A few months ago, we wrote about the digital roles that your charity will need this year. The past 18 months have seen a great digital shift in the charity sector. There has been a rise in online events, new methods of fundraising, and an increasing focus on donor website journeys.
The 2021 Charity Digital Skills Report shows that 60% of charities now have a strategy in place for digital. This is an 11% increase on last year. And as many as 83% of the charities have started offering online services. More than two thirds (67%) now see digital as a prime concern for their organisation, with similar numbers planning investment in digital infrastructure.
However, more than half of charities (52%) have stated that CEOs and boards need to offer a better digital vision. Also, as many as 44% of charities felt that they were poor at user research, needed to broaden their offer and appeal to new groups of donors.
Sally Falvey, Head of Corporate Marketing at JustGiving says:
“A warning sign perhaps to all charity leaders that to retain existing team members and attract new, quality candidates in the future, they need to actively demonstrate their commitment to digital and provide training and knowledge-sharing opportunities for their employees.”
So what steps can you take to help boost your charity’s digital skills? We take a look.
Tap into free digital advice
Digital Candle offers free digital support for charities. The format is simple. You submit a question via the website and the service connects you with a volunteer expert. This pool of digital gurus includes staff in senior digital positions at NHS Digital, SCVO, WWF, and many other large organisations. And there are regular events hosted on a range of subjects, and even a dedicated Slack channel for users to access. So, it’s worth encouraging your staff to make regular use of the service. They can then share the answers and support that they obtain with the rest of the team internally.
Support your staff to get to grips with Google Analytics
Google Analytics (GA) is a great tool for understanding user activity on your website. It provides rich, real-time data analysing the online behaviour of different groups of site users and the return on investment. It can be linked to multiple domains and your social media platforms. This allows it to give you in-depth data on organic traffic, returning users, session length and website referrals, to name a few.
Delving into Google Analytics and uncovering findings from the self-explanatory data can help you to build a strong understanding of your audience and the digital position of your charity.
There are several free GA courses which your team can access. The most renowned is Analytics Academy which offers free, online learning on GA and other data analysis tools.
Build up your marketing team’s knowledge of SEO
Powerful content is underpinned by clever SEO tactics, as without this, your digital efforts may reach a limited audience and restrict your full potential. When you produce online content, any knowledge you share should be high quality, search engine friendly and be helpful to the user.
Search engines, like Google, rank content based on many factors, such as clarity, usefulness, and complexity. If your content is useful to the reader, unique, and answers the question directed to the search engine, it will likely rank well. To dive into the intricacies of content planning, content creation, and SEO, it’s worth looking into free training courses and conferences for your staff. The top ones include Brighton SEO, HubSpot Academy and Learn Inbound.
Encourage your colleagues to explore basic design
Gaining some experience in basic graphic design will give your team the autonomy to work on their own sales presentations, create graphics for social media and much more. There is a great tool, Canva, which enables charities to access its premium features for free and enables you to input your own logos and brand colours. Get your team to explore it and to share their creations!
Trial landing pages
Landing pages are one-page websites used to direct cherry-picked users to a selected message, i.e. a remote event, exclusive training session or a limited-time service offer. And they enable you to keep this information self-contained and independent from your main website. These can be drawn up in minimal time using low complexity tools such as Wix and Mailchimp.
Put free resources to good use and spread the knowledge
It’s all about giving your staff the time to attend digital training. There are so many free courses out there, that it’s just a case of selecting which are most appropriate for given roles and spreading the knowledge internally. You’ll then reap the rewards of both the added impact that digital skills bring, and a more satisfied workforce, who see the investment in their personal development.