Demand for charity services is already high. And according to Charities Aid Foundation research, 85% of charities expect demand to increase further. To add to the pressure, participation in charitable activities has decreased and the proportion of people donating money has seen a steady decline.
We know it’s getting increasingly hard to get in front of people to tell your story and ask for support. In a world where cash donations are looking out of date, and people spend huge amounts of time on smartphones, every charity needs a Board that understands how to harness technology.
Today your fundraising strategy has to be about more than just adding to the noise. With an increasing number of data feeds, we are all overloaded with information and user generated content. Add to this fake news and an airbrushed view of reality and the credibility of online content is under scrutiny.
This is not the get-out clause to do nothing. If you’re up for getting your message heard, raising awareness and securing donations, technology will play an important part. Everyone in the Boardroom needs to be committed to digital progression. And that includes your Trustees.
The days of long-standing direct debits are over. But there are exciting opportunities to foster trust and support through technology. There are great campaigns that use interactive billboards and superb social media campaigns that break through.
A great example is the 2014 Ice Bucket Challenge that compelled 17 million people to dump icy water over their heads, post a video online and make a charitable donation. The viral campaign helped fund a research breakthrough for the ALS Association and is now an annual event. Or the Battersea Dog’s Home #LookingForYou campaign that used outdoor billboards featuring a Battersea dog who interacts with shoppers. We are, after all, a nation of dog lovers – and everyone knows that lost dogs follow you around.
While they don’t have to be digital natives, Trustees do need some awareness of the many opportunities that technology presents. In February 2019, Charity Digital’s annual report revealed that 40% of charities consider their Trustee’s IT competence to be ‘below average’.
That’s why modern charities should invest in the digital skills of their Trustees, as well as their employees. It will pay dividends. They’ll be more supportive, more engaged and even full of creative ideas.
A more recent challenge has been the high profile media coverage of charity scandals. With household names such as Oxfam and Amnesty under intense scrutiny, there will – of course – be an impact on the rest of the sector. In fact, six out of 10 charity leaders feel that the third sector has been badly impacted by recent negative stories.
This does present an opportunity though. Digital data platforms give donors what they want. Transparency and clarity of funding sources and spending. While demonstrating accountability, these platforms also enable the rapid rebuilding of trust and loyalty by bringing the work of charities closer to their supporters.
Using data to target campaigns
No discussion about technology would be complete without mentioning data. By using data, we can find insights into donor behavior, preferences, and trends. Intelligent databases allow for charities to engage with their audience through increasingly adaptable and strategic methods. Of course with high awareness of GDPR, charities need to be fully transparent and fully compliant.
The right use of data and information means that you can target your marketing and communication. This streamlines campaigns, creating more to focus on your ultimate objectives. Delivering your charity’s mission.
For more advice and information on ensuring your organisation makes the most of the opportunities presented by new technology, download our White Paper: A tech guide for technophobe Trustees.