If 2020 proved anything, it’s that the oft-reported digital skills gap in the charity sector is very real. The operational changes brought about by Covid forced many charities to undergo a digital makeover overnight. And in the process, the real cost of those missing digital skills became apparent.
While we hope that the worst of the pandemic is over, the need for digital skills is not going away. In fact, it would be short-sighted not to invest in tech-savvy staff. Are there digital roles that you might not have even considered and which could help you be at the forefront of digital innovation in the sector?
Here are the five critical digital skills that we’ve noticed are increasingly sought after by charities.
Throughout the pandemic, charities turned to hosting virtual fundraising events to replace their cancelled in-person fundraisers. It turned out that they were more effective than anyone expected. As a result, around 62% of European charities, including those in the UK, plan to increase their focus on digital fundraising channels going forward. And digital fundraisers are not likely to disappear in the post-Covid world. In fact, we’re anticipating the rise of ‘hybrid’ events featuring both in-person and digital elements in the future.
Is this an area you’re also looking to grow? The role of a Virtual Fundraiser is broad and varied. If you’re looking to hire someone new for this post, it’s worth focusing on the following skills in your ad:
- Experience of building and managing event-specific websites
- Ability to operate and manage multimedia and live-streaming platforms
- Knowledge of design event frameworks that encourage donations through innovative digital experiences.
Open Banking and Fintech
One of the biggest challenges that charities face is finding ways to drive down operating costs to preserve as much cash flow as possible for organisational goals. And one of the areas that many have targeted is reducing donation overheads. During the pandemic, many open banking and fintech firms offered their services to the third sector to help them recover from revenue shortfalls. The partnerships were so fruitful that most charities are hoping to keep them going.
If you’re looking for experts in open banking, be sure to specify that you’re looking for someone with direct experience of donor transactions.
UX stands for user experience. A UX Designer’s role is to streamline users’ experience of your website, and to encourage them to undertake particular actions. Remember that glitches on your site might be enough to put some donors off, which is why this role is of huge importance in the current climate.
It’s also vital to hone your donor journey to ensure that it is as simple and smooth as possible – and this is exactly where a UX specialist comes in handy.
If you’re recruiting for a UX Designer, it might be worthwhile asking candidates to conduct a simple UX audit of your charity’s existing website and to identify five key areas for improvement.
Digital Content Creation
To support their new digital initiatives, charities will have to build out their teams with a heavy emphasis on people capable of creating high-quality digital content. More specifically, charities will be branching out onto new social media platforms such as TikTok and Clubhouse. They might also want to launch podcasts, and expand their live streaming presence on Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook Live.
Is this an area you’re exploring? We’d advise first doing your research to find out which platforms are the most suited to your work. Your job ad should then target social media experts with demonstrable experience of creating revenue-driving content campaigns for those platforms. That way, you’ll be tapping into the right digital skills for your charity.
Remote Infrastructure Management
We know that not all charities will return to regular office work post-pandemic. Already, big names such as Action on Hearing Loss (now RNID) have announced plans to make remote work a permanent part of their operations. Many organisations have realised the operational savings that can come from going all-remote.
If you’re a larger charity looking into an ongoing remote setup (full or partial), you might consider hiring a Remote Infrastructure Manager. Here are some of the skills that such a person should possess:
- Experience with managing VoIP systems
- Extensive knowledge of shared database administration and cloud solutions
- Experience of remote hardware management
Digital skills are a must have for your charity
Even before the pandemic, most leaders in the UK’s third sector acknowledged that their organisations were lacking in digital skills. Many made huge strides to remedy those deficiencies in the run-up to the pandemic. But the sudden shift to an all-digital operating model highlighted just how much further they’d have to go. So why not conduct your digital skills gap analysis and start considering what roles your charity should recruit for in the coming months?