Improving the Internet Presence of Commonside Community Development Trust

Sponsor: Commonside Community Development Trust IMG864032626
Sponsor Liaison: Naomi Martin
Student Team: McKenzie Brunelle, Juan Pablo de Lima, Thomas Fong, Dominic Redding
Abstract: Commonside Community Development Trust (CCDT) is a nonprofit organisation based in the Borough of Merton in London that has been experiencing financial and staffing constraints in recent years. The goal of this project was to give recommendations on how CCDT can improve its Internet presence to attract the attention of more sponsors and community members. This was achieved by analysing the initial state of CCDT’s Internet presence, surveying community members, launching social media campaigns, and creating a guidebook for CCDT staff members. The results of this project showed that our work will increase CCDT’s Internet presence which will lead to more financial and physical support from corporate sponsors and community members.

Final Report

Final Presentation


Executive Summary

Social media is an easy and free tool for nonprofit organisations to reach out to their community. Research has shown that a majority of residents in the United Kingdom use some form of social media, with Facebook being the most popular. Commonside Community Development Trust (CCDT) is a nonprofit organisation that serves the Borough of Merton in South London and manages the New Horizon Centre in Pollards Hill. Recently, CCDT has been struggling with financial constraints in addition to having a small staff that tackles a great deal of work. CCDT relies on corporate sponsors for funding and for building partnerships. CCDT is heavily dependent on volunteers, most of which are local community members, to help run day to day operations. The goal of our project was to give recommendations for CCDT to improve its Internet presence to attract sponsors and community members.

We organised our project into four main objectives that would accomplish the goal of our project. These objectives were:

1. Determine the state of CCDT’s initial social media

2. Identify effective and relevant social media marketing strategies

3. Prototype potential future social media strategies

4. Recommend future social media strategies for CCDT

To accomplish these objectives, we first analysed the social media strategies of other nonprofit organisations for a basis of comparison. Then we used an assortment of analytics tools to learn about CCDT’s initial Internet presence. To learn how CCDT maintains its Internet presence we interviewed the social media managers. We conducted three different surveys to learn about the effectiveness of CCDT’s social networking in the community and how that networking could be improved.

With the available analytics tools, we analysed CCDT’s website, Facebook page, Twitter page, and Instagram page before we arrived to see what was working and not working well. We looked at every post from 26 October 2016 to March 2017 on each social media platform to see what type of content was included, number of user interactions, hashtags used, and additional media, such as images or links, included with each post. The website was analysed to see what was posted, how frequently it was updated, and how user friendly it was.

In addition to analysing CCDT’s social media accounts and website, we interviewed all the staff responsible for managing all of the social media accounts individually. The director of CCDT, Naomi Martin, was responsible for the Twitter page, Cheryl Giddy maintained the Instagram page, Lorraine Thorn handled the Facebook page, and Shari Holder contributed to the website and Facebook page. We wanted to determine whether there was any set strategy for posting, such as what to post and when to post. Communication between the social media managers was another aspect we were looking for.

From our interviews and analysis, we noticed some similarities across all the social media platforms and website. We noticed that there was no uniform strategy and communication between social media managers. As a result of this lack of strategy there was no uniform identity for CCDT’s Internet presence. Some of the social media managers agreed that there should be more unification between the social media accounts in addition to more communication. Our biggest finding from our interviews was that even though each social media manager did not post the same content, they all tried to promote the services at the New Horizon Centre and CCDT as an entity. The analytics tools and our observations also confirmed some of the findings from our interviews. We noticed that each of the social media managers posted at different times and different types of content, but most posts promoted CCDT and the New Horizon Centre.

In addition to research and analysis, we surveyed members of the Merton community to determine how CCDT should conduct its future social media. Our first survey of community members analyzed if they use Internet, if they use social media, and their perception of CCDT’s social media. This survey was mainly done in person, with some responses from a link on social media posts. We went around the New Horizon Centre and the Pollards Hills Library with an iPad asking people to fill out our survey. Our second survey asked community members what social media platforms they use. Participants wrote down their response on a slip of a paper and placed it in a box.

During the first few weeks of our project we decided to launch two social media campaigns for CCDT. One of these campaigns centered around community contribution and focused on how CCDT serves its community and how community members can volunteer to help out. The other campaign was based around a previously scheduled concert at the New Horizon Centre, a performance by The Candy Girls. Also during this time, strategized and planned our posts for CCDT’s social media accounts and website. We developed a calendar of what to post on each day.

To help boost uniformity among CCDT’s website and social media accounts we created a guidebook that would help CCDT for the future. The guidebook consists of social media strategy recommendations, a how-to user guide, and lessons learned from our campaigns. It contained information on what social networking is and why it is important, a list of resources for staff members to utilize, the right target audiences for CCDT, and good social media strategies. We trained each of CCDT’s social media managers to make sure they understood the guidebook and would be able to successfully run their respective platform.

Along with creating the guidebook we came up with three future options for CCDT’s website. The first option consists of improving CCDT’s current website as much as possible without structural changes. This would mean adding links to its social media platforms, updating content on the Home, Partners and Staff pages, updating the media throughout the website, and adding a Blog page, which would be updated often. The second and third options would consist of updating everything: content, media, a new Blog page, restructuring or reorganizing the pages, and changing the theme. The major difference between the last two options is that the third option would come with an additional cost, as the proposed theme is not free. From our project, we gathered enough information to be able to recommend which social media strategies CCDT should use moving forward. Since most community members use Facebook, we recommend CCDT focus on that platform. In addition, we recommend posting regularly, including media with posts, and linking between social media and the website. With a guidebook to help CCDT social media managers follow these recommended social media strategies and a plan for a refreshed website, we believe CCDT will now have the tools it needs to have a successful Internet presence