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The latest stories from Inspiring Scotland and our partner charities.

SVN support to develop digital communications channels

SVN support to develop digital communications channels

 

My name is Angie Alexander, and I am the Chief Operating Officer for Held in Our Hearts, an Edinburgh-based baby loss charity. We provide specialist baby loss counselling and peer support to bereaved families. Our families are the heart of everything that we do, and we offer free, personalised, long-term support including counselling, one to one and group peer support and community events.

Just before the pandemic hit, I heard Elaine Crichton speak about the support that Inspiring Scotland’s Specialist Volunteer Network (SVN) could offer charities. As a smaller charity, the opportunity to access volunteers with different specialist experience was incredibly valuable. For example, we do not have some of the larger support functions bigger charities have, like HR and media, and so support in these areas is incredibly valuable. This was especially true during the pandemic, when we transitioned all our work and communication from in person to online, remote support.

We reached out to Elaine asking for support with our social media, as we did not have that expertise in house and were keen to make sure that we were well represented digitally. Our social following had been growing, which we were keen to build on, but also, we were all too aware of the huge time commitment required to sustain a strong, online presence across all our platforms. One of our key considerations was finding a volunteer who could understand the challenges that we face in sensitively communicating about our work, by striking the right balance between speaking directly to bereaved parents on social media, while also engaging those who do not have lived experience but have an affinity with our work.

Elaine placed Samuel Marriott-Dowding with us as a Specialist Volunteer, to come on board and give some initial support planning our content on Facebook. It was important to us that Samuel could really get to grips with what we do, understand how we want to present online and learn the organisational tone of voice. Samuel was engaged from the start and always brought his passion and creativity to meetings. All our meetings were online, but we soon got to know him and build up that necessary trust between us, so that we could confidently work together on planning our communications. It was such a positive and successful experience that we have since taken Samuel on as a freelance Communications Consultant. Samuel now manages social media content across all platforms, as well as supporting with press work. We have been delighted with the results and would highly recommend the Specialist Volunteer Network service.

Elaine was a pleasure to work with and made the whole process seamless. Her support helped fill a gap in a critical area both during the Covid-19 crisis and beyond. We have also used the SVN for support with monitoring and evaluation of our work, as well as some ad hoc HR support for recruitment.

Going forward we are continuing to grow, in response to needs of bereaved parents in other parts of Scotland, including most recently our expansion into the Highlands in partnership with the NHS there. We will no doubt be calling upon the SVN again in the not-too-distant future!

“The work that Held in Our Hearts does, and continues to do, in their support of bereaved parents is exceptional. They lead with love and compassion, and this is something that has been reflected in the collaborative work that we have undertaken this year. Over this past year our campaigns have achieved over 1.04 million digital impressions, and increased brand awareness by 4550% – cementing Held in Our Hearts as a leading authority on baby loss counselling and support.”

Samuel Marriott-Dowding, Founder & CEO, Marriott Communications

Inspiring Scotland’s Specialist Volunteer Network is a free resource supporting charities in Scotland, which matches professional volunteers with charities. Find out more.

Angie Alexander, Chief Operating Officer, Held In Our Hearts

 

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