Since 1931 the National Trust for Scotland has looked after the things that make Scotland special, from coastlines to castles, art to architecture and wildlife to wilderness, conserving and protecting them for future generations.
In 2020 the Trust’s ability to make heritage accessible to everyone was severely restricted. Doors to properties were closed and access to open spaces was restricted as the threat of Covid spread across the country.
How do you maintain a connection with members when the one thing that unites them, assess to heritage, is severely limited? To answer this, we create a programme of content that spanned the member magazine, online content and virtual events.
The magazine focussed not only on the locations that people could visit (although evolving government advice made that more than slightly tricky), but also why, and how, the Trust looks after it. In doing this we shifted the content of the magazine away from talking about hard benefits (access to properties) towards talking about the Charity’s cause (conservation, protection and education).
While the physical magazine is a vital part of our membership offer it is now only one of the ways in which members can engage with the Trust. The print title is great for ‘broadcasting’ content to members but digital channels, such as the virtual talks, are where two-way conversations start.
We launched a series of virtual talks in October 2020, led by the magazine team, interviewing the Trust’s experts with live Q&A sessions exclusive to members. Our first event was attended by 750 members, the second 950, then 1,200 and 1,600 with up to 1,000 members watching the sessions on catch up.
One member said, “At age 75 I'll never be able to do more than drive through Glencoe, but it was wonderful to follow your expert along the ridges. I enjoyed the programme infinitely more than I would have expected. I signed up from a worthy, but dull, sense of duty....and came away enthused!!”