Work Experience 7: Content and Social Media Manager
I’ve always enjoyed volunteering as a helper in my children’s classrooms. Whether it be guiding reading groups, maths groups, art or as an extra pair of eyes and hands during school excursions, it’s been a lovely way to spend time with my children at the same time as supporting and encouraging their learning. I also appreciate the huge amount of time and effort other volunteers, particularly those in the P&C committee, put in to support our kids and raise money for their school.
This week I worked with Mandy and her team. Mandy is Australia’s ‘Fundraising Whisperer’ and among other things, they publish the Fundraising Directory. Their core belief is that volunteers shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel every time, and they are passionate about helping to make fundraising for schools and clubs easier and more fun.
As well as creating a supplier directory which is sent out to school and community groups Australia wide, the Fundraising Directory is a comprehensive website, and their Facebook page (The Fundraising Whisperer) offers helpful tips and resources for anyone planning fundraising events or activities for their school or club.
I’m so grateful to Mandy for inviting me to work at the Fundraising Directory after reading my story on Rebecca Sparrow’s Facebook page, especially as she hadn’t met me before. Not only is she in the business of helping volunteers and fundraisers, she was happy to help me by being a part of my 40 40 journey. Thanks Mandy!
What did I do?
On my first morning I was welcomed by Mandy and her lovely team with smiles, coffee and donuts! What a perfect way for me get to know everyone and immediately feel like part of the crew.
I spent the majority of my time in the office with Mary who is the Content and Social Media Manager there. She looks after content for the Fundraising Directory website and also manages The Fundraising Whisperer Facebook and Instagram presence. She talked through a lot of what her role entails, and let me look over her shoulder as she was hard at work whilst explaining what she was doing along the way. It was particularly helpful as writing a blog, managing a website and creating content for social media is all very new to me and there’s plenty for me to learn!
Mary was sent a story by a freelance writer and her job was to make it as appealing as possible before publishing it. In the online world, it’s important that an article or website has the best SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) possible, so that if anyone does a Google search your article will top the list – or at least feature somewhere near the top of the list. So for example, if you type ‘Fundraising’ into Google, you’ll see the Fundraising Directory website tops your google search. If you type ‘Bec Fisher 40’ into Google, you’ll see that the Mamamia article written about me is higher on the google search list than the link to my own website. That is because staff at the Fundraising Directory and Mamamia are much better at SEO than I am!
Mary uses a WordPress SEO plugin called Yoast which helps her to easily optimise articles to perform better in search results. She worked through each of the points that Yoast rated as either red or orange (not good SEO), and showed me how to make little changes to the featured article to turn them green. It only took a short amount of time for Mary to change the article from one that wouldn’t have rated highly in a search to one that would do well.
I’m looking forward to spending a bit more time fiddling around with the SEO for my webpage and blog posts. Everything still takes me a long time at this stage, so I’m hoping that the more I do, the quicker I’ll get.
Another job on Mary’s list was to design an image post for Facebook. She’d found a quote she wanted to use – ‘A little progress each day adds up to big results’ – then searched Canva to find a suitable background image. Canva is a free graphic design tool website providing access to over a million photographs, graphics, and fonts. It’s awesome because although it can be used by professional designers, it’s also possible to effectively use it as a beginner. There’s even a free version. Winning! Mary found an image of steps that she liked, adjusted it to be the right size, added the text, changed the font, added a shadow to the font, and lastly added the Fundraising Whisperer logo. It looked great! She then added it to the list of scheduled posts for the Fundraising Whisperer Facebook page. I’m actually going to have a play with Canva myself now that I’ve seen it being used. I wouldn’t mind adding a few quotes to my 4040 Experience Facebook page, and now I know how. Thanks for teaching me Mary!
What did I learn?
As well as seeing how to improve SEO and create some cool images with Canva, I learnt a lot about how Facebook works for businesses and the best way to utilise it. The Fundraising Whisperer Facebook page shares anything and everything to do with fundraising and volunteering with their readers. They create and share their own content as well as sharing posts from others, and aim to post three to four times per day. Their posts include images, videos, helpful advice, and promotions. Every second day they will have an advertiser post, which is helpful to readers who may be planning fundraising events and searching for suppliers. I also like that there are regular ‘Reader Questions’ on their Facebook page which other readers can help to answer. This is another great example of Mandy’s philosophy of not reinventing the wheel. Plus, interaction with readers is important on Facebook as it results in a page or individual post being seen by more people.
There’s so much to a business like Mandy’s, and I know I only got to scratch the surface of what they do in such a short space of time, but I really did learn a lot. Each member of staff needs to be well organised with online content, interaction with readers and in communication with advertisers. They work so well together as a team to provide as much support as possible to volunteers, and to help make fundraising easier. In turn, that is fantastic for the schools and clubs our children are a part of.
If you’d like to learn more about Mandy and her career as a Fundraising Whisperer, publisher and entrepreneur, click here. Her story is an interesting one.