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Nonprofit Heroes #5: Kirsty Marrins, digital communications specialist in the charity sector

 

Welcome to the fifth of our “Nonprofit heroes” series on the Donorfy blog, where our team interviews industry experts, successful proven fundraisers, and nonprofit heroes with stories and tips to inspire your charity to use technology to your advantage and do good, better. Enjoy!

The fifth interviewee in our new series is Kirsty Marrins, a London-based digital communications specialist in the charity sector.  We asked Kirsty a few questions about her career and what challenges she sees facing charities in 2017.

Let’s start with some background information - who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Kirsty and I'm a digital communications freelancer. I provide marketing support, copywriting services and training for my clients. I am a regular columnist for Third Sector and a proud trustee of the Small Charities Coalition.

What was your first job?

I got my first job when I was in high school. I worked at a popular bakery on weekends, where I tried not to eat everything…

How did you end up working in charity comms?

I started my charity career at Dementia UK as a Fundraising and Events Coordinator but after a year I made the business case to move in to communications. The charity was going through a huge period of change and there wasn't anyone working in comms so I stepped into the role and have never looked back! I've even won a CharityComms Inspiring Communicator award along the way.

As a trustee of the Small Charities Coalition, what are the some of the most common problems that small charities are currently dealing with?

Lack of time and resources is always going to be a common problem for small charities. However, I think navigating the minefield that is actually running a charity is a big struggle - for example, keeping up to date with current issues such as FPS (Fundraising Preference Service), how to claim Gift Aid, how to file your annual report, how to find trustees etc.

Luckily Small Charities Coalition has a wealth of free information on their website as well as a helpline.

What has been your favourite fundraising campaign of the last few years?

Hands down it has to be Paul Trueman and Refuge's #thearchers campaign. It's the perfect example of how grassroots fundraising can start a movement, which is why I awarded it my Top Digital Charity Campaign of 2016 in my Third Sector column.

You recently wrote about how charities should be taking more risks - what’s your top tip for small charities wanting to do so in 2017?

A risk needn't be a big, scary, costly thing to do. I think small charities are often risk averse but 'taking a risk' simply means to try something different so start small, for e.g: test Facebook Live on your audience (run a Q&A with someone in your charity, for example) and see how it goes. Then ask yourself, 'what worked well, what didn't, what could we do differently' and try it again with those insights.

You’re known for your love of travel and you write about on your blog ‘What Kirsty Did Next’. Does regular international travel inspire you in how you approach charity comms work?

Absolutely. As a traveller, I'm curious about the world and I want to open my mind (and heart) to new experiences and cultures. I believe this makes me a more rounded and empathetic person, which can surely only help me be a better communicator?

 

Kirsty on one of her many travels

Kirsty on one of her many travels

Here at Donorfy we’re all about making fundraising easier for charities. If you got your wish, what would you make easier than it is today?

For charities to be able to communicate their impact more easily - most don't do this very well because it's really complicated and they don't know where to start.

So I'd love something that would help charities to work out their impact, simply, so that they can communicate this to their supporters and potential supporters.

[Editors Note: Donorfy’s integrations & dashboard give a birds-eye view of a charity’s activity]

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

To fly! I'd save soooo much money on flights and I'd reduce my carbon footprint.

On the techie side of things, are you a PC or a Mac these days?

PC but I have an iPhone and iPad.

Which smartphone do you have and what’s your favourite app?

iPhone. I have lots of favourite apps - Pocket (for saving great articles to read offline), Bus Times, my social and banking apps. A big favourite at the moment is Mario Run.

Huge thanks to Kirsty for joining us for our Nonprofit Heroes interview!

If you’d like to nominate an industry expert or non-profit hero to be featured on our blog, contact us or tweet us @Donorfy. Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter so you don’t miss the next interview, and be sure to check out donorfy.com/pricing to see which is the best plan for you - you can get started for free.