By Zoe Amar, director, Zoe Amar Communications & keynote speaker at The Digital Journey conference
I’m really excited to be giving the key note speech at The Digital Journey, Community Impact Bucks’ conference on 5 October next week.
Ahead of that I’ve been asked to share a few thoughts on what I’ll be talking about. There are 3 key points I’ll be focusing on.
- Why go digital? Nick Philips, CEO of Community Impact Bucks has tasked me with convincing everyone who comes to the conference about the value of digital in 45 minutes. This reminded me that a friend of mine was talking to a charity trustee recently who told her that digital was irrelevant to their charity. I would challenge this view. No organisation operates in a vacuum, and all the trends indicate that digital is going to be an increasingly important part of the way we live and work. According to digital agency’s We are Social’s latest data, 51% of the world’s population use the internet, with 40% actively using social media. Ofcom’s latest data also shows that two-thirds of adults in the UK use a computer, whether a desktop, laptop or netbook, with a quarter of 16-34 year olds (24%) now only using a device other than a computer to go online. And, dispelling the myth that digital is just for young people, that same report showed that there has also been a significant increase in the number of internet users aged 75 and over embracing social media, with 41% having a social media profile in 2016, compared to 19% the year before. The facts speak for themselves. The question shouldn’t be: why is digital relevant to my charity? Instead, organisations should be asking themselves, ‘How can we use digital to remain as relevant and closely connected to our audience as possible?’
- You don’t need to be a big charity to do digital well. I’ve spoken to many small charities who think that you need a whole digital team and a budget with lots of 000s on the end to do digital effectively. I’ll be honest- whilst resources do help, it is just as important to have a clear sense of purpose. Take National Ugly Mugs, a project developed by The UK Network of Sex Work Projects, a non-profit voluntary association of agencies and individuals working with sex workers. National Ugly Mugs has a small team but have developed an online reporting system, emails and texts connecting thousands of sex workers and hundreds of support services. The project collates reports of incidents from sex workers and shares anonymised warnings with sex workers and support projects across the UK. They also share this information with the police (once consent has been obtained) and sex workers make full reports. Almost 50% of the sex workers who receive their alerts have been able to avoid dangerous offenders. So, before your charity plans anything in digital, ask yourself: why do we exist and how can we use digital to improve the lives of your beneficiaries?
- Your CEO and board need to lead from the front on digital. When we co-wrote The Charity Digital Skills Report earlier this year leaders and boards emerged as a major issue. 80% of respondents want their leadership team to provide a clear vision of digital and what it could help them achieve, whilst 66% want a good digital strategy. Almost three quarters (71%) of charities cite their board’s digital skills as low or having room for improvement. If you need to get your CEO and trustee up to speed with digital consider offering them training or take a look at the Charity Commission’s guidelines on digital, Making Digital Work, for inspiration.
I can’t wait to meet you at The Digital Journey conference. Please do come and say hello.
Book your place at The Digital Journey, 5 October 2017, Aylesbury.