How working with Social AF helped Stroke Association increase income.

Social AF only recruits people who have 3+ years of experience in the third sector. This means that not only do we have the instincts needed to seamlessly slot into managing social media moderation, but we also understand and empathise with some of the difficulties people can face when working in charities.

Part of our commitment to delivering an exceptional service includes ensuring that we gain everything we need to work as autonomously as possible to maximise our charity partner’s time saved, so other areas of their role can thrive.

One charity partner who has felt the full benefit of working with an external agency is Stroke Association. We have had the pleasure of working with the Stroke Association on their Facebook challenge program for over a year. Together, we’ve run 6 challenges raising more than £375,000.

Stroke Association team

The size of the team looking after Facebook challenges at Stroke Association may surprise you. There are two main members of staff, the lovely Emily and Emma, who together look after the overall strategy, manage product development, and create all the necessary assets and marketing plans. They receive support from a Digital Marketing Officer who looks after the set-up of the ads, and they have access to their warehouse team who pack and dispatch all the incentives.

For everyone involved, Facebook challenges are just one aspect of their job. In addition, they manage the entire portfolio of online and in-person mass participation events.


Before working together, Stroke Association managed every aspect of Facebook challenges, including full-time moderation of the Facebook groups. One individual predominantly manned the group and answered all email enquiries, requiring anywhere from 2 to 7 hours a day depending on the level of queries, registrations and general engagement.

Utilising time-saved

Saving 2-7 hours a day for any team is massive, and the Stroke Association wasted no time at putting that time saved to good use. Emily Higgins, the New Product Development Manager at Stroke Association (and all-round fundraising legend) said…

“Because of the saved time, I’ve been able to step back from being ‘in the thick’ of each individual challenge to focus on creating a strategy for our Facebook challenge programme as a whole – researching new propositions, putting together a testing strategy and streamlining the overall process. It has allowed the breathing space to move away from reactive planning to be more considered and big picture planning.”

What the future looks like for Stroke Association

Emily said, “It is still very much growing for us, despite the consensus that it has already passed its peak.”

We are super excited to work with Stroke Association for another year and see where these next round of challenges end up. We’re predicting another record-breaker!

What lessons can you learn from Stroke Association?

If you have a challenge that’s performed well repeat it

If you’re always testing and changing challenge concepts, how will you know what should be core concepts? Repeating successful challenges also gives you the ability to test and refine donor journeys – which are lessons you can take into a multitude of income streams.

Use your resources wisely

If strategic roles in your charity have become more reactionary and filled with regular daily tasks, you need to make some changes. Investing in expert support, recruiting for a new role or reallocating staff time might be something you need to consider to ensure your organisation can dedicate the right resources to the right task.

Be positive, and open to innovation, but remain realistic with your expectations

Stroke Association committed themselves to a programme of challenges and were comfortable with the idea that some areas may not perform as well as others. They approached new challenges or new elements of the donor journey with the perfect balance of positivity and realism. Often, when we have conversations with charities who are disappointed with their performance, there’s a disconnect between what they wanted to achieve and what was realistically possible. Be kind to yourself, and don’t let the poor performance of one challenge put you off trying again.

Embrace Facebook challenges as an opportunity

When Emily met with our friends at GivePanel to discuss the success of one of their flagship challenges (Skip for Stroke) she had this to say:

“For smaller charities who haven’t got as much budget to spend, if you’ve got the kind of dedication to put behind and make a good engaging group, then I would recommend that Facebook Challenges are the way forward. We’re still managing to grow because where the market says things are dipping, that is at a level that is so much higher than what we’re currently at. So there is still room for so much growth.”

You can read more about the success of Skip for Stroke here 👉

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