In the Western world, we are no strangers to digital. Most people now carry a smartphone and own a desktop, laptop computer or tablet, providing them with access to the entirety of the world’s knowledge at the touch of a button. Statistics recorded in March 2019 show that currently, out of the 7.72 billion people on this planet, 56.8% have access to the internet. That’s an incredible 4.4 billion people in total or an increase of 1,114% since the year 2000!
This equates to a lot of potential missed opportunities for charities without a digital strategy in place and could be the difference between a struggling non-profit and one that has a number of loyal and returning donors.
In the recently published Charity Digital Skills Report 2019, of the 540 responses received from active charities, only 10% of those had undergone a full digital transformation. Of those that had gone digital, 35% - more than a third - had no digital strategy in place. If you are a non-profit considering undertaking a digital transformation or looking at how to implement a charity digital strategy, we are here to help. We have provided the following explanation as to why a digital strategy is so important.
Why is Digital Strategy Important?
Without a digital strategy in place, charities can create an online presence but will quickly lose out on the effectiveness and benefits if it is not kept up to date or regularly providing information that adds value. This can leave many businesses, even in the private sector, feeling like they are fumbling around in the dark and hoping that opportunities will seek them out, rather than creating their own. By creating a digital strategy around your core views and goals, you can reach your target audience on the platforms that they use most frequently, whether this is mobile, desktop or tablet.
With a digital strategy prepared and making use of tools such as Google Analytics, charities can set up their goals to track and use gathered data to amend their digital strategy according to successful charity campaigns run in the past. It also provides the opportunity for charities to be more dynamic, reacting in real-time to events and disasters that they would normally be trailing behind to support offline. In the eyes of search engines, like Google, your digital strategy needs to be both informative and engaging for your visitors. The more valuable and trustworthy your content is, the faster you will see uploaded content indexed in search results and the easier it is for your target audience to find you online.
By making use of analytics tools that gather data from visitors to your website, you can ensure your content is fully optimised for the devices they prefer to use, particularly with the introduction of Mobile First. For websites with existing content, previous data should be used to find out what sort of content your visitors were most engaged with and create similar content to encourage return visitors and a longer time on-site.
How to Action a Digital Transformation
“Digital transformation means integrating digital across our organisation to deliver our vision, create value, give our audience great experience and services and develop a competitive advantage.”
– Zoe Ammar, main researcher and author of The Charity Digital Skills Report
Actioning a digital transformation can be daunting to charities who have yet to venture into the online world. Many find that they are held back by circumstances such as a lack of funding (56%), missing skills (53%) or simply not knowing where to begin (19%).
In order to decide the digital route that would serve your charity most efficiently, look at your current strategy, visions and goals, and consider what digital tools or platforms would complement your current offline strategy. Digital transformations aren’t solely based on creating an online presence. Instead, they are focused around making the best use of the available digital tools within the existing resource and training staff to have the confidence to utilise digital services.
For instance, by effectively using social media platforms including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, charities can increase their reach and improve their online visibility while providing an online avenue of communication for their target audience to connect. The greatest resource required for social media platforms is frequently updated content which will require a copywriter for written posts or someone experienced in recording and editing videos or podcasts.
Taking this further, non-profits with their own branded website offer a central point of information and can use their site to encourage trust and loyalty with their audience, pushing the charity into a position of authority. Another key aspect of a website is the ability to run charity campaigns and appeals simultaneously and utilise online tools including email marketing and custom donation platforms. However, launching a website does require an increased amount of resource including design, development, and populating the different appeal and information pages.
Looking for guidance to create your own digital strategy or lacking confidence in undertaking a digital transformation?
Your charity no longer needs to worry about lacking the tools and skills to take your digital confidence to the next level. i3MEDIA is experienced in helping charities grow their online presence, target their ideal audience, and putting the power of digital into their hands. Take a look at the charity digital tools we can implement for you or explore our previous charity digital campaigns we have successfully run for many years.