Twitter for the boss, storytelling, is bigger always better and more...

ECF list hot topics – April 2011. The busiest discussion this month was about time management tools – make the most of your time and catch up on list discussions you might have missed...


Some positive tips on telling your organisation's story in a way which connects for supporters. Talk about why your organisation got started, use multiple channels/media, use language which connects with ordinary people, inspire hope, test, make mistakes and be honest about them.

Notes of caution though about focusing on personal stories at the expense of the bigger picture: “If it is to a formal audience, such as a foundation, anecdotal data might not be enough,” and evidence from a research report showing examples where  'personal story' emails were less effective than more 'institutional' or 'political' messaging. M & R's Storytelling and the art of email writing concludes that including personal stories in NGO email appeals isn't effective unless they 'tell the story' of the organisation or campaign. Personal stories need a point that they're explaining, and need to clearly relate to supporter's agendas and interests.

Most influential tweeting celebs?

Measuring influence on social media is undoubtedly tricky – simply adding up the number of followers/'likers' (as nfp synergy's report into UK NGO social media use) doesn't tell you whether anyone cares what you have to say, or passes it on.

Twitaholic lists the most popular individuals and organisations on twitter simply by number of followers. Peerindex uses a more sophisticated measure, including retweets etc, to draw up their lists, including the top 100 UK comedians and journalists.

Email design and layout

More comments on email design and layout in reponse to a problem dealing with Outlook, including

“1. Don't use external style sheets
2. Do use inline CSS styles for headings and paragraphs
3. Use tables, not CSS, for all positioning.

If you do this your emails won't look identical everywhere but neither should they fall apart.”

Also a link to a useful tool for converting CSS rules into inline style attributes for emails and to the Email Standards Project which details levels of support across various email clients and explanations of which CSS properties can and cannot be used.

Media embargoes

As well as highlighting the risks of automated publishing - “something changes in the world - like a nuclear disaster for example - or that something changes with the material you're releasing - maybe some last minute information changes the facts.” the list questioned whether midnight media embargoes make any sense in the age of 24 hour rolling news.

Twitter for your boss

A request for help in introducing Twitter to the boss brought up lots of useful suggestions, and Tim Norton of Oxfam Australia has blogged the end result – thanks Tim. Other useful introductory twitter resources.

List size and campaigning power

The big debate of the month – is there always a direct correlation between email list size and campaigning impact? This raised interesting points about the difficulties of assessing impact in campaigning generally, and the importance of a careful analysis of who can make a change to your chosen issue, and what kind of pressure will really work on them. You'll have to take a look through the email archives for the full discussion, but the original poster will hopefully be coming back with some thoughts later.

E-newsletter examples

Few responses, but lots of interest in seeing other people's e-newsletters. Perhaps something for the next eCampaigning Review to look at in more detail? Duane (FairSay's) project to make his archive of NGO emails available to browse online needs some help – anyone with python skills interested in helping out – contact

What to call yourself on facebook?

Mass deletions of UK campaigning organisations using a Facebook profile instead of a page to promote a campaign or organisation highlights the risks of getting it wrong (and the vulnerability of a proprietary network like facebook for campaigning...) Remember also that your page's name is what appears in the news feed of all your suppporters' friends – make it something easy to understand!

Canadian elections

Discussion of the role of new media in this week's General Election in Canada, including links to the 'get out the vote' site Vote Social , Shit Harper Did and activist network Lead Now.

Guidance on filming and best practice

Lots of tips on getting great video, including links to some useful online resources for getting started with video.

Getting things done

Discussion on how we get things done (with or without using the Getting Things Done approach ) brought lots and lots of tips and tools out of the woodwork, as well as some thought about stepping back and not organising your life to a standstill. Thankfully the original poster has promised to summarise the findings (phew!)  – keep watching the list!

If you're not already subscribed, sign up to the eCampaigning Forum email list to join the discussions. Once subcribed, you can also view the list archives to get the full conversations.


by ECF Discussion Summaries published May 04, 2011,
Filed under: