • You need to innovate and be creative to stay current, so ensure you give yourself and your team TIME to think more expansively.
  • Innovation and diversity go hand in hand, so bring others in, including ‘naïve experts’, and spend time with your end users.

Since attending Change The World, I joined the board of Lupus WA and now have a greater appreciation of the challenges faced by small non-profits, particularly those who work with very limited resources and don’t receive any government funding.

Change The World reinforced the value of social media as a highly effective way for organisations with limited budgets to reach more people and have a bigger impact, so long as they know how to make the most of this valuable marketing channel.