Back in November, Netcel’s Account Directors, Dan Geoffrey and Tom Denbigh, attended the CharityComms Digital Conference – an annual gathering of digital marketing and communications professionals working within the charity sector. With several of our charity clients, such as Age UK, NSPCC and Girlguiding, attending as members of CharityComms, the team were keen to hear more about the digital challenges charities are currently facing and contribute to discussions around digital trends within the NFP sector. Here we’ve listed a few of our top takeaways from the day’s discussions, which digital trends to have on your radar for 2019 and the fads to ignore.
The age of service delivery
The morning kicked off with a discussion around the role charities play in society and the impact of digital technology. A report that is due for release in early 2019, outlines that 48% of people have either browsed a charity website, received an email or social interaction from a charity within the last year. Moreover, a further 5% have personally received a service delivered by a charity organisation. The general consensus is that we’re now in the ‘age of service delivery’, following the ‘ages of communications and fundraising’. Charity websites were initially seen as purely a communications channel. As technology evolved they also became platforms for fundraising however, the ambition for many organisations now is how to revolutionise their digital channels to aid in the delivery of their core services.
This shift in thought aligns closely with the digital work we do with our clients Age UK and NSPCC. For Age UK, we developed a solution that was accessible across desktop, mobile and tablet and are continuing to help Age UK create responsive solutions for their partner sites. For the NSPCC, we recently launched a digital project with Childline, to relieve pressure off of their phone lines and implement a website personalisation strategy that would enable the organisation to effectively deliver age-appropriate messages to different audiences.
Harnessing the opportunities of voice technology
Another topic of discussion was around the capabilities of voice technology and specifically how not-for-profits can use voice to assist with fundraising and awareness campaigns. Rob Leyland (Technology Innovation Manager, Cancer Research UK) explored how voice technology was enabling them to engage with their audiences in new and exciting ways from adding news from the charity into people’s social media news feeds to providing quick access to tools such as their alcohol tracker. One particularly exciting area currently being explored is from our client, NSPCC. Louise Corden (Lead Digital Producer) and Clive Gardiner (Head of Digital) took the audience through NSPCC skill – a new interactive game based around online safety.
Updating your tech isn’t always the answer
With a broad range of technologies available at our fingertips, it can be hard to know which areas to prioritise in order to maximise impact and ROI. It’s easy to become a magpie and jump on the latest trends in technology, but we believe it’s important to consider the impact and value your activity will have on your donators, volunteers and recipients first and foremost. For example, even Amazon are struggling with the real-world application of voice technology and are having to lean on their FMCG counterparts as how to best utilise voice-enabled devices such as Alexa.
The same applies to other trending marketing activities such as viral campaigns, virtual reality and influencer marketing or setting your charity up to receive bitcoin donations. For instance, it would be almost impossible to effectively capture a ‘lightening in a bottle’ moment as was achieved with the ice bucket challenge, especially not with limited budgets and resources. It’s important to take a step back and ruthlessly analyse whether you’d better to focus your efforts on more constructive and productive activities.