BRIDGE – PeacePlayers Northern Ireland and their social media journey

Emma Moore
Relationship Manager
11 Dec 2019

This week we chatted to Leif Frymire at PeacePlayers – Northern Ireland about their social media journey. They were part of our pilot programme, in partnership with Comic Relief, building resilience in digital growth and engagement (BRIDGE).

Leif is a Programme Coordinator at PeacePlayers which is a global organisation that uses basketball and other sports to unite, educate and inspire young people, specifically in areas affected by conflict.

A number of organisations on the programme mentioned that they understood the value of social media and storytelling when they embarked on the programme, but were unsure where to start. These charities were didn’t know how to craft the ask within a story, how to approach telling a story about sensitive topics or how to create a series of posts around one topic.

Charities have a huge untapped resource when it comes to stories which can be shared on social media, especially when running larger campaigns with a goal or desired outcome. Helping the people behind the scenes at charities to share their stories helps to build trust with their audience and also creates transparency within your organisation.

Continue reading to find out more about Leif’s journey around social media storytelling.

It would be great if you could tell us a little about PeacePlayers

PeacePlayers is a global organisation which uses sport, mostly basketball, to unite divided communities. We create programmes that engage the community in local and sustained ways. We challenge the division that is driven by the fear of our differences and legacy of the past. Through the game of basketball, we bridge divides, develop leaders and change perceptions. The goal is that if children can learn to play together, they can learn to live together.

PeacePlayers puts the children we work with at the centre of everything we do and strive to give them a space to play, learn and become champions of peace. Throughout the programmes we run, children are coming from opposite sides of generational conflict and are placed on integrated teams. Leveraging basketball’s unique team-building skills, we are able to breakdown the stereotypes and prejudices these young people have inherited from the previous generation to show that they are not dissimilar. A unique example of this is the Belfast Interface League where after a few months of being coached and practicing on their integrated teams, participants from across Belfast come together for an end of term celebration tournament where they’ll meet and compete against others on the basketball court; stereotypes are shattered and friendships can blossom.

Let’s think about 12 months ago, how did you approach storytelling and engaging your audience on social media?

I had pretty limited knowledge of how to create and run campaigns on social media with no background in marketing and communications. I wanted to get a better grasp on how to use social media within our fundraising strategy. We knew that there must be a way to create engaging content and also how to encourage our audience of ambassadors to become donors.

As an organisation, we hoped to increase our bank of fundraising tips and tricks and thereby increase the number of donations we receive through social media. Our tried and tested approach was not working as well as we had hoped and we knew that we needed to adapt our strategy.

What were some of the most helpful lessons you have learned during your social media journey?

The masterclasses I attended were great, especially because I have been able to share them with teams in regional offices who also benefit from learning these skills.

Being able to be flexible with my learning and also when using the platform has been a massive bonus as time is so limited in my role.

We started to notice that our posts about events we were running outperformed the other posts we had created. I realised that we could build a story around these posts in order to engage our audience more regularly to continue the engagement on our social channels. This was one massive takeaway for us. Combined with insights from posts that have performed well we also are now able to understand what was needed to tell a good story on social media in order to help us raise more funds during campaigns.

We found the StoryBuilder feature really useful as telling a story on social media was a new concept for us. I feel with the limited time I have, being guided with the “draft” copy was really useful in helping us to construct that story.

Our stand out moment in the last 12 months in terms of social media was the first time we used the short story builder. We were able to share with our audience – what our challenges were and then what we’re doing to fix it. We raised awareness and reached 5000 people over one weekend with our great story. We found that the way the posts link together but can also stand alone really interesting and incorporated this into our narrative. The posts had an impact when viewed on their own, but had a larger impact when viewed together.

What have you been able to achieve in the last 12 months?

One of the things that have been great is access to professional resources to improve my understanding of communications and fundraising. When we first began our journey we wanted to get a better grasp on how to use social media as part of our fundraising strategy.

We are now able to better understand our audience and also identify new ambassadors. We will continue to develop our understanding of how to encourage ambassadors to become donors.

I have been able to develop the skills I need to create engaging content, specifically content focusing on fundraising. I have also been introduced to a number of additional tools to assist me with content planning in the future. This means we can now confidently create a story for use on social media when asking for fundraising support.

We now use our Facebook page to share what we do, sharing information about our advocacy work, photos and blogs. We have found it to be a great platform.

What are you hoping to continue in your next phase of your social media journey?

When I first started my social media journey I had no background in marketing or communications. I wanted to get a better grasp of how to use social media for our fundraising strategy. NowI’ve completed the course I would like to continue to develop our understanding of how to encourage ambassadors to become donors. We are also creating an ambassadors toolkit to share with the young people who participate in our activities.

We saw success with our last social action project where our young helped to clean a beach. They had created their own goals and outcomes and shared their progress using social media. We hope more projects and events can look like this to encourage greater engagement and storytelling.

Supporting PeacePlayers – Northern Ireland

Website –

Twitter – @peaceplayersni

Facebook – @peaceplayersni

LinkedIn – @peaceplayers-northern-ireland

Learning more about BRIDGE

Organisations we have spoken to have told us that they face similar barriers when it comes to storytelling including:

  • Uncertainty of where to start with telling a story – Charities often feel overwhelmed with where to start. But storytelling using social media is the same as writing any form of story or copy.
  • How to approach a sensitive subject when telling a story – Often there is a hesitancy in creating a story when it is about a sensitive topic. Approaching these topics with respect and transparency is crucial to telling these stories for your organisation.
  • Understanding of who we are targeting when storytelling – Charities often have not taken the time to understand who their audience is. Taking the steps into finding out who your target audience is by using analytics and creating personas helps to target who you want to share your messaging with on social media.

This is why we have created the programme with three main objectives; to combat these barriers. Increase the digital skills and confidence of participants, improve social engagement through better storytelling and help them to build financial resilience. Organisations come away with solutions and strategies to help them to become more resilient and put digital-first.

Stay tuned to hear about the social media journeys of other organisations in our next few blog posts! To find out more about BRIDGE, please email us

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