Three digital skills every fundraiser should have
We live in a constantly evolving digital landscape. Whether we’re at home or in the office, we’re connected through the internet and social media, smart phones and smart watches, tablets and digital assistants. But how many of us see our digital skills as key career assets?
According to the 2018 Charity Digital Skills Report, 75 per cent of charities believe digital skills would help them increase their fundraising, while 61 per cent rated their digital fundraising skills as fair to low. So what does that mean for modern fundraisers?
Meaningful digital skills not only develop motivation in using new channels, but also encourage people and organisations to grow. When you come into a new fundraising role with an established level of digital know-how, you’ll not only improve fundraising practices, but you’ll also increase the likelihood of quick advancement in your career.
Ready to take that next step? Here are three digital skills you should invest in to impress employers and make an impact at your new company.
1. Build audience personas and user journeys
In order to effectively appeal to your fundraising audience, you need to first understand who they are and how they behave. Where do the majority of your donors come from? How old are they? How to they land on your website and how long does it take for them to convert?
There’s no substitute for knowing your audience. A persona is a data-driven profile of your typical supporters and a user journey is a map of all the stages your audience could interact with. Having insight into these can help you create content that appeals to your specific audience and helps you to target your efforts on key points in the conversion process. Despite all the tools at hand to build these, many charities don’t have strategies for developing personas. This is why the ability to interpret data and understand how your audience thinks is paramount to the success of any fundraising campaign.
Personas are invaluable for building empathy with real users. The more you understand them, the more you’ll be able to appeal to both their emotional and logical sides. If you have experience using tools like Google Analytics to get to know your audience, you’re more likely to appeal to recruiters or management looking for high-level fundraisers.
2. Influencer marketing
No matter the size of your charity, it always helps to have a boost from someone influential in your digital network. Whether it’s a celebrity tweeting about your cause or blogger helping get your message out there, the more people you have spreading your message, the better. It’s been proven that consumers are more likely to trust a third-party recommendation than something directly from the organisation. This is because a personal connection builds authenticity.
Online networking skills are extremely valuable in the modern influencer market. Because you’re working for a charity, you have the added benefit of getting more people to promote your message for free. Finding the right people who are passionate about your cause (and have a great deal of followers) can ultimately mean that they’re doing most of the fundraising for you.
Take, for example the YouTube star Zoella who became the first Digital Ambassador for the mental health charity Mind. This was a natural partnership because she openly admitted to suffering from anxiety. The joint campaign between Zoella and Mind generated over 1.5 million interactions.
Although this is not necessarily a skill that can be built quickly, being able to find and build relationships with influencers shows that you’re aware of social trends and are forward-thinking.
3. Communicating with donors through email marketing
According to the 2018 Global Mobile Consumer Survey, email is currently the most popular form of digital communication on a smart phone. Non-profits are reaching more people through digital channels than ever before, with email lists growing by 11 per cent in 2017. As a direct result of this growth, non-profits sent more emails and revenue increased by 24 per cent, accounting for 28 per cent of all online giving.
Understanding how people consume content via email is an extremely important skill to have, especially when it comes to fundraising. Organisations that get the best results from email marketing tend to send more fundraising emails than charities with poorer results. You can personalise your messages and showcase all the great work your organisation is doing through emotive and visual stories – and it means they can connect directly back to you.
Having an in-depth knowledge of email mapping and the psychology of how content is consumed will allow you to make quick and tangible changes in your company’s fundraising strategy. This shows that you have a strategic outlook and are eager to make a positive change in the organisation.
How far can these skills get you?
Charities want leaders with clearer visions of where digital can take their organisation. The more you understand the digital landscape, the easier it is to manage a team that utilises it every day. There’s a growing expectation that leaders will understand trends and how they affect their charities, so if you can demonstrate early on that you’re fluent in digital fundraising, you’ll be more likely to progress quickly through your career.
Stephanie Dotto, Content and SEO Lead at CharityJob