Aside: MiH weekend: Sunday and Judging

Sunday opened with 7 hours to go until we had to get back to The Bonham for judging. Some very tired but raring to go team members arrived at Yard Digital ready to do battle.

Long into the night before our team had worked – especially trying to find a way to link JustGiving to the Music in Hospitals Scotland website so a ‘Gift a Concert’ counter could be developed, along with a Concert counter. Unfortunately Sunday morning saw the end to this idea. It was simply not possible to do this within 48 hours and it was a sad goodbye to one of the team’s key ideas for the challenge. Yet all was not lost! The team developed a backup idea that originated on Friday. A YouTube channel was created and linked to the MiHScotland site, where people could search for songs and upload them, saying why they meant something personal to them. With this idea being finished off just as we had to leave, and the button/ widget supporters badge developed as well as strategy worked on it was time for judging.

At The Bonham there were three judges – Stuart from Ezone; Alison, Chief Executive of MiHScotland and an external judge, Peter Taylor of the Townhouse Group, owners of The Bonham. Every one sat down and Barry from Impact48 guided us through what the team had produced in 48 hours.

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Strategy was covered first as this had been some ongoing advice the MiH team had received over the weekend. Some long term strategy was delivered by Ruaridh from TickTock Media about how to build and develop campaigns, using social media to be most effective and in particular a good system for launching the new changes the weekend was bringing about. Both representatives of MiH found this really useful and felt it would make a real difference to the way things were done in the office.

Some more tangible real impact was the work done on to the website to make it more accessible and drive more traffic towards it. The social media buttons were moved to make them more prominent, important for a younger demographic and there were navigational changes, including renaming headings, to make it easier to move around the site and incorporate the new concepts.  A lot of work was also carried out on content review, focussing on meta tags and secondary navigation, making these more prominent and adding them to the homepage to help Google optimise searches. This all means that people are more likely to come across MiH when searching for things like ‘music charity Scotland’ and also people will be directed to the part of the site they want if using a more specific search, rather than having to click through the site to find the right information. The final addition was a mailing list sign up button added to every page of the website, rather than just having it on one page, which will hopefully encourage more people to get involved. Feedback was very positive from the judges, saying how useful it sounds and that it would be easily supportable.

The second concept of the weekend, replacing the ‘Gift a Concert ‘ idea was ‘Dedicate a Song’, a page for people to share music that has some importance to them. This was done via MiH’s YouTube channel. The team liked this idea as they felt in engaged with supporters, especially a younger audience, without costing anything – it was something that anyone could be involved in. It also could provide marketing content for MiH without them having to sit and think of anything – every day a particular song or story could be selected to be Tweeted about (for example) – instant content that give people a reason to follow MiH and get involved. The YouTube channel would automatically create a playlist that people could listen to and it would be easy to add in information about MiH every so often to keep people engaged with the charity. It is important to note that this concept was developed in keeping with the restrictions of the challenge – MiH retains full control of the content, it would not appear on their site unless it has been authorised. However, the judges had reservations about this idea, not seeing how it directly links to what the charity actually does. Alison, Chief Executive of MiHScotland, said it felt like a “parallel thing” and that it “would need some thought”. The response to the reservations centred around using it as something to start conversations, to engage with a younger audience, but the result was nice idea, needs some thought before we can progress.

The final thing the team developed over the weekend, and the most successful in terms of REAL IMPACT, was the badge developed for supporters. This was a concept thought of on Friday night and was carried the whole way through. An “I support Music in Hospitals Scotland” button was created that people could put on their websites, as was a supporter’s widget that had quotes from people involved in MiH which changed every time the page was reloaded, making it a bit more interactive. Three different buttons/ widgets were developed to cover individual supporters, groups or business and musicians who worked for the charity. The final category had a restriction placed on it, where MiH had to authorise use of the coding needed for the button/widget so only those who had successfully auditioned could proudly declare themselves an MiH musician. A bonus of the button is that people have to supply a name and email when they want to get the button/widget so it adds to a supporters list. It also gets the brand name out there, helping increase awareness as well as providing more links to the site (thus improving search results in search engines). The judges loved this idea – it is easy to support and should have a real impact.

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Overall, the weekend was a great success. Music in Hospitals Scotland where amazed at what the team had achieved in just 48 hours. The fresh eyes of the team had been “invaluable” and they had “learnt so much”. Thanks was given to, not only our wonderful supporters: The Bonham, Innis and Gunn and Yard Digital, but also to Impact48, Ezone and the entire team for all their efforts and hard work. Real impact had been achieved, all in exactly 48 hours (judging finished at 6:28pm)!

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