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Interview With Bravery Boxes

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Hey there all you Songbird readers. We have for you this week an interview with Lisa Harris, a trustee of a small charity called Bravery Boxes. You can watch the full interview below, but for a written summary, keep scrolling. 




Sophie - ‘A charity who raise money to collect toys for children with cancer going into hospital.
(To Lisa) So I was wondering if you could tell me a little but more about how the charity started?

Lisa - Absolutely. About 8 years ago, my friend's son became very poorly and it turned out that he had a very very rare type of cancer. There was a brain tumour and there was also a tumour on his spine. And this was all very scary and unpleasant for a two year old, and so when he went into hospital he got very scared, very upset. And as with most children, blackmail and bribery seemed to work, and so she decided when he was going to have one of these unpleasant procedures, that she would give him a little token, just a little toy, [...] which would just cheer him up, reward him for being brave. Sometimes he wasn't brave but he still got the prize at the end of it.'

Lisa goes on to explain that her friend realised that this was just a great way to make the best of a bad situation and started to raise money where she could. She would buy little things that then went into 'The Bravery Box'. Great concept don't you think? It all started in Addenbrookes hospital where her friend's son was being treated.

Lisa - 'She kept going for about 6 years and then about 2 years ago she came to me and said, "I'd really like to make this a registered charity", she said "So many people benefit from it. You know children come in, they love the Bravery Box". We put in very small things, things that cost 30p, 50p. Because sometimes a child will have two maybe three procedures in a day, [...], but you can't give them an Action Man or a remote control car each time, so it has to be a very small token. [...] So she asked myself, and we asked another person who is a management accountant to do the finance side of things. I've worked as a trustee for another company and that's how it got started. So about two years ago we applied to become a registered charity.'

It really sounded like a lot of time and effort had been put into the creation of this charity but it seems that it is all paying off as they have now been an official charity for two years and are still going strong. They just hope to get themselves out there even more 

Sophie - 'So is it just the three of you at the moment? 

Lisa - At the moment it is just the three of us. We are three trustees and nobody is employed by us. We all do everything ourselves, voluntarily. Everybody who does anything for us does it voluntarily. We occasionally have to spend some money on flyers or something or perhaps for something like that. But basically all the money we raise goes towards buying the toys. We don't spend any money on anything else at all. And, we're three mums (laughs), so we all work, and we've all got young children so we're all very busy so it has to kind of fit in with other things. But [...] we're now in four hospitals all together.'

Isn't it great? Now onto the social media side of it. We wanted to know if social media had helped the charity and if it had, how so. It was important to us to understand how social media can have an effect on small charities such as Bravery Boxes. 

Sophie - 'Oh wow. Ok, right. Can you tell me when you decided to sign up to social media? What triggered it? I mean, nowadays everyone is on social media so I suppose that's the answer (laughs), but when did YOU decide to?

Lisa - We decided when we became a registered charity we were having launch events, which was what we called a 'Prom'. So it was like a ball but it was, the idea was it was th high school prom. [...] And there were 200 people who came along and it was fantastic. [...] And [social media] seemed like the obvious place to go. We had a website, but lots of people are on social media and that's the way lots of people find out about things. And people would say have you got a Facebook page, are you on Twitter? And, so it was just the most obvious thing to start doing. We had a website, but it's not... It's quite static [...], people have to keep going back to it, and typing in the web address and finding it. When you have a Facebook page it's coming up on your feed, you're constantly being reminded about that charity, they're posting things etc and the same with Twitter. So in terms of advertising and self promotion it seemed the obvious way to go.'

Lisa said that she was extremely pleased that the charity had signed up to social media adding that Facebook is their main platform. They have over 400 followers at the moment and she loves being able to get that 'instant news out to people'. She emphasises the difference between a website and social media as she says it is easier to thank people on the social networks or keep the followers updated with the most recent events such as running marathons or maybe a sponsored swim. 

