The Energy
in Review: 2020/21

Lightning emoji

Everything we do is ‘By MSers, for MSers’, because involving the MS community ensures we stay relevant and increases impact. Our work wouldn’t be possible without the efforts of Shift.ms volunteers, The Energy ⚡️

There’s no denying that it’s been a difficult year, but The Energy well and truly stood up to the plate, getting stuck in to reach more MSers and contribute more time than ever before 👏 🙌

The last year in numbers

280
People make up The Energy
2,915
Hours have been contributed over the last 12 months
92
Members of our community have taken over our social media channels
126
Buddies are part of the Buddy Network
A whopping
£43,398 GBP
$76,117 USD
of volunteer hours have been donated in kind

Successes

Content creation

We have had a bumper year of content creation by MSers, for MSers. Some of our highlights include:-

  • Revamping and restarting our guest blogs, offering a new and improved user experience for our bloggers and on our website.
  • Developing a Lightning Talks project, where MSers film a short, two minute video within the comfort of their own home on some of the most sought-after topics from the MS community including the COVID-19 vaccine, tips for managing fatigue and relationships. 
  • Our volunteers sharing some of their best MSer Life Hacks, which we turned into short, digestible graphics to spark conversations and empower our community.
  • Piloting a mid-week MSer Instagram Stories Takeover, with a new theme each week to keep a finger on the pulse of what’s relevant to our community.
  • 12 member of The Energy taking part in our 'Tomorrow' project; a season of content, sharing perspectives from MSers looking to the future 
  • 13 MSers to discussed the impact MS awareness (or the lack of) can have on close relationships as part of our “We Asked 13 MSers” series for #MSAwarenessWeek 2021.

Buddy Network

  • We matched over 140 MSers across the globe with a Buddy. Over 75% of these matches were with newly diagnosed MSers within the first two years of diagnosis.
  • Despite the challenges our community faced, and the competitions with other local volunteer opportunities, we were delighted to recruit three new Buddies per month.
  • We created more methods than ever for Buddies to support each other and share their experiences including quarterly Zoom calls and a WhatsApp group.
“It's so strange really, but being in the WhatsApp group and the couple of Zoom calls has made me feel really connected to everyone without ever meeting... It's a strange thing to try to describe but it is like being in a special club, admittedly it's a club you might not apply to join, but it's nice to know you're not alone and I think that probably was a bit of an issue for me early on. I've been much more accepting of my condition and my limitations since getting that connection.”
- Lucy, Buddy

Fundraising Highlights

Despite the coronavirus pandemic’s significant effect on sponsored challenge events, our wonderful community still managed to raise over £8000 ($11,000) through fundraising challenges. 

We’re grateful for every single pound raised by the community, which makes a huge difference to our work. Thanks especially to Lucy Riall, Isabel Riall, Poppy Riall, Dominic Shadbolt, Sheena Watts, Mark Webb, Fiona Brown and Emily Thompson for their excellent efforts in contributing to this huge amount of income.

We launched our first regular giving campaign where volunteers shared their stories of how Shift.ms has impacted their lives and encourage the community to support us to help ensure we are always here for those who need us.

“Volunteering for Shift.ms has given me a sense of taking action against my MS, and channelling it into something good.”- Helen, Reward & Recognition Volunteer
Meeting up with others via online platforms has helped me feel much more part of a community, rather than an individual trying to volunteer all alone without support”- Ali, Buddy
I lost a lot of confidence in myself after my diagnosis but talking to other people at various stages of MS just keeps reminding me not to let MS stop me from living my life fully.”
- Bhagirathi, Buddy
In 2020/21 we:
  • Achieved a three-year National Lottery Community Fund grant that will primarily enable the Buddy Network to continue and offer our Buddies a stable environment.
  • Had a record number of Buddy requests (348), which is an increase of 180% on 2019/20. This makes up over 55% of total requests for support since the project’s began in 2017, partially thanks to the Shift.ms 5.0 website upgrade.
  • Rolled out our new-look blog page with improved visuals and user experience.
  • Tried out TikTok as a way of sharing information and engaging with our community.
  • Kicked-off and reviewed our pilot Ambassador programme.
So, what’s next for 2021/22?
  • We have plans to recruit for a TikTok Coordinator volunteer role, as well as fleshing out a TikTok strategy.
  • We'll develop a short, easily digestible volunteer strategy that will help current and future volunteers to understand Shift.ms’ vision and volunteer opportunities. We’ll continue to work creatively in co-production with The Energy on this project.
  • Using the insights we gained from our pilot, we’ll further develop the impact of our Ambassador programme.
  • We’ll continue to work creatively in co-production with The Energy to further develop our volunteer programme.

Thank you for your support

Shift.ms is dedicated to impacting the lives of MSers when they need us most. To continue to support Shift.ms give a one-off donation or set up a monthly gift.