From virtual candles to online prayer groups, religion has adapted surprisingly quickly to the internet age. There are Cardinals who tweet and online discussion forums for different parishes. Since Churches and religions are often accused of being reactionary and behind the times, social media is one area where they are often ahead of the curve. Their commitment to online communication puts many small businesses to shame.
For this reason, we were happy to help create a new website for a local parish. They already had a website (yes, they are that commited to social media that this was a relaunch not a first launch!). However as the needs of the parish had changed, the older congregation became more comfortable with the internet and website fashions changed, they decided they wanted a new site.
As a Church, a free site was an attractive proposition and they decided they did not need to purchase a domain name (opting instead to save precious funds for more important local initiatives). It was also important that it was simple to update.
After a few online discussions with the parish priest, we compiled a brief, decided on a colour scheme and built a shiny new site.
It's now live on the internet and the parish are getting to grips with uploading their bulletins, prayer schedules, reader rotas and events timetable.
'The last form of acceptable prejudice'?
As a nation, we like to pride ourselves on our tolerance and understanding of other groups. However, every so often something can happen that challenges our perception of ourselves and our commitment to equalities.
We've been volunteering with a new organisation, Fairtrac, that was established to represent travelling showpeople. This oft-misunderstood group often feel that discrimination against travellers is the one remaining acceptable prejudice. From schools to the media, they are often met with distrust and lack of understanding.
Despite being small businessmen who pay taxes and contribute to their local communities, they are often viewed with suspicion and feel forced to exist on the fringes of the local area, both physically and metaphorically.
Hence we were very excited to be involved with publicising the first community conference for travelling people in Scotland. This historic event was the first time the community had received any charity funding to bring together their community and discuss the issues that are important to them; issues like security, safety, education, leisure and recreation. Issues that sound familiar to everyone.
When it comes down to it, the issues that affect traveller families are the same as the issues that affect everyone else. Their priorities are our priorities. The only difference is that they often struggle to access the help and information that is already out there. Hopefully the conference will be the first step in raising awareness of their needs and breaking down barriers and stereotypes.
We had two articles published about the conference, and were delighted to be able to bring some much-needed positive publicity to this minority group.
It's a celebratory weekend across the UK with people either celebrating the Queen's Jubilee or the extra long holiday weekend.
We're in celebratory mood too. Firstly, a magazine we edited for one of our clients has completed its first print run. A copy of the specialised hair and wig magazine should be winging its way to us as we type. We can't wait to share it with you when it arrives.
Our second reason for celebrating is actually Jubilee-connected. A journalist from The Daily Record, one of Scotland's largest selling dailies, contacted us midweek. They wanted to visit a Jubilee street party in Glasgow. Did we know of any?
Well, it just so happened, we did. One of the community organisations, that we support, were planning an event for Sunday. Four phone calls and one photo shoot later, the newspaper had a pic to include in its street party spread, and the community centre had some great publicity for their event. Hurrahs all round and all thanks to McShane Media!
'Charity begins at home'. Well, we at McShane Media have always struggled slightly with that statement. Partly because we support and have worked with charities doing fantastic work overseas. And, partly, because our personal charity involvement is usually shaped by our community.
Currently we're supporting a local residents' association by building and updating their website. Could we build a website? Check! Could it have a calendar? Check! Could it display the latest minutes from their meetings? Check! Could it even manage their elections online? Check again!
With over nine billion internet users worldwide, it's important for voluntary and charitable organisations to harness social media to spread their aims, and keep supporters informed.
The residents' association is delighted with their new website and we're pleased we could help.
We have been advising on a marketing and merchandising strategy for a not-for-profit organisation. At this early stage we are unable to reveal more details but the group is part of an international network and is facing a dilemma about how to grow.
Some not-for-profit groups have an unease about raising funds. They feel it does not sit comfortably with their ethos. However if you want to reach more people and provide a professional service then it follows you'll need qualified staff, bigger premises, and probably paperwork to back it all up. Those advances can only be achieved with funding.
Most succesful charities grasp this but there is always a challenging period with smaller groups as they make the shift from simply accepting donations/members to actively pursuing them.
The purpose of our work is two-fold: to raise income and raise the group's profile. This marks a significant shift in the organisation's approach and it will be interesting to see how their committee and national board feel about taking such steps. WeeBletherPR will be happy to hold their hand every step of the way.
Maggie will be blethering about our latest projects, marketing news and events.