Helping you understand, measure
and communicate your Social Impact
You only get one chance to tell your story so make the most of it.

Three messages for NI charities from the Digital DNA conference

Last week the annual Digital DNA Business conference took place at Titanic, Belfast. Gauge NI’s Marketing and Account Manager Christine attended the event and has put together some key lessons NI charities can take away from the event.

The idea of the Digital DNA conference was born three years ago, as the best ideas often are, over a pint and a conversation between friends. Gareth Quinn and Ryan Owens had a passion for Northern Ireland and the desire to help businesses here embrace technology in a way that has a positive impact on the economy.  
This year’s conference heard from speakers from leading global technology companies such as Twitter and Facebook as well as local companies, including Belfast start up Publishd who used the event to launch their new social commerce platform. 
Although many of the speakers at the conference were from organisations with marketing budgets charity workers can only dream of, there was still plenty for those working in the third sector in Northern Ireland to learn from the day. Including a video message from Pat Quinn, co-creator of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and a dedicated workshop titled ‘Digital Transformation in the Third Sector’ made up of a panel including Amanda Neylon, Head of Digital at Macmillan UK, Stephen Gray, Head of Information Management at NICVA, Una Murphy, Co-Founder of View Digital and David Barker, Founder of The Tech Centre.
The three key messages I took away from the event are good news for those with limited resources to get their message out:
1. Be brave.
The third sector workshop heard from Amanda Neylon, Head of Digital at Macmillan UK. Amanda discussed how organisations can use social media to be brave in a way they perhaps wouldn’t be in traditional media. She told the workshop how Macmillan UK has used Twitter at key sporting occasions to tell men to ‘check your balls’ to raise awareness of testicular cancer. 

Amanda discussed how Macmillan UK encourages all of their staff to embrace Twitter and talk about key issues related to their work in their own tone of voice. Rather than be afraid of staff misrepresenting the brand, Macmillan trust their staff to use common sense when it comes to tweeting. This means that community nurses, doctors and fundraisers are all talking about important issues in a way that is relatable to their own followers and getting the message out to a wide range of people.

2. You don’t need a big budget to have a big impact.

The conference heard from Andrew Weld-Moore, Global Marketing Solutions Manager at Facebook, about the growth in video consumption. 25% of all online content consumed is now video and this is a figure which is expected to keep rising. Smartphones mean that everyone now has the ability to create video content instantly and for no cost. To see the potential power that videos hold for charities you only have to look at the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. 

The social media craze of 2014 started organically by some friends throwing cold water over themselves, filming it on a mobile phone and posting it on social media. The Ice Bucket Challenge grew to become a cultural phenomena which to date has raised over $100 million, created awareness for a disease which previously wasn’t well known and found itself attracting celebrity ambassadors most charities can only dream of including Oprah Winfrey, Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber.

3. Storytelling is key. 

Advances in technology mean that charities can tell the story of what their organisation is doing to the world for minimal cost. Previously to be able to communicate with thousands of people you would have had to spend on TV, radio or print advertising. Now all you need is a website and social media channels and you can publish to the world for free.

The third sector workshop heard from David Barker from The Tech Centre about a small charity in England they worked with to improve their online visibility. They improved the functionality of the charity’s website, but also used it to communicate the story of the work the charity was doing in a clear way which was easy for service users who needed help, as well as stakeholders and potential funders, to understand. As a result of the improved site the organisation’s website went from just 3,000 visits one year to over 26,000 the next.

Una Murphy from The View Digital also discussed the importance of charities telling their story well, something they hold training events for.

Tell the story of your impact

At Gauge NI we want to help organisations tell the story of the real difference they are making in the community. We help charities, private sector businesses and public sector organisations to understand, measure and communicate their social impact. 

Social impact measurement examines the contribution an organisation makes to its end users, the community it operates within and society in general.  If you know the difference you are making you can use the digital platforms available to communicate your story to the public, stakeholders and funders. 

One way we help organisations communicate their social impact is with highly visual impact cards which are easy to understand, snapshots of their work – perfect for sharing online. Check out this one we created for Nexus NI or this one for our parent social enterprise Now Group.

If you would like to discuss measuring your social impact get in touch on 02890 234414 or

Call us: 028 9043 6400
Gauge NI: 15-17 Grosvenor Road, Belfast, BT12 4GN