What a truly digital charity is like in 2014

2014 is just around the corner. Facebook is going to be be 10 years old, Twitter eight and Snapchat a spritely three. It’s time to get serious about digital.

So what is a truly digital charity doing in 2014?

Not selling on social

Social media won’t be used as just another platform to sell stuff from charities’ online shops or to promote their own initiatives. It will be used to share top tips for service users or those interested in the cause, useful content and feature a ratio of responses to others versus original content of a ratio of at least 3:1.

The digital team is no longer the funnel

The hybrid model of digital experience

The hybrid model of digital experience

The digital department of 2014 exists to train, support and advise the organisation on its digital activity, not do it for them (see this excellent article for more, itself already two years old).

For example, instead of fundraising asking you to send out a supporter email for them, you’ll have trained them to run their own email campaigns in Mailchimp, with you on hand to advise on best practice where needed. Your admin team wouldn’t make all fundraising’s phone calls for them – so why would you send all their emails for them?

Using a lean, mean website

2014’s best charities will choose the top three things that visitors want to do on their website and make it incredibly easy to do them. The rest will get swept under the carpet of sub-menus (which are also easy to find but far less prominent and in the way). Support will increase as a result, not decrease.

Check out the UNICEF mobile website. Just three pages – What is UNICEF, Donate and Syria Winter Appeal, with an option to call or email for help underneath. Now that’s lean.

No more email newsletters

“Our charity’s newsletter Dec 2013” is not a subject line that makes me want to open your email. I don’t support your charity to ‘keep up to date with your news’ or so I can wade through a multitude of stories to find the one I’m really interested in.

The modern digital charity of 2014 will send single issue emails only. One petition to sign, one event to sign up to or one engaging story to read per email. With multiple sign up forms, so emails go to the people who want to read them the most.

Proper images

48% of Facebook users are now mobile only. We all flick through our Facebook newsfeeds incredibly quickly. So whether your charity takes pictures on an iPhone or an SLR, they will illustrate the impact your work has, often be overlayed with text, and thus become impossible to ignore even by quick scrollers.

This will include links – no more posting ignorable URLs with tiny, missable preview images previewed. Take an engaging screengrab from the story and add the link in the description instead.

Mobile website in place

No charity should leave people to pinch and zoom on their website in 2014.

Doing this will leave them confused and annoyed – not emotions to leave potential supporters with, assuming they don’t immediately head to your competitor’s website instead. If you’re short on cash, head to a site like Duda to get a basic free mobile website.

Supporters are superstars

Every charity has supporters. We ask them for more support and money, but don’t always do enough to celebrate their work.

The cutting edge charities will do what Charity:Water and Child’s i have done – create dedicated content that celebrates the awesomeness of their biggest fans, and gives a human face to their digital presence.

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2 Responses to “What a truly digital charity is like in 2014”

  1. Henry Rowling 12/20/2013 at 5:26 pm #

    interesting blog. In addition:

    * continuous testing of page layouts to optimise conversions
    * work out how to use peer reviews to promote donations
    * investing budget in plentiful, short, sharp video content to be used across multiple platforms to engage supporters with beneficiaries


  1. This week's reading: 20 December 2013 | Joanna Tidball | Freelance web copywriter, editor and content manager - 12/20/2013

    […] What a truly digital charity is like in 2014 – CharityChap: recommended reading for organisations planning ahead for the coming year (gems include: “the digital department of 2014 exists to train, support and advise the organisation on its digital activity, not do it for them”). […]

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