Lewisham charities: #smallbutvital

On Local Charities Day (16 December 2016) VAL took the opportunity to launch a month-long campaign highlighting the work and some of the challenges faced by Lewisham charities. Joanne Roberts shares how we did it, to help prompt ideas for your own mini-campaigns


After a long time in the shadows small, local charities are finally on the public radar.

In part, we may have the Big society, and more recently Theresa May’s commitment to a ‘shared society,’ to thank for this.

But most of this is down to the ongoing work of charities like NCVO to both evidence the value and importance of small, local charities and consistently make the case for better resourcing and a mixed economy that helps them to hold their own.

The newest report by Localgiving found that fewer than half of local charities they surveyed are confident they will still be operating by 2021. Escalating demand for services, coupled with ongoing volatility in the funding landscape has left many groups fearful for their long term survival.

This trend also chimes with our own research carried out in June last year.


What did we do?

So, we decided to take advantage of the government’s initiative to put the work of local charities in the spotlight on 16 December by celebrating just some of the work being done by Lewisham community organisations and social enterprises.

We launched a mini social media campaign focusing on the work some of our members on the day and encouraged members and partners to help us by tweeting and re-tweeting using the #smallbutvital hashtag borrowed from Lloyds Bank Foundation’s awareness raising campaign to boost support for local charities. 


What did it involve?

It was a digital campaign that included:

·        short videos of organisations using Stupeflix

·        banners on our website with an image that typifies the work of each member

·        a Call to action page signposting and giving tips for individuals and local businesses, and

·        regular social media posting of key messages.

Crucial to the campaign has been the involvement of our members and partners, and we’re especially grateful to the organisations who agreed (at short notice!) to send in images and brief information about their work. We decided to extend it to January, giving more charities the chance to take part. This is an area we'd like to build on to get our messages out more widely.


Celebrating the legacy

This year as part of our 50th anniversary celebrations we’d like raise local awareness of voluntary and community-led action and its impact over the past 50 years. We can’t do this without our members and partners. If you’d like to get involved in shaping this exciting campaign from the start, please get in touch with me mark@valewisham.org.uk


Catch up on the campaign on Storify here

If you'd like to learn more about using digital tools and social media to run campaigns contact mark@valewisham.org.uk or fill in our Training enquiry form here

Our introductory course with Localgiving, An introduction to online fundraising, gives an excellent overview of online fundraising campaigns. Book your place here