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Getting strategic with your social media

August 16, 2018

An abstract bundle of wooden board game cubes that also spell out the word 'like'In our personal lives, getting more out of social media usually involves looking at cute photos of piglets, or watching videos of babies having hysterical laughing fits. But how should charities and other voluntary or community sector organisations be using social media? Is it simply a tool for publicising the work you do, or can it help you achieve your organisation’s strategic objectives? 

When you start using social media on behalf of your organisation, it’s easy to get caught up in ‘vanity’ metrics such as likes, comments, shares and retweets. And I think it’s important to focus on these at first, to get an idea of what kind of content your audience does and doesn’t like.

However, once you’ve reached the point where you can effectively manage your social media channels, metrics such as comments and shares can start to lose their meaning, and it’s hard to translate them into real benefits for your organisation.

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How community ownership can ‘unloch’ the potential of local land

August 14, 2018

Loch and the sky above, with a wooden sign reading "Castle Loch Walk" and "Castle Lochmaben"The heart-shaped Castle Loch in Lochmaben is right at the heart of Dumfriesshire, and certainly has a warm place in the hearts of its residents. To mark Community Land Week 2018, in this guest blog Darren Flint tells us how community ownership of the loch has created new opportunities for locals and increased visitor numbers…  

In 2013 there were rumblings that the site was coming up for sale and the communities of Lochmaben, Royal Four Towns and Templand saw an opportunity, which they seized with both hands.

This initial chatter around the Royal Burghs snowballed following their enquiry to the helpful staff at the Scottish Land Fund, which boosted their confidence about what could be achieved. Lots of community consultation and legal stuff followed, culminating with the Scottish Land Fund awarding £198,500 of funding for the community purchase of this historic and wildlife-rich site.

I entered the scene in early 2014 as the site’s Project Officer. I wear many hats: habitat management to community engagement, encouraging volunteering through to media and promotion. These hats are certainly mixed, and designed to both protect the site and help the local community bring their vision to life.

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A leap towards positive mental health for young people

July 25, 2018

Young people across Scotland are celebrating a £300,000 cash boost from the Year of Young People National Lottery Fund that will help them spark a change in their lives.  Amongst them is 18 year old Dylan Deans, a young leader for Young Movers (YoMo)a Glasgow based youth empowerment charity, which receives £10,000 to promote positive mental health amongst young people.

In this guest blog, Dylan tells us why he and his fellow young volunteers are so passionate about the project:

“Why are there only interventions when your mental health becomes negative? We need to be taught that taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health.”

“As young people we feel that our mental health is not always taken seriously by adults, this is something we want and need to change.”

“Young people are faced with so many pressures over the course of a short amount of time yet there seems to be a lack of conversations around how to take care of yourself mentally.”

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Success Rates – Summer 2018

July 13, 2018

Success Rates Summer 2018If you want to know what the likelihood is of receiving a grant from us it’s usually best to get in touch to discuss your idea. Your chances will often depend on what you want to do! However, we also like to give you an idea of how busy or competitive our funds are in general. This post will give you a breakdown of our current success rates for the last six months up to 30th June 2018.

Summer 2018 Overall Success Rate is 40%

Before we go into the detail, our current average success rate across all our funds is just under 40%. We always receive more good applications than we have money to fund, but we are currently getting even more requests than usual. This means competition is very high for most of our grants.

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How to involve young people in designing your project

May 16, 2018

Two young girls in American football suits play fighting with each other and smilingInterested in applying to the Year of Young People National Lottery Fund, to help young people spark a change in their lives? You’re far more likely to be awarded funding if you can demonstrate that young people have been involved in designing and developing your project idea.

One of the best ways to involve young people in your project is through ‘co-design.’ If you’re scratching you head wondering what exactly co-design is, here’s a definition from the Year of Young People Co-design Blueprint:

“Co-design is about involving young people much earlier in decision making processes through a highly participative approach, developing informed insights, ideas, recommendations and solutions for policy and practice. Co-design is about much more than basic consultation; it seeks to engage young people with shared power and resources.”

In other words, it means making sure that young people are at the heart of the planning process for activities that take place during the Year of Young People 2018.

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