We are a small charity based in Bristol with a team of 12 part-time staff. We support families across the UK whose children experience distressing bowel and bladder conditions such as constipation, bedwetting and soiling. The kind of stuff people are not that keen to talk about – but are actually fairly common and cause an awful amount of anxiety and grief.
As well as providing practical help and support to families through our Helpline and online resources, we try to raise awareness of these conditions, so more people feel comfortable talking about them and are not afraid to seek help. As a small team with a challenging marketing budget (think £0 tiny!) we have to be resourceful and creative when it comes getting ourselves noticed by more of the people that need our help.
Over the past year we are fortunate to have been supported by several enthusiastic experts in their field, who have volunteered their time to help us shout a bit more loudly about the services we provide.
One of the highlights of 2018 for ERIC will be our bi-annual conference for health professionals working in paediatric continence. Taking place in Birmingham in October, it’s a chance for experts to come and learn about the latest developments in continence care and exchange ideas and learning with their colleagues.
To promote the event, star volunteer Seb, currently studying Journalism at Sheffield University, donated a couple of days of his time to produce a fab video advertising the event.
Many universities & colleges run schemes to link their undergraduates with locally-based charities, so it’s worth investigating what might be on offer in your area.
Increasing our reach with Social Media
Tom came in to our offices twice and ran workshops for the whole team, showing us all how to use our Facebook and Twitter accounts more effectively and how to create fun, eye-catching content. This training for the whole team was great and it has enabled more of us to feel confident posting on Facebook and Twitter.
Check out your local voluntary support service on the NAVCA Members Directory and see if they have any similar events to link you to local experts who could help you with your cause.
Small Charities and Big Companies
It’s not just generous individuals that have helped us. We have recently taken th
e plunge and set up a Google Adwords account using the Ad Grant from Google that is available to all registered charities. This allows us a budget of up to $10,000 a month to promote several aspects of our work, such as our training courses and advice leaflets. It’s basically free money for advertising – excellent – and thank you Google!
The set-up of the account was a bit laborious and required patience, but once our application got approved, it has been quite straightforward to create and manage our ads. There’s a really useful message forum for advice and tips from other Ad Grant users and a small team of real people at Google HQ that are very good at responding to queries you post.
For us as a small charity, this sort of ‘help in kind’ has proved to be an invaluable way of enabling us to reach many more families in need of support. We’d love to know how other small charities tap into free expert help and the difference it’s making to them. We’re looking forward to Small Charities Week to hear about and learn from other organisations experiencing similar challenges in getting their voices heard. The advice and resources offered by the FSI to small charities like ours are invaluable and the ideas that emerge throughout #SCWeek18 will no doubt be a source of inspiration for us all.
ERIC, The Children’s Bowel & Bladder Charity is the only charity dedicated to the bowel and bladder health of all children and teenagers in the UK. ERIC has been raising awareness of bowel and bladder issues since 1988. ERIC provides expert support, information and understanding to children and teenagers and enables parents, carers and professionals to help them establish good bowel and bladder health.
Find ERIC on Twitter: @eric_uk and Facebook: eric.uk1
I’m Bethan and I’m the Trust & Foundation fundraiser at ERIC, The Children’s Bowel and Bladder Charity. When I’m not drafting applications for funding, I write blogs, post on social media and manage Google AdWords for the