It really helps if, as the CEO, you’re actually in the room at the beginning or in the early stages of an event to promote the voluntary sector use of digital and tech, which might sound a bit odd when so much of being social these days can be done virtually i.e. from somewhere else besides the place where the event is happening, but in this case, I think being face to face can really help to lay down good foundations.
We’ve been fortunate with VCSSCamp in that the infrastructure organisation RAWM (Regional Action West Midlands) was the main sponsor of the first one in 2013, and their CEO, Sharon Palmer, was able to be there for the early part of the event. Sharon was also there for most of VCSSCamp 2 in June 2014, and we also had our second CEO, Andy Gray from Dudley CVS (who also sponsored both VCSSCamp 1 and 2) at that one. Neither of these CEOs would claim to be social media, or digital, experts, but they knew enough to want to be there, and it was clear that they both appreciate the staff and volunteers they have who do know and use digital a bit more regularly.
And so we came to VCSSCamp 3 in Barnsley. The venue was ace – accessible, light-filled and plenty of room to move around in. The Voluntary Action Barnsley staff were warm and welcoming and the CE of Community Services, Nigel Middlehurst, was present from the start, working on his iPad until we began the intros. He explained that he would have to leave during the morning to attend another event, and we didn’t really expect him back. But he did come back, and he also went to several of the day’s sessions. He also took part, as did everyone else at VCSSCamp 3, in a Happy Birthday Vine (6-second video) shot by unconference veteran John Popham.
My point in referencing these 3 CEOs is that they made the time to come to VCSSCamp, and they stayed in the room, listening, learning and participating. They may become more social themselves, they may not, but they are demonstrating a fundamental quality of being a good leader, that they understand the importance of social and that they are supporting their staff, volunteers and trustees to be so. Isn’t that a key part of becoming a social CEO?
More reading including this year’s list of top charity #socialCEOs:
‘Social Media: A Briefing for Charity CEOs’ PDF by Zoe Amar and Matt Collins
Six ways charity chief executives are using social media for good by Zoe Amar, Nov 7 2014