Direct and digital marketing, Marketing, Media

3 ways podcasts benefit not-for-profits

Vic Turnbull presents three ways that not-for-profits are currently using podcasts to benefit the incredible work that they do.

There is a myriad of benefits of having a podcast – and I reveal 6 surprising ones in this blog post. But as a not-for-profit, you may be wondering how exactly you can put this ever-growing medium to good use. How can podcasts benefit not-for-profits?

In our world, I know that every penny and resource that you have must be put to good use and importantly, help you to keep fighting the good fight. It therefore only makes sense that your podcast is put to lots of good uses!

So here are 3 interesting ways that not-for-profits are currently using podcasts to benefit the incredible work that they’re doing.

1. Contribute to learning resources

Flourish Together CIC supports women to start, sustain and grow social enterprises. As part of their awesome suite of support are learning events and leadership, start-up, and employability programmes

Their podcast, ‘Supporting Women in Social Enterprise’ is an extension of their support services. Each episode focuses on a topic that’s of use to female social entrepreneurs. Think of it like an audible guidebook to social enterprise, with episodes such as governance, crowdfunding, and measuring social impact.

Nickala Torkington, founder of Flourish explains more,

“We want to tell stories and showcase social entrepreneurs. We’re also creating a training and learning resource, and wider we’re creating a positive reputation in our sector. It’s not just a podcast that you sit and listen to in the bath. We wanted people to take action. React. Do it!” 

With 12 episodes under their belt, the team has now started using the content as further learning materials for their programmes. For example, pointing participants to specific episodes for further learning in between sessions. They’re also looking to include the episodes as part of their online learning package. Making their resources available virtually has been something they’ve been looking to do for a long time, and the podcast has been an easy way to kick-start this.

Additionally, the podcasts are a great way for potential funders, partners, and participants to get a feel for what they do, Nickala goes on to explain,

“We thought a podcast could give people who couldn’t get to our events, an insight into what we’re doing. It’s a ‘reputation builder’ and a marketing tool that we can share and get more people involved. The podcast is helping us to join the dots and reach and engage more people than we could otherwise reach with just our physical events and Programmes.”

Does your not-for-profit deliver learning programmes, workshops, or courses? A podcast could complement your offer by creating on-demand content that your learners can access as they wish. Let’s flip this on its head too, if you have existing learning materials, such as blogs, videos, or fact sheets, could these be transformed into podcasts?

2. Answer commonly asked questions

SENDIASS Manchester is a support service for young people with special educational needs and the parents of SEND children.

Serving the whole city of Manchester makes the service very busy. Every day they come across similar queries from parents and young people. So the small team wondered how they could free up their time by having the answers to these common questions in an accessible and easy-to-understand way.

Whilst the service has an extensive repertoire of factsheets and superb online resources, they needed something else that could accompany these, be accessible, and be easy to digest – especially important for time-poor parents.

A podcast was the answer.

The first series of SEND Talk comprise the top 5 queries SENDIASS Manchester are asked every day. The idea is that when they next get a query around one of these episodes, they can direct people to the podcast to help them. They can then call back if they need further information.

Margarette Lee-Chapman, the manager at SENDIASS Manchester explains why podcasts are a useful tool for them,

“As a service, we are always looking at ways to work more efficiently so that we can maintain same-day service but are also very much aware that many people that call us do not have English as their first language and may have difficulty with the written word in our factsheets and guides. Many families also are working long hours but also have little time during the day to contact us and therefore podcasts seemed like a sensible solution. By using our podcast, they will be able to hear advice and gain information at a time that suits them best.

She explains that it’s useful for the parents who use their service too,

‘’We also wanted parents to hear the stories of how parents themselves have been proactive in the SEND world by not only helping their own children but also giving inspiration and confidence to other parents to navigate the SEND world.  These podcast episodes are their stories.”

So are you an information and advice service that gets inundated with the same sort of queries? A podcast of your most common queries, or what I like to call an audible FAQ, could help you to free up resources that can serve other areas of your not-for-profit.

3. Creatively report to funders 

For Inspire Women Oldham their podcast ‘That Inspire Feeling’, was the perfect opportunity to show their funders Oxfam, the breadth of skills, confidence, and knowledge that their participants had gained during their funded project called LIFE.

Sally Bonnie, founder, and director of Inspire says,

“From the early beginnings of Inspire, I had always hoped we could find a way of bringing the voices of the women into other spaces and a podcast is such a wonderful way to do this!

“Creating podcast episodes are a fabulous way of capturing and showcasing the growth journeys of the women we champion. I think more and more funders are wanting to see this. Written Reports don’t really capture the essence of that change; there is something really special about including women’s voices in this way.  

Oxfam GB who funded the LIFT Project, were delighted with this approach and was able to share our project outcomes wider through their organisation and partners. Podcasts have become an integral part of how we evidence change journeys and how we report to our funders.”

The finale of their first series was an episode that was dedicated to the learnings and outcomes of the project.

It was a similar approach that Nickala from Flourish took when she created an episode based on a consultation commission the CIC did with Manchester City Council. She gives policy reports as another example of this,

“Policy reports always talk about ‘hidden voices’ and ‘getting people’s voices heard’. But often we simply just ‘read’ about them, with highlighted quotes or similar. We don’t actually ‘hear’ them. Podcasting lets us actually hear those voices.”

For Sol Diaz, who runs an ESOL project in Manchester, she wanted to show her funders how far her participants had come in learning English on her language programme. She created a podcast that now only demonstrated their progress and showcased her programme, but also provided a source of learning for other ESOL students beyond her project and the local area.

So if you have an opportunity to creatively report to your funders, could a podcast capture some of the project’s values, outcomes or stories? Could an audio piece, bring your project to life and in turn, added some real value to the money you or your funders invested in the project too?

About Vic Turnbull

Vic is the founder of podcast production and training social enterprise MIC media. Their recent clients include the National Football Museum, where they produced the successful ‘Quite Unsuitable for Females’ women’s podcast that featured as #1 on Apple Podcasts New and Noteworthy, BBC R4, The Guardian and The Times. Their other clients include Co-op, Manchester City Council, Plan UK and UnLtd.

Vic will be hosting a session at The Ultimate Guide to Marketing your Charity conference on the key stages of starting a podcast, learn more and register here.

This blog was originally published on the MIC Media website, check it out here.