Forward Action is made up of hard working, compassionate and dedicated individuals who have come together to work towards a better world with our charity partners. Each month, our Meet the Team series will highlight one of the talented folk that work here, getting to know what they do, what they think about, and what gets them out of bed in the morning.
For our first ever Meet the Team spotlight, we have our Digital Creative, Lauren Wilson. From copywriting emails that drive extraordinary levels of supporter action, to writing top performing blog content, Lauren’s creative prowess can be seen across many of our most successful campaigns from the past year. A dog lover, bird watcher and exceedingly modest, keep reading to learn more about Lauren.
What do you do at Forward Action?
As Digital Creative, I work with our amazing Head of Creative, Chloe, copywriting for the campaigns we work on. It’s our job to find the words that will motivate people to click, sign up, donate and take action. You can also see me in action in a few of our blogs and over on our Twitter.
On a typical day I could be writing a welcome series for a partner, encouraging new supporters to feel like a key part of the movement story and motivating them to take action. Then later I’ll be drafting copy for a donation slide test for another partner, or brainstorming ideas in a creative session. Each day is varied, working across multiple campaigns, causes and tones of voice. It challenges me, but it’s also fun and it keeps me on my toes.
What are you currently working on?
We just hosted a creative session with a new partner this week, who we’re running a handraiser pilot with. So I’m now in the process of writing up the list of handraiser concepts generated from the session for them to choose which three they’ll take forward for testing.
As a specialist in writing copy for Digital Mobilisation projects, what’s one thing you’d love to see more charities using in their copy?
Using ‘horizontal language’ is such a game changer. It’s common to see vertical copy used in charity campaigns, for example: ‘We, the charity, are doing amazing things – give us money to help us do it’. At Forward Action, we like to flip this horizontally to: ‘We can only do this by working together, here’s how you can have an impact’. It’s about putting the supporter at the heart of the movement story and making them feel like their actions matter.
Thinking about things like a supporter helps, too. How can we take lots of policy-driven language, brand guidelines e.t.c. and communicate it all in a way that feels a bit more urgent, emotive and exciting to a supporter? As someone who gets lots of charity emails myself, I love getting fundraising emails that are supporter-centred like that – it really stands out!
What’s been your favourite project to work on and why?
For me the work we’ve done with Dignity in Dying stands out. It’s such an emotive and urgent cause, and one I didn’t know too much about before starting on the project. We’ve been able to collaborate with the Dignity in Dying team long-term doing everything from handraisers to driving supporters to take higher bar actions like meeting with MPs. The results are really inspiring.
What do you like best about working at Forward Action?
The culture! I know it can sound corny, but with Forward Action it really feels like we live our values every day. Everyone’s so open, supportive and committed to doing good. And we’ll go from cry-laughing over a hilarious memory someone shared in stand-up, to having serious, thought-provoking conversations about progressive issues – the balance is so refreshing.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I’m a textbook introvert. Outside of work, you’ll find me on Hampstead Heath, with binoculars in hand, getting ridiculously over-excited about birds (and cute dogs) – or at home with a good book, my yoga mat and a million cups of tea.
What’s your current favourite charity campaign?
I really love how the British Red Cross responded to the COVID-19 crisis. Instead of centring the emergency and leading with stats, they led with the themes we’ve all been talking about during the pandemic – like kindness, mutual support and pulling together. I think framing donations and volunteering as an act of kindness is so interesting, it’s so human! Not everyone sees themselves as a change-maker, but we all want to be a kind person. British Red Cross also launched a Kindfulness wellbeing box as a subscription service which ties in beautifully with their messaging. I think it’s a great example of borrowing what works from the corporate sector, too.
And finally, do you have any advice for someone looking to do what you do?
The best advice I’ve been given is to read, and read a lot. It gets said all the time but it’s so true. Explore what’s happening inside your sector, and look outside of it, too. Inspiration can strike from anywhere – like with the hashtag #CopySafari, where people celebrate snazzy words they’ve found out in the wild.
I’m way more of a words person than a numbers person, so looking at the data doesn’t come naturally to me (in fact, it can feel a bit scary). If you’re like me, my advice would be to see data as your friend. Working here I’ve learned it’s not enough to write pretty words or come up with an exciting concept. Creative doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Data tells us what actually works out in the wild and then we iterate from there. Sometimes the results are quite surprising or counterintuitive, so having that data to steer us helps to keep our creative super effective.
Finally, I think in this sector everything changes so fast, and it’s important to remember that you don’t, and can’t, know everything. I’m trying to remind myself all the time to keep an open mind, constantly ask questions and stay really curious. That’s the only way that you can innovate.
If you’d like to learn how to write amazing digital mobilisation copy, or to hear more about our work, feel free to get in touch here.