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| Posted by: Andy Tonner

Have you thought about going digital? We spoke with Becky Crosweller about her experience

The London Community Foundation (LCF) specialise in supporting community-based organisations focused on tackling complex social problems across the capital. For their 2018 Annual Review LCF worked with the Prospectus design team to produce their first ever Annual Review built on a digital platform.

The result was an interactive website including content and statistics the user can engage with, as well as video content and bespoke animations, all based around 5 funding themes that guide LCF’s work.

Andy Tonner (Head of Talent Attraction – Prospectus), spoke with Becky Crosweller (Director of Business Development and Communications - LCF) to understand more about how to successfully pivot your Annual Review from print to digital. Prior to LCF, Becky spent 5 years working at Cancer Research UK in different roles focussing on communications and project management. 

Why was digital an important medium for you?

Digital was an important medium because it allowed us to articulate the stories and numbers that make up an impact report in a much more innovative way than through print. It really brings to life the storytelling of the communities and organisations we support, rather than us writing something on their behalf, you can see and hear the person’s story in their own voice.

Digital also allows us to use more sophisticated analytics, such as reviewing what content people engage with, which gives us a better insight of how our stories are being distributed and what our audience are focusing on. However, I am a firm believer that print isn’t dead – due to this, we also produced a very condensed print version so we can have something we can physically give to people, for example as a leave behind at a pitch.

Don’t these things normally end up collecting dust on a shelf - why is an Annual Review important for London Community Foundation?

With the digital version we have embedded the mind-set that this is an all-year round marketing tool. We have shifted to being more thematic in our external comms and this means we can leverage the Annual Review by pointing to relevant parts throughout the year through different channels.

This is a product I want us to use in our business development activity to help all of our stakeholders, including new and potential donors, to understand who we are, why we are here and then ask them “wouldn’t you like to get involved?”

There are some great  videos of grantees in the report – how did they respond when you asked them the get involved?

There are so many fantastic voices within the organisations we support, and in a room with no cameras you will hear some amazing stories – as soon as you broach the subject of filming people can close up. That is often a combination of the subject matter they are discussing, which can be very personal, through to just being nervous about being filmed. It is important to be sensitive to both. We went through an in-depth process to make people feel comfortable with video.

What we found most helpful was engaging interviewees by giving them a preview of the questions they were going to be asked. We also filmed them in environments where they were comfortable, mostly their usual working spaces, and gave them a chance to feed into the final edit.

How did the Board of  Trustees engage with the Annual Review?

Moving to digital was a significant change, and to an extent we managed this by retaining a print version and not going purely digital.

What was powerful for board engagement was that post launch we were able to demonstrate how people were engaging with the site, for example by the length of time they are spending on specific pages, something that isn’t possible through print. There was also a great success story in a lapsed donor that viewed the site and it inspired them to reengage with us – they are now back on board as a key prospect.

Do you have any tips for a charity wanting to incorporate digital into their Annual Review?

Click here to view the Annual Review and learn more about the work of The London Community Foundation.

If you would like to have a conversation about how you can incorporate digital in your next Annual Review, contact our Talent Attraction team on 020 7400 6375.