Charities need to prioritise to avoid faceless digital clutter
In January, Alex Wright, CEO at Friday, was interviewed by Econsultancy to talk about the number of challenges charities and third sector organisations face when it comes to digital.
We have highlighted the main theme of the conversation, but to read the full article by Ben Davis, head over to Econsultancy.
Content prioritization – is this an issue for charities?
In short, yes, it is an issue. Just over a year ago Friday held a roundtable for senior digital leaders within the not-for-profit sector. The session was attended by 10 different organisations spanning children’s charities, those involved in emergency relief as well as care for the elderly, sick and disadvantaged.
Our conversations revealed that they all had reasonably mature digital fundraising operations - with the staff and agency support to deliver it. The most mature were able to make prioritisation decisions within fundraising, about the value of certain audiences and actions (a one-off cash donor versus a fundraising fun-runner, etc.) and prioritise digital content and spend accordingly.
But most of the charities were now beginning to digitise core services, the things they did to help people. As well as being much more challenging (genuine digital transformation, rather than just channel-shift), digital services for beneficiaries give rise to prioritisation conflicts. What’s more important - a donor prospect who’ll offer you £20/month, or a beneficiary who the charity exists to help? And what does that mean for budgets, resources, content, navigation, etc.
There’s a structural problem that compounds this. These audiences are often served by different directorates. Arbitrating between them is almost impossible. They can all point to clear user needs for their audiences.
There’s a cultural problem too. Charities are full of people driven by the cause - and tend to regard all contributions to the cause as good. They’re not good at telling each other that one contribution to the cause is less important than another. This feels like refusing help.
The result is digital clutter. And most charity insight departments will tell you that their most engaged audiences span multiple audience types – they consume the charity’s services and fundraise for it, and volunteer in the shop, and campaign on its behalf etc. This makes the prioritisation even harder.