Tis the Season to try Something New

18th December 2019

Our social enterprise activities took a new direction this month as we launched our Roar Christmas Calendar with links to Amazon through the amazon associates scheme.

Roar – Connections for Life Ltd is a charity and social enterprise based in Renfrewshire, but our ‘Stay Mobile Stay Connected’ campaign to urge people to take a fresh look at how to think about preventing avoidable falls and loneliness in older age is global. Our CEO Nicola Hanssen spoke at the EU falls Conference in Sweden this October and we have been doing some partnership work with a Falls Coalition led by Brenau University in Atlanta.

The idea behind the calendar was to package lots of the advice and ideas we give people throughout the year and collate them into ideas that relatives could consider buying for their loved ones this winter – with the hoped added bonus that it would generate some income for Roar. This built on the advent calendar we developed last year where we posted a mixture of practical advice, suggestions for ‘free gifts’ such as giving gran a voucher to promise you would spend time doing something nice with her in the coming year and a small number of suggested items. The post which featured tangible items did best, which prompted us to develop this into the product we have this year.

We posted the full calendar in the run up to December and the item suggested with an explanation of why this could help an elderly relative. Some of the posts also have a blog attached because it is a much broader piece of advice we want to get across – such as the things to be mindful of if you despatch 20 something grandchildren to collect grandparents and drive them to you for their Christmas meal and what they should look out for to avoid injuries. A number of the posts could have had a link to more science about why certain insoles promote better balance or the epidemiology behind nutrition but we decided this was going too far. We are not purporting to be specialists but using our experience of working day in day out with older people and understanding the challenges they face and things that might help but will certainly cause no harm. My personal favourite is ‘get granny on the protein.’ We watch older people’s muscle mass fading away because often they are not getting sufficiently high protein in their diet. By the time a GP prescribes you oral supplements such as Fortisips, then the person is already frail. Such an easy fix if you start sooner!

Time will tell if it has been a good use of time and resources. The actual signing up with Amazon to receive the income required reading through lots of terms and conditions and even then we got it wrong first time by not being quite specific enough where we would be posting the calendar entries, so had to re-request this after we started. One potentially exciting thing is that even if someone clicks through to Amazon but doesn’t buy the product you recommend but proceeds to buy other items, then we still get a percentage income from those unrelated purchases. Lessons so far is that you need to be a much bigger organisation than ours to have the level of web and social media traffic to really generate any income from this type of scheme however if the items we have recommended helps families buy something genuinely useful that helps people reduce their risk of falls and promotes wellbeing then I think it will have served its purpose and we might go on to feature products throughout the year

You can find the calendar on https://www.roarforlife.org/2019/11/21/christmas-calendar/