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Collaborating to deliver services online

Priscilla McClay from our online community team recently blogged about how we’re collaborating with the services teams to deliver some of our services digitally. This post originally appeared on Together We’re Better. You can follow Priscilla on Twitter at @millionmonkeys.

The Macmillan Online Community is a huge source of support to people affected by cancer. Although we’re part of the digital team, you could say that the site is one of Macmillan’s services, just like our helpline and information centres. So it’s really important that we work closely with services staff.

Macmillan has lots of experts working in services – including nurses, benefits advisers, financial guides, helpline and information centre staff, and editors who work on our booklets and information materials. They’re all very experienced at supporting people face-to-face, on the phone, by email or in printed materials.

We believe digital should become business as usual for these teams – just one more channel that they can use to reach people. With so many of our audience using both our own community and social media sites, it’s about making our services available where people already are. Here are some of the ways we’re working on integrating with services.

Webchats

Two or three times a month, nurses or benefits advisers from the helpline join us for a live webchat in the Online Community chatroom. At least once a month, we also hold a similar chat on Facebook, and our helpline nurses are also available to help answer queries that come in via Facebook.
We publish a transcript of the chat afterwards on our blog – these reach thousands of people every month, and the majority of people find them through search engines.

Blogging

Services staff can have input into the Community News Blog by writing guest posts or providing expertise to help me write blog posts.
Some other staff also have their own separate blogs, for example the Cancer Information Development team blog, which they use to promote our information in booklets and on the website. With the right support, they’ve now reached the point where they schedule and write their own regular posts largely independent of us.

Forums

For the most part, services teams don’t currently have much of a presence on the Online Community forums, but this is something we’d like to increase.
We’ve been testing out an account for our financial guidance team – they search the site for posts about financial issues and post a response where appropriate.

Check out Priscilla’s other posts on Together We’re Better. Find out more about Macmillan’s Online Community and our other services.

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