In today's world, digital is the norm, people have more access to information than ever, and digital technology still presents a unique and under-exploited opportunity for organisations, and even a greater challenge for charities.
According to a recent survey, only 34 % of charity leaders understand the full potential of digital transformation. It is definitely not only about using creative campaigns, TV adverts to influence and inform existing and potential donors and volunteers. Digital transformation means knowing how best to use digital channels and tools to connect with customers - in this case, donors and volunteers- and how to make their experience better. For instance, elaboration of a digital strategy, change in the IT infrastructure, using analytics, insights, digital fundraising and marketing are simply some of the elements.
Unfortunately digital is still an opportunity that is being missed by most of the UK charity sector. They are too focused on everyday issues and not classifying digital disruption as a threat. In fact, most Scottish charities are small and could not afford to pay huge amounts to build or establish modern systems. And even when they do so, the employees of the organisation are frustrated by the lack of digital skills and a general lack of integration.
What most charities often forget, is that digital change is possible by taking small and simple steps. For example, as 66% of Scottish charities are involved in social care related activities, it is useful for them to focus on the brand and the cause by using digital tools and try to differentiate themselves from the others. There is a broad range of opportunities: from the online communities and the collaborative economy service of Macmillan Cancer Support to RSPB's active presence on Facebook - they all a really great examples of how brands can do social well without leaving a huge hole in the marketing budgets and being limited by the location. Digital organisations supported by the government, like Digital Scotland, One Digital and also NCVO offer a broad range of opportunities, conferences and programs to improve their digital knowledge.
And what does the future hold? It is possible that in 10 years' time, charities fighting for the common interest could develop a big digital platform to use and share their resources in the most efficient way and building a big app together to enable monitoring the services. The list of possibilities is endless, so it's up to them when they decide to step into the world of digital change.
(Blog first published 10/03/2016)