Charities are going digital to survive
- March 20, 2017
On Wednesday 15th March, I met with fellow charity sector professionals from many walks of life. Some were new, some were veterans, some had been at it for a couple of years (like me). All were there to share and learn from each other. One thing became wildly clear from the 8th annual Charity Meetup; resilience is a digital quality and the charities in the sector know it.
Fundraising.co.uk reported in December 2016, that out of a study conducted by CharityCheckout that 60% of small charities didn’t have the capacity to process Gift Aid through an online portal. However, you’d have never of known this from the attitudes and ideas being shared at the Meetup. I’m not suggesting that the sector doesn’t need to continue evolving its use of digital tools and opportunities… There’s a painful reality to face; even the most physical experiences need to have a digital presence, farms, hospitals, and theatres included. However, the great thing about this event is that it highlighted that many are taking a proactive approach to meet today’s challenges.
Charities are taking steps to grow.
This is reflected in Lloyds Bank Digital Index October 2016 report, which had some fascinating growth reflected. The number of charities advertising online had doubled since 2015, from 30% to 60%. Meanwhile, the number of charities accepting donations online had almost tripled, growing from 12% in 2015 to 34% a year later. Without a doubt, the charity sector has recognised one unalienable truth; to survive we must occupy the digital space.
The index also touches gently upon the age of charities, stating that younger charities are displaying a much higher resilience by adopting digital platforms and basic digital skills far quicker. 59% of charities younger than 10 years old have increased digital maturity, when compared to a comparatively stubborn-minded 49% adoption rate in charities aged 10 years or older. The older charities would do well to wise-up and listen to their millenial counterparts, because the report is very clear on one fact:
“Charities that are more digitally mature are 28% more likely to report an increase in funding than those who aren’t”
– Lloyds Bank Digital Index 2016
This rings true to me and perhaps therefore it was suitable that at the Meetup, Crowdfunding was first on the agenda. I was pleased to join Jes Bailey to present a discussion on the importance of planning your crowdfunding campaign. My previous blog on projectification was touched upon too, and how the #onemorenurse campaign opened up my eyes to the potential that charities have to fund any project they want to as long as they maintain confident transparency in how they conduct their charitable activities, and communicate with their audience.
I couldn’t help but feel privileged to be a part of the event. The talks were varied, but all showed the evolution of the sector through different digital opportunities. From new ways to galvanise supporters such as Makerble, the impact management app, or Gone for Good the smartphone app that lets consumers donate goods to charity and arrange collection from their home for free, there were some amazing innovations on show.
One of the things I loved about these were that these were all different ways to engender support. I could dedicate my time to a charity through Makerble, or my old sofa via Gone for good, and even the EverydayHero platform was enabling me to take part in a virtual marathon even though I’d missed my chance to enter the ballot. It spoke volumes that not one, but two speakers emphasised the impact of e-commerce in the social marketplace, but not just in terms of finance, but in terms of the engagement this enables. Paul Minett of The Big Issue, spoke of the ‘social echo’ this can cause with each purchase.
Dawn Newton, the hostess of the evening presented a talk on how to turn a charity around through social media storytelling. All I know is that i’m feeling even more inspired. Who knew surrounding yourself with so many passionate people would have such a contagious effect? Dawn herself says it perfectly;
“I created the charity meetup to enable charities to connect and share their skills and knowledge, our recent event centred around being resilient and enterprising in spite of ever more challenging times. The talks really inspired me and the whole room to be bolder and embrace the opportunities digital can offer.”
Check out the Storify for Charity Meetup
This Storify campaign goes on for a while, we were all having a whale of a time tweeting each other, and loads of support came from outside too. So have a browse!