Interview: Mark Dodd, head of digital media at the Media Trust

The internet is a revelation if used wisely, he tells Kaye Wiggins

Mark Dodd
Mark Dodd

It's not often that someone with a background in the private sector says charities have a lot to teach the big commercial players. But that's what Mark Dodd feels about digital communications after his recent move from the world of business into the voluntary sector.

Dodd was appointed director of digital media at the Media Trust in April. Until now, his career has been in branding and marketing for TV channels and websites, including Real Estate TV, which he founded in 2003.

He says that whereas his commercial work was driven by the need for instant results and quick profits, the charities he has worked with since starting his new job have had longer-term strategic aims and have been more realistic about their budgets.

He says charities are well placed to benefit from new media. "The digital revolution has enabled small organisations to look much bigger than they really are," he says.

"The internet used to be a service through which organisations could push their messages. But over the past two or three years it's become increasingly about online communities and user-generated content. So new developments are often being pioneered at grassroots level, and the big companies have to work hard to keep up."

In his role at the Media Trust, Dodd plans to launch an application for Apple's iPhone that lets users make credit card donations to charities of their choice - something he thinks charities have not made enough use of yet. He also wants to set up an application that allows people watching the Community Channel, which is run by the Media Trust, to donate to the charities whose programmes are broadcast by pressing the red buttons on their TV remote controls.

But he warns that digital media can have its drawbacks: "Charities tend to jump on every bandwagon because it's free and quick. A lot of charities have put videos on their websites for the sake of it, but there needs to be a message on the website that the video is helping to convey."

Dodd's advice for charities is to be selective about their communications. "It takes resources to manage digital media, and it should be used in a targeted way," he says.

"A Facebook or Twitter page that never gets updated can end up looking worse than having no page at all."

2009 Head of digital media, Media Trust
2008 Managing director, Fuzzy Logic
2003 Chief executive, Real Estate TV
2002 Freelance consultant
1998 Director of creative services and broadcast, Flextech Television
1996 Head of presentation and promotions, Bravo TV
1995 Senior promotions producer, Bravo TV

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