Zoe Amar: Charity leaders' digital resolutions for 2018

After a busy 12 months in the digital world of charities, our columnist tested the mood for the coming year

Zoe Amar
Zoe Amar

What do you want to do differently in 2018? Digital has risen up the charity sector agenda this year and, with the new year nearly upon us, I wanted to hear charity leaders’ plans. Here are their digital new year’s resolutions.

Disruption as a force for good

Several charity leaders were keen to use digital as a catalyst for change, as a way of helping more beneficiaries but also to improve collaboration both in and outside the sector. Digitally savvy leaders are growing in confidence and understand the power of these tools to to create social change.

"To take full advantage of the opportunities offered by digital in 2018 we must be open to connect with complementary services and competitors, explore models from partners and other sectors that we can learn from, and form collaborative ecosystems to drive and scale collective impact and change," says Damien Austin-Walker, director of product at Vivo Inspire.

Digital ultimately helps beneficiaries

I’ve met quite a few small charities with ambitious digital goals this year, many of which are hungry to use digital strategically. These are cases in point.

"First, we are committed to continuing our digital journey for the benefit of our beneficiaries," says Fran Borg-Wheeler, chief executive of Youth Concern. "To be honest, if we want to survive in this highly competitive field, we have to get our message out there. We have to be seen and we have to be heard. We need to tell people what sets us apart as a charity and what difference we make to vulnerable young people’s lives. And the fastest, most effective way of reaching a wide audience in a cost-effective way is through digital.

"We also know that the public, our potential volunteers, donors and supporters, use their mobile phones as their main source of information, so we have to adapt and learn how to give the public high-quality information in ways that suit them."

Meanwhile, Nick Posford, chief executive of CiCRA said: "My digital resolution for 2018 is to change us from a digital-last to a digital-everything organisation, because it is essential so that we can support children and young people with crohns and colitis. Having agreed our new organisational strategy, we are working on a new website with a new brand. But my resolution is more about how we get young people, siblings and parents the information they need when they need it and in the format that works for them. Apps, video, photos and the voice of children and families are all crucial in making it work."

To use digital to allow young people to build, moderate and deliver their own meaningful support systems.

Chris Martin, chief executive of The Mix

2018 must be the year funders go digital

I speak to many charities that need funding for digital projects, but don’t know which grant-makers can help them. A good first step would be if funders used digital to share their insights.

"We resolve to get all the major UK funding organisations to share their grants data in an open, comparable way so that everyone can find out who is funding what, where and what for at the click of a button," says Rachel Rank, chief executive of 360Giving.

Digital leaders seek out inspiration

I’m always struck by the attitude of leaders who get digital. They’re hungry to learn, are incredibly curious and are excited about the potential digital offers.

What are your digital new years’ resolutions? Why not tweet @ThirdSector to let us know?

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