Lisa - 'It's a much more informal style than having an update on a website. So you can put up a snapshot that somebody's done. And it looks great and you know people immediately see [...] either what they're money has raised or what they've been supporting. So it's a really instant, really quick way of getting that news out. 

Sophie - So it's been popular with the public, you've had a good response to it.

Lisa - We have, and it's actually the way that people want to keep in touch. [...] If people have questions they will get in touch with us via Facebook. They will get in touch, they will post something perhaps to our page. And it's the way really that people have been most interactive with us.'

After having asked Lisa how many times a week they might post she replied that it would always depend on how much time they had to do it or maybe what had been happening. Of course if there had been a recent event, the three mums would not hesitate, taking the number of posts up to maybe twice a week some months. They will try and post at least once a week so keep your eyes peeled.

Sophie - 'A question I've just thought of. Do you use it to promote yourself but [...] are you in contact with any children who go into hospital? Do you update followers on that?

Lisa - We don't tend to, because quite often people are... It's a very tricky time going through treatment and we have been contacted via the Facebook page, saying you know "my son's in this particular hospital, are you there?" And we've been able to say yes we are. There was a child in  Manchester. [...] We are currently in Addenbrookes, Manchester, The Royal Marsden and Alder Hey, and so this parent, you know, said "I've seen your posters and can my child have something from The Bravery Boxes?".

[...]

Sophie - So that was all done through Facebook. What about your Twitter account, is that as popular?

Lisa - It's not AS popular. But again, I think because of the nature of who we are and how we work, with Twitter we don't have enough to be putting on there as regularly. What we do is that we have our Twitter account linked with our Facebook account [...] and then everything that goes onto Facebook automatically feeds into Twitter.

[...]

Sophie - I did have a quick look and did see that your posts were on both. It did seem that you're quite active on social media. And, big question, would you actually recommend it to other charities? These newer charities, do you think it's the way forward?

Lisa - Absolutely! It's got to be. It's a free, easy, effortless way to get in touch with your followers so with us, we have people you know all over the country, in different places. We can't keep in touch with those people on a day to day basis but they will see our feeds and everything. We don't spend a lot of money, well we spend hardly anything on publicity because we don't really need to because Facebook and Twitter do it all for us. And we wouldn't be able to do that without, you know, spending money in other ways, which we can't afford to do because we want to fund ALL the money into The Bravery Boxes. So yes, I would DEFINITELY recommend for any charity to do this.

Sophie - Because then, you just need one person share and then it goes onto something else, like I met someone today who had heard of them. So [...], social media has really changed the world (laughs). That's good then, if smaller charities can sign up and like you said, it's free and then you're out there really. And then, the more followers you get...'

For the last minute or so we spoke about how The Bravery Boxes would be going into at least one more hospital and if all goes well, their sixth before long. Lisa explained that there are 13 main centres in the country and that the charity is over the moon to be in a potential 6 of those.

So there you have it. This is just one example of many charities who are using social media to promote themselves and keep you all up to date of their current events and progress. Bravery Boxes are such a brilliant idea and I am glad that they have been so successful. Let's hope that they can find a place in those two new hospitals and you can follow their progress on Facebook by typing Bravery Boxes into the search bar and on Twitter at @BraveryBoxes.  Thank you so much to Lisa for letting us interview her, we have learned a lot and wish you and the charity all the best.

And for all you readers and viewers today thanks for watching and stay tuned for more interviews from Social Songbird.



One of the newest members of The SMF Group. Although she loves a good city life, she grew up in the beautiful French countryside. Who knew that talking to a bunch of cows and friendly chickens would get her here? Quite used to writing stories in her bedroom, she is now deciding if she's cut out for content writing. We'll see! Follow her @SophieAtSMF


Contact us on Twitter, on Facebook, or leave your comments below. To find out about social media training or management why not take a look at our website for more info: TheSMFGroup.com

Interview With Bravery Boxes Reviewed by Sophie Giscard on Friday, November 06, 2015 Rating: 5

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