6 ways your charity can maximise WhatsApp

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WhatsApp is arguably becoming the most important social network of all. Everyone is on it, delivery and attention are much higher than the competition, and communication is immediate and informal by default. Chances are you’re already part of an emoji and GIF-filled family or university friends WhatsApp group.

But how can charities make the most of WhatsApp? We put that question to Twitter and crowdsourced answers from people working at charities. Here’s six ways your charity can get started.

It’s worth noting that the GDPR will be enforceable from 25th May 2018, so as always, it is best for charities to work with their organisation’s legal advisor, who is familiar with their practices, to determine whether using Whatsapp is appropriate for their organisation and their obligations under existing laws.

1. Cutting through work emails

Could anyone honestly raise their hand and say they don’t get enough emails?

Work emails can feel like an onrushing tidal wave of internal updates and non-urgent messages from colleagues who sit right next to you.

WhatsApp is a nice way to cut through the noise, particularly when your colleagues struggle to access web-based work emails on their phones.What’s more, using reply all is the default on WhatsApp, so you don’t have to worry about overloading inboxes with a separate email for every message.


2. Sharing interesting articles

When you’re on the move and come across a news article that will be of interest to colleagues, you can just share on WhatsApp.

The informal nature of the network also means a better quality discussion on the topics raised usually follows.


3. Gathering social media content

If your charity has people working, volunteering and fundraising in lots of different locations, gathering great content for social media can be a challenge.

Not with WhatsApp! It’s perfect for sharing lots of photos, videos and text updates from the field.


4. Sharing fast-moving news

If you work for an international development charity, you know that emergency appeals are often launched out of hours. They also require post-5pm work by all involved.

And if your charity is involved in the political party conferences or reshuffles, you know how fast that world can move too. Only a real time social network where all messages are viewable will do.


However, if you’re on holiday or aren’t available, be sure to mute or temporarily leave the relevant groups to ensure work chat doesn’t reach you on the beach

5. Streamlining concentric circle comms

If you work in a larger charity, there can be a lot of working groups and levels of management to co-ordinate communications within.

WhatsApp can help you separate out these comms in a more streamlined way.

Mind you, if you take this approach to internal communications, it’s worth setting some ground rules for the use of WhatsApp to stop it becoming a total free-for-all.


6. Co-ordinating volunteer work

For your volunteers, doing things for your charity surfs the boundary of work and leisure.

That category of activity often necessitates a communication channel that crosses those worlds in a similar way.

And when the volunteer work needs a bit of co-ordination between remote parties, WhatsApp is even more perfect.


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Matt Collins is managing director at digital marketing agency, Platypus Digital, and tweets @charitychap