Five tips for using digital to increase impact, develop skills and improve sustainability

Five tips for using digital to increase impact, develop skills and improve sustainability

Guest Bloggers | 26 February 2019

Ahead of Zoe Amar’s session at the Digital Fundraising Conference next month, she has put together some top tips for how your charity should be using digital every day to achieve more.

1. Brainstorm what impact looks like.

Every charity worth its salt wants to increase its impact. That’s not breaking news. But what could digital really help you do? Double your reach? Triple your fundraising? Develop a product or service which could change the life of your beneficiaries? A technique we use with the charities we work with is Google’s 10x thinking. What would happen if you tried to improve something by 10x, rather than by 10%?

2. Define the measures which show how you have increased your impact.

What does each stage of change or support look like for your beneficiaries? Look at where you can use data to track this and measure impact. For example, we worked with an alcohol support charity a while ago who were able to use the data they had to map out a step by step journey as their beneficiaries overcame addiction, identifying what change looked like at each stage (such as visiting the website once they acknowledged that they needed help).

3. Commit to skilling up.

90% of all jobs in the next 20 years will require some form of digital knowledge, according to figures from the Department for Education. The days of restricting learning to a face to face course once or twice a year are over. I recommend doing a digital skills audit to find out what staff are good at, where the gaps are, where they need to increase their confidence, and how they like to learn. Then work with them and managers to develop a plan for improvement. Take a look at NCVO’s Building a Digital Workforce Toolkit for ideas. Continuous learning on the job will be key. Think mentoring, YouTube videos, webinars and even suggesting that staff who need more support sit next to digitally savvy colleagues in the office.

4. Be more sustainable.

To be more sustainable, start with what your donors, beneficiaries and stakeholders really want. A good way to do this is to work through the best practice about putting users first in The Charity Digital Code of Practice. Understanding what they need, how they could support you, and how to build strong, long term relationships which are more than a transaction will be vital to our survival as a sector.

5. Our leaders need to step up.

To make all of this happen, the difference between success and failure is good leadership. We need leaders who can help set a vision for where our charities need to go, and give their colleagues the courage to get there. And that requires skills, confidence and resilience.

Take Fozia Irfan, Chief Executive of the Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation, who moved her organisation’s grant-making from paper-based to online systems. By doing this, her charity were able to handle a 50% increase in the number of applications and cut the time her grants managers spend on administration by 75%. We need more CEOs like Fozia in the sector and we need to celebrate them so that other leaders follow their example.

Zoe Amar will be talking about this and more at the Digital Fundraising Conference on Monday 25 March. See the full programme and book a place here.

Zoe Amar, Founder, Zoe Amar Digital