It seems there are more opportunities these days for charities to win awards and get rewards based on online voting. Many assume that effectiveness and impact of their charity will reap due reward and the best projects will naturally win. But don’t believe it.
Given that the competition (for that is what it is) is probably exclusively for charities, every project will be a potential winner. So the likely winner is in fact the one that can energise most online voters. Here are a few tips for upping your votes…
Make voting easy and compelling
It’s important to be clear about what’s involved in voting and why people should vote. Spend some time developing a paragraph of text to compel people to vote and inspire them to action. You should be clear about what your charity or project does and how the voting and the competition will make a difference to the good work you do.
Try writing a few different lengths of copy so that you have one to hand for every possible scenario – think about what you could write in a tweet or an article headline, a short paragraph and half an a4 page. Once you’ve drafted each of these, make sure they all cover the most important aspects:
- What they’re voting for
- Why they’re voting
- How they’re voting
Here’s an example of a short-form message like a tweet or a headline:
“Vote for Charity A to secure vital funding for vulnerable adults: link.com/example-vote”
The longer the content, the more detail you can go into in order to compel people to vote for you:
“Charity A needs vital funds to continue providing counselling and support for hundreds of the most vulnerable adults in society. Your vote could be the difference between this service continuing or stopping. Voting only takes 2 minutes: link.com/example-vote.”
Consider an incentive (if you’re allowed to)
A quick disclaimer first: many competitions will not allow you to incentivise people to vote, so be sure to check the terms and conditions and – if you’re not sure – make sure that you ask the organisers; you don’t want to be disqualified.
If you can, then you could offer people who vote a small prize or experiential gift. The easiest way to do this is to get those who vote to send you a copy of their confirmation message and you then enter them into a raffle for one or more prizes. In terms of rewards, consider things like tickets to your next event, a plaque on your premises, or something that you’ve been donated but cannot use, like a signed sports jersey.
Reach out to charity press and local media
The next tip is one from CharityConnect, contributed by Liz Adams, a freelance PR consultant in the charity sector: send out a press release to charity press and local media. Think about all the charity blogs/websites that you regularly visit to keep up to date with charity news and information; Liz also recommends approaching The Guardian Voluntary Sector network to see if you can guest blog or otherwise contribute and help spread the message.
Don’t forget your local press as well, especially if your project is a local too. Get in touch with local papers and news sites, groups, blogs and community boards and spread the word. Share the good work you’re doing and the difference votes will make and ask the local community to support you!
Use social media well
Read about our social media tips from the awesome Charity Social Media Toolkit. When you’re sharing your message on social media it can be extremely hard to motivate people to action; you need them to interrupt looking through their feeds to follow the link and vote – it’s a big ask and a big challenge.
Considering that ‘conversion rate’ (the proportion of people who see the link and follow it and vote) will likely be low, you can improve the number of votes by having more people see the message. So, use hashtags well and tap into industry discussions and politely ask people to vote. Also, don’t underestimate the power of asking; ask people to retweet and share and you may find that people will do it!
Spread the voting link far and wide
This may sound obvious, but have you got your link everywhere? Some popular places to put a short message (like the tweet/article header from before) are:
- Your email signature. Perhaps as part of a colourful banner. And you can mention it at the end of emails too.
- Your social media profiles. Put the link in your bio or in a ‘pinned message’.
- Your website. This can be tricky, but think about how you direct your website visitors to the vote link.
Friends, family and local businesses
They’re your friends and family so you are allowed to bug them, nag them and pester them into voting. So do it!
Secondly, the captive audience is a powerful tool. Are you friends with any business owners or partners with local groups or organisations? Try to convince them to get all their employees to vote; you can provide the email and simply ask the boss to email it around to the whole company – you’re much more likely to get votes in this way!