Real-life social-media success stories – from the frontline!

In the years that we’ve been running Gain & Retain – our 12-month social-media education program – we’ve seen some incredible transformations. We’ve seen NFPs grow their volunteer numbers, worthy causes bring in valuable donations and social enterprises increase their brand awareness.

We came up with the idea for Gain & Retain because we wanted to help the hundreds of thousands of NFPs and worthy causes across Australia increase their impact. We wanted to help them help more people!

We’re really proud to say that we’ve done that with Gain & Retain. We continue to do that!

But it’s all well and good us telling you that Gain & Retain is effective. You want to know from the source, right? You want to know what you’ll learn and how you’ll achieve your goals!

That’s why we’ve had a chat to a few of our more recent clients and asked them to share their stories.

First up, Rebecca Smith from SHQ, explains the position her organisation was in prior to Gain & Retain:

When we started G&R, we really wanted some direction about where to take our social media presence, and also some practical help around using the different platforms – but were unsure where to go about commencing either. We didn’t have a lot of networks we could turn to for support, so connecting with others going through the same journey has been invaluable.”

For Allison Hooper at Solaris Cancer Care, Gain & Retain presented an opportunity to really grasp the concept of social media and use it fearlessly. It was a chance to tackle the imposter syndrome that is so common in this industry.

“I needed this, as I am a nurse, now managing volunteers – I had no social media knowledge or experience,” Allison says.

“As I work in an NFP organisation, I have to wear several ‘hats’ and suddenly I was blindly assisting with social media. I felt I was incompetent and going to let Solaris down.”

Quickly, both Allison and Rebecca gained both confidence and skills, which they were able to put into practice at their organisations.

“My confidence and ability changed dramatically,” Allison explained. “I understood storytelling, media, why we post, how, when! I plan socials monthly and theme my months which makes it so much easier. I changed my structured boring posts into a story!

“My main achievement was being given the entire role when our Marketing and Media Manager left the organisation. My CEO had enough confidence in me to be the sole admin for all socials for Solaris and Red Sky Ride – extremely daunting and time consuming – but I am really proud of myself.

“I learnt, put into action and now teach others in our organisation.”

Rebecca at SHQ had similar successes: “G&R provided us with the skills needed to develop and implement a strategy focused on our key values and service offerings, including tailoring content for different audiences,” she says.

“As a team we have commenced monthly content planning sessions, and have an annual content planner to allow us time to plan and create worthwhile content.

“We are also clear on the purpose of each post, and the call to action we want to see as a result. In a nutshell, we PRIORITISE social media – and in turn see the results.

“We are really proud of all the positive feedback we have received, and continue to receive, from a range of stakeholders, about how well-regarded our social media work has become – it’s not unusual for us to receive a message along the lines of ‘Love your work’ or ‘You are doing great things’. It makes us feel as though our efforts are having a real impact.”

Over at Zonta House, Ella Kent was spurred into creating an Instagram account for her charity, which supports victims of domestic and family violence. It soon became one of the best brand-awareness activities she could have done!

“I’m really proud that we started Instagram and had some amazing results in a short space of time, with some really influential people jumping on board to follow and support us, including Amy Zempilas and Edwina Bartholomew!”

Finally, Ella, Rebecca and Allison want to share their top tips for social-media success, which they learnt through Gain & Retain!


  • Be clear on your values and stick to the stuff that matters – don’t get overwhelmed or distracted by the small stuff (it’s easy to do)
  • Show the human side to your work – audiences love to see and hear from REAL people. It also brings staff along for the (joyous) ride
  • Don’t be afraid to have a bit of fun. There have been too many laughs to mention over the last 12 months (and unexpected but welcome bonus)


Don’t be afraid – of posts, of making a mistake, of taking pictures, of making polls – I learnt if I did make a mistake, learn from it and go on!


Don’t be afraid to take risks (even if it means posting about Married at First Sight)! It will all pay off!

We hope you can take something from the successes of these wonderful causes! Our applications for the next round of Gain & Retain are open soon, so please get in touch if you’d like to join in.

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