What is a Digital Strategy?
In the digital landscape, where technology is constantly adapting, charities must acclimate and evolve to make the most of the opportunities available to their organisation. A well-thought-out digital strategy can act as the compass that guides a charity towards its ultimate objectives and goals. It can also ultimately bring about digital transformation for charities.
A digital strategy for charities is a plan on how your organisation can leverage and use digital channels, tools, and techniques to achieve its mission and goals. By harnessing the power of technology, your organisation can improve operations, increase donor engagement, raise funds, and extend awareness.
While having a digital strategy can be hugely beneficial to charities, The Charity Digital Skills Report 2023 found that the cost of living crisis was having a negative impact on charity’s investment in digital. Charity Digital found that 3 out of 10 charities were spending less money on digital tools, 17% spending less on upskilling staff and volunteers and another 10% shelving internal digital projects.
So far in 2023, only 48% of charities reported having a digital strategy, which is a drop from 56% in 2022. However, 41% of charities expressed the desire to develop a digital strategy. If you’re looking to create a charity digital strategy, take a look at our 5 top tips.
1. Defining Your Charity’s Objectives
Before starting your charity’s digital strategy, it is crucial to understand your organisation’s objectives. Digital should be a method of serving the delivery of an organisation’s goals and objectives, so it’s important that they are aligned.
Firstly, assess where your charity currently is and where you would like it to be in terms of organisational strategy. Simply take each of the components in your organisational strategy and ask yourself where digital could come in to help facilitate and improve things. This will then help identify specific objectives for your charity.
Use SMART objectives (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) as a template to define actionable goals. For example, one SMART objective for a charity might be to increase its social media following on Facebook and Instagram by 10% by the end of the quarter. They can use analytics tools to measure and track follower count growth. The next stage would be to map out how you’re going to achieve this objective. In this case, you could implement a consistent posting schedule and invest in social media advertising.
It’s also important to set a time frame for when you’re likely to achieve the objective. This helps you to stay on track.
2. Understand Your Service Users
Once you’ve established your charity’s objectives, you can then take the next step of understanding your service users. You need to address the charity’s main needs and pain points. This includes the capabilities of service users, both the communities that your nonprofit serves as well as your own staff and volunteers.
By looking into your service users you can pick up on trends such as what digital skills they have. You can also assess how they currently engage with your charity versus how they would like to engage with it. There are a number of ways to research your service users, including conducting surveys and hosting focus groups.
3. What Digital Resources Are Available?
The next stage is to assess which digital resources are available to your organisation. In order to develop an effective digital strategy, it’s necessary to know what digital technology can offer your organisation.
Researching and exploring the wide range of digital tools and platforms available to charities is an important part of the process. We know that this can be a daunting and time-consuming task. But there are several Managed Service Providers, including our team at Qlic, who can help to analyse which digital resources are appropriate for your organisation. If you’d like help identifying what IT and digital services could benefit your charity’s digital strategy, book your free IT consultation with our technical experts here!
One great example of technologies and software that can align with your objectives and budget is Microsoft. Microsoft 365 for charity has a full suite of cloud solutions to help take your organisation to a level of scalability. Microsoft also integrates into existing systems or can be migrated to with ease.
4. Design and Develop a Comprehensive Implementation Plan
Once you have defined your charity’s objectives, understood your service users and researched which digital tools are available, it’s then time to create and develop a comprehensive implementation plan.
At this stage, it is highly important to put in place a timeline, budget allocation, and clear roles and responsibilities. Your objectives should also be clearly defined within the plan.
Then you can start to map out the introduction and implementation of your chosen digital platforms, services and digital channels. These might include CMS, CRM software, analytics tools etc. The plan should qualify what goal and objectives each of these digital platforms will help to meet, how and when they are to be rolled out, who will be using them and what resources and training is required for their implementation and success.
5. Be Prepared To Adapt
When implementing a digital strategy for your charity, it is important to be flexible and allow room for testing and learning during the process. Setting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and consistently tracking progress throughout the implementation will help to keep your digital strategy on track.
Once the implementation process is underway you can start to analyse data, identify trends, and make informed adjustments to help optimise your strategy. By doing this, you are well on the way to implementing a successful charity digital transformation.
Closing Remarks on a Charity Digital Strategy
In conclusion, there are a huge number of benefits to having a digital strategy for your charity. Ultimately, it allows charities to formulate the best way to use digital technology to achieve their goals.
Implementing a digital strategy can help a nonprofit transform how it operates, communicates, and delivers. As we continue in this digital age, charities that embrace a digital strategy will be better equipped to adapt, grow, and make a more significant impact on the communities they serve.
Do you need help identifying what IT and digital services could benefit your charity’s digital strategy? Book your FREE IT Consultation now by clicking the button below.