I confess: I always feel a bit awkward about rankings. A bit like scientific experiments, there is no perfect method. Every rating or ranking has to begin with a list of whos, wherefores and what’s wrongs. Inevitably, when it comes to social media, each attempt at ranking organisations has to place value on certain elements, which might or might not be what the participants were aiming at and placed value on themselves.
That said, all charity rankings are not created equal. Some come closer to calculations that make sense to me, combining follower size (reach) with follower growth (momentum) and fundraising (surely a good sign of an engaged community if they trust you enough to part with more cash over these most conversational of media). So it was interesting that Visceral Business‘s Social Charity Index 100 used information from JustGiving this year to add an extra dimension to the scoring process.
And so it was that I was very happy to see that Dogs Trust rose from 22nd to 6th, and, with the caveats above in mind, got a real buzz. To be clear: 22nd was nice. 22nd was lovely. 22nd out of the many great causes that do new and interesting and – best of all – effective things online was happily respectable. But top ten? After giants like Cancer Research and the hard and fast British Heart Foundation? That makes me feel a whole new level of pride in the hard work our digital team and all the other teams we work with have put in this past year.
For me, what’s really defined the last 12-18 months has been the greater ownership of digital media throughout the whole organisation. When I joined Dogs Trust in 2008, I needed to do a lot of looking for stories and coaxing them out of people. Now a key part of my community management is managing the flow of information coming at me from 18 regional centres and a plethora of head office departments. The digital team is part of discussions earlier and earlier in the process. I hear from several centres every day – here’s something for Facebook, for Twitter, for YouTube, for our centre pages, for Pinterest – and it makes me smile hugely when I get one of those emails with “I’ve got this mad idea…” in it.
One of the things we were always clear about was that we, as digital bods, might be specialists and might inhabit the digital world 24/7, but we were not – are not – gatekeepers to that. Facilitators, advisors, content shapers, yes. Exclusive creators and final arbiters? Never.
Of course it didn’t take going up in some charity rankings to make me aware of how we’ve grown, or what we’ve achieved. But it’s nice to be able to see it laid out in such a straightforward way. And it’s certainly given me a boost going into Hill & Knowlton’s sold-out Social Media Week London panel tomorrow on Secrets of Community Management, which I am delighted to be part of.
(Though, take note, Graun. That is not an infographic; it’s just a chart.)