Zoe Amar: What are the big digital trends for 2024?

From artificial intelligence to climate-conscious websites, here are the key things for charity leaders to be aware of in the digital landscape

This time last year, ChatGPT had just launched and Elon Musk had recently bought Twitter.

Since then, tech has been in the news constantly, from the AI Safety Summit, to Microsoft’s Copilot tool, to Twitter being rebranded to X.

So what trends do leaders need to know about for 2024? 

The pace of change in artificial intelligence means that we will see even more developments in 2024.

I know charities that are using it for everything from summarising meeting notes to writing funding bids and creating SWOT analyses.

One of the most fascinating ideas for AI use that I have heard of comes from Ardgowan Hospice. 

Colette Cameron, its marketing and communications manager, told me that in 2024 her colleagues plan to use AI tools such as ChatGPT or CopyAI to compile patient stories and memories that they wish to leave to their loved ones.

If patients consent, this content could also be used to support the hospice’s grant applications and fundraising campaigns.

Cameron says: “For smaller charities like Ardgowan Hospice, the integration of AI is not just a cost and time-saving measure, but a transformative step that simplifies the experience for patients who may lack confidence or the ability to express themselves through traditional means.” 

Projects like these demonstrate that leaders need to be across the different ways their charities might use AI next year, and be ready to consider the ethical issues involved. 

Large charities such as Scope are also considering their next move in the AI space.

The organisation is working with its trustees on an AI council and a forum, reviewing how to use AI to support its beneficiaries and how to use it internally. 

Scope is also looking at robotic process automation, which uses bots to undertake repetitive tasks such as data entry. 

Kwesi Afful, Scope’s executive director for digital and marketing, says: “We have partnered with IBM to look at tailoring an AI assistant to maximise on our impact and reach to disabled people as well as simplify internal processes. We have very limited funds so I have to focus on a couple of areas that will help to demonstrate the ROI.” 

Scope’s approach shows the importance of charity leaders prioritising the areas where AI and other forms of emerging technology could make the biggest difference and researching and testing how they can be used.

Not only could this make a difference to service users, but it has the potential to create a more efficient organisation. 

With the recent conclusion of the 28th United Nations Climate Change conference, the climate emergency will likely continue to be at the forefront of people’s minds in 2024.

The digital landscape is not exempt from this, with charity leaders needing to think about how use of technology could impact the planet. 

The web agency Pixeled Eggs has seen more charities requesting sustainably designed websites that decrease energy use and therefore carbon footprints.

Hayley Brace, marketing director at the organisation, points out this can help charities demonstrate social responsibility and transparency.

Brace says: “Digital sustainability is a crucial aspect that the industry needs to address more comprehensively.”

Finally, what should charities be doing about their current digital channels, with platforms such as X, formerly Twitter, looking increasingly volatile? 

It could be time to review the communications platforms you are using and why.

Charlie King, head of communications and campaigns at Hospice UK, advises: “It's more important than ever to be really clear on what your channels are truly for, who your audience is on each, and what you are hoping they will actually do through their engagement with your feed.” 

King and his team have found LinkedIn to be good for engagement and will be planning how to build on that in 2024. 

There will be a lot going on in the charity digital landscape over the coming year and leaders will need to keep an eye on trends as well as encourage their staff to continuously reappraise their digital activities. 

For charity leaders this means continuing to learn alongside their teams and foster collaboration with other organisations, so that everyone can keep pace with disruption while money is tight. 

Zoe Amar is founder of Zoe Amar Digital

Topics:
Digital

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