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Iceni Magazine | December 2, 2021

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Iceni talks social media to… Chris Elliott

Chris Elliott social media picMarketing and Fundraising Manager at The Benjamin Foundation

What does your role within The Benjamin Foundation as Marketing and Fundraising Manager involve? With my colleagues Joanna Storey and Donna Tomlin we are responsible for building awareness of our charity and its work so that we can grow our fundraising. We do this by using media and online communications, running our own fundraising activities, attending events, building and managing relationships with supporters and also bidding for funds from a range of sources.

Can you give us a brief run down on how you use social media to interact with potential clients and the general public? We see social media as an important part of our communications. It’s easily accessible, free and gives an immediate way of having dialogue with people who know us and others who we are getting to know. Twitter is great for keeping an eye on a myriad of a local businesses and individuals. For Facebook we have had success with targeted campaigns for our key events like our Sleep Out, recruitment and when we have launched new services. 

How do you use social media as a tool for your existing clients? For existing supporters we highlight the ways they are helping our charity whether that is through fundraising, volunteering or anything else. Sometimes our reach on social media is larger than our supporters or we will reach different audience so this is a benefit we can provide in return for the support we receive.

Which social media platforms do you use and why? i.e Hootsuite, TweetDeck, etc? We sometimes schedule social media activity but mostly we are engaging in real time sharing this responsibility between the three of us in the team. Whilst we plan some activity at the start of each week lots of things need to kept more spontaneous. We also try to respond quickly to enquiries coming into us, sometimes these are about serious issues.

There are quite a few networking hours on Twitter, which is your favourite and why? Being a charity operating all over Norfolk (and just into Suffolk now too) it’s #norfolkhour that we keep a look out for most. The Norfolk TweetUp events have made a great way to turn Twitter chat into face-to-face discussions.

What is your favourite social media campaign you have managed? It was a real eye-opener when we spent a small budget on a Facebook campaign to promote our Sleep Out. Seeing our message reach so many new people and leading to people who’d never heard of us actually taking part was brilliant and very cost-effective.

Which social media experts and/or influencers do you follow? We ‘met’ social media specialists Vision Odyssey on Twitter and from a chance discussion a couple of years ago we now use them for our training and they’ve been kind enough to support us with fundraising too.

What kind of skills/qualities do you think you need to possess to be a Marketing and Fundraising Manager? You need to have a passion for what you do and what your charity does, be a good all-rounder across all the elements of Marketing and be a people person.

What are your competitors doing on social media? We do keep a beady eye on them!

And finally, what one piece of advice can you give to someone starting out into the world of social media? It’s a two way communication so once you’re there you need to respond to people coming to you as well as sharing news outwards. 

To find out more information about The Benjamin Foundation, visit: or follow @CharityTBF on Twitter.

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