Ain’t what you say – It’s the way you say it

TimeBank wants to change the way people use their time to help solve social issues and guests were invited to explore different ways of getting people to change their behaviour.


TimeBank started out as a campaign ten years ago – to inspire and encourage people to volunteer. It was really successful and since then we’ve learnt a great deal.

We think differently about volunteering.

And we want you to as well.

"Ain’t what you say – It’s the way you say it."

How do you get people thinking differently about volunteering? That’s what we wanted people to think about at our first event.

We asked three experts to share how they tried to change public behaviour. Add enthusiastic guests, a welcome from Helen Walker, TimeBank’s Chief Executive, lively debate, challenging discussion and jumping. Yes really!

Peter Barron, Head of Communications & Public Affairs, North and Central Europe, Google - shared what he's learnt over the years:

If something catches fire on the web it can be massive. But where there's no response whatsoever - the silence is deafening.

Launch and be prepared to change. Just get your idea out there and see if it works. You don't need a huge budget, or huge plan.

Be extremely promiscuous and use communications whenever you can. Don't just think about new media - use all media wherever you can.

Peter shared one this year's surprise hits - Evian Rollerbabies. 70 million watched it online – if you weren’t one of them take a look.

And finally Peter’s top tip...

Have a look at Google’s Insights for Search to find out what people are searching for online.

Paul Newman, former Communications Director for Liverpool 2008, revealed how the city used its status as European Capital of Culture to change public attitudes.

Liverpool saw an 80% increase in visits to cultural venues with the Tate Liverpool selling tickets in advance for the first time ever.

Paul's tips:

You won't please all the people all the time. You may face criticism but remain focused on your outcomes. Once people see the results the good PR will come rolling in.

Leaving a lasting legacy is as important as the campaign itself. It’s not all about getting financial results - . venues are now engaged with diverse audiences for the long term.

Paul also got the chance to ask our guests the question, ‘Over the last 10 years have we become more savvy and less susceptible to campaigns?’

“Campaigning should become a conversation piece.”

“You have to do more to get people to notice a campaign.”

“It’s about being entertained.”

“There is a difference between a campaign and spin – we’re definitely more spin aware.”

Brain-stretching stuff. That’s how Mark Earls’ book ‘Herd’ has been described, and that’s what our guests were treated to at his workshop.

Humans are herd animals not individuals - and Mark has three principles on how to change behaviour effectively:

Changing behaviour needs to do be done ‘with’ and not ‘to’ people

Make it fun

Make it visible – let people see each other so they can copy it.

Things that don't change people's behaviour:

Traditional marketing campaigns

‘Change management’ - doesn’t work because doing it ‘to’ not ‘with’ someone

Social policy - not effective at changing citizens’ behaviour.

In the Timebank workshop we asked each guest a question, specially tailored to their areas of experience and expertise.

We\'re hoping the answers given will spark ongoing debate about the future of volunteering, seed new ideas and help us to open up conversations and collaborations.

At Timebank we’re strong believers in the power of one to one conversations and face to face chats.

We want volunteering to become part of the fabric of everyday life.

If you’re interested in helping us do this drop Helen Walker an email or call 020 7785 6450.

We’d love to hear from you.


Go on to Event 2: Ain't what you say - it's the way you do it