In an increasingly digital world, the need for charities to develop and implement a robust digital strategy has never been more critical.
The Charity Digital Skills Report of 2023 reveals that over half (52%) of charities lack a strategic approach to digital, and over a third (34%) admit to being poor at investing in digital effectively.
With this piece we aim to address these challenges head-on and provide actionable insights to help charities navigate the complexities of setting up and actioning a successful digital strategy.
The Power of a Strategic Approach:
A strategic approach to digital is not just an option; it is an imperative for charities to thrive in the digital landscape. By crafting a well-defined digital strategy, organisations can align their goals, resources, and efforts to leverage the potential of technology effectively.
43% of charities express the desire for their leaders to embed and develop a good digital strategy, indicating the growing recognition of its importance in driving success.
A strategic approach empowers charities to identify digital priorities, allocate funding, and address challenges proactively, ultimately leading to enhanced donor engagement, improved service delivery, and increased social impact.
Identifying Digital Priorities:
To develop a successful digital strategy, charities must identify their digital priorities. This involves understanding the unique needs and challenges of their organisation and choosing digital initiatives that align with their mission and values. Conducting a digital needs assessment, engaging stakeholders, defining clear objectives, and addressing pain points help prioritise initiatives.
Investing in Digital Effectively:
While the digital realm offers vast opportunities, investing in the right areas is crucial.
With just over a third of charities (34%) rating themselves poor at investing in digital effectively, charities should assess their current capabilities and identify areas where additional investment will yield the most significant returns.
This may include training staff, adopting new technologies, or improving digital infrastructure.
Embracing Digital Trends and Innovation:
More than half of charities (56%) say they are poor at staying up to date with trends, whilst a third (37%) want their leaders to take charge and better understand how upcoming digital trends could affect their charity.
To stay relevant, charities must actively keep pace with digital trends and innovations. Leaders must foster a culture of continuous learning and exploration to adapt to changing digital landscapes effectively.
A deeper understanding of digital trends and their potential impact on charities is crucial for leaders. By being informed and open to embracing digital advancements, leaders can lead with confidence and make informed decisions.
Securing Funding for Digital Development:
Securing funding for digital development is a critical aspect of successfully implementing a digital strategy for charities.
Nearly half (45%) of charities require funding to allocate time and resources to develop their digital approach.
To overcome challenges in securing adequate funding, charities should proactively advocate for support specifically earmarked for digital initiatives. Building a compelling case that emphasises the potential impact of digital transformation, cost-effectiveness, and enhanced donor engagement can attract potential donors and grantors.
Collaborating with corporate partners and exploring crowdfunding campaigns are also effective ways to secure funding for digital development. By actively seeking funding opportunities and presenting a clear vision for their digital future, charities can secure the necessary resources to implement their strategic digital priorities effectively.
Enhancing Digital Service Delivery:
Nearly a third (28%) of charities rate their digital service delivery as poor.
By investing in user-friendly digital platforms, intuitive interfaces, and streamlined processes, charities can improve service delivery and enhance the overall donor and beneficiary experience.
37% of charities see spending less time on administrative tasks as a growing need, another factor that can be easily reduced with the right platform and digital delivery in place.
Building Digital Literacy and Skills:
Building digital literacy and skills is a foundational pillar for charities to fully harness the potential of technology in their operations. Leaders should prioritise ongoing training and upskilling of staff members to ensure they can effectively utilise digital tools and platforms to their fullest extent.
Moreover, fostering a culture of innovation within the organisation is equally vital. Encouraging a mindset where risk-taking is viewed as an opportunity for growth rather than a failure allows staff members to experiment with new technologies and ideas. Leaders should create a supportive environment that acknowledges the value of learning from mistakes and exploring novel digital solutions.
By nurturing digital literacy and fostering a culture of innovation, charities enable their staff to embrace digital tools confidently and contribute meaningfully to the organisation's digital strategy. Moreover, an empowered workforce is better equipped to adopt new technologies and adapt to the dynamic digital landscape, thus maximising the positive impact of digital transformation on the charity's overall mission.
In a digital era where technology drives social impact, a strategic digital approach is non-negotiable for charities. By prioritising digital strategy, investing in the right areas, staying updated with trends, and fostering a culture of innovation, charities can effectively navigate the digital landscape and maximise their positive impact on the communities they serve. As we move forward, let us collectively empower charities with the knowledge, tools, and support they need to thrive in a digital-first world.