Your organisation is not clear how Digital can help its mission and aims.
You have at best one member of staff fully committed to Digital who is taking care of the website and email. Sometimes people in other teams update content on the website or write an email but they have learnt this ‘on the job’.
Sometimes digital responsibilities are tagged onto another communications role, so more than basic digital skills are not a priority in recruitment. Recruitment for digital roles (if it happens) is focused on acquiring technical skills for digital essentials – website and email management.
Your Digital Lead possibly organises information-sharing sessions with colleagues on the basics of Digital. The individual training and development budget is very small, maybe covering one big event or a couple of smaller basic training sessions, only for people who have some Digital responsibility.
Your website and Content Management System (CMS) are outdated and need re-building from scratch. Data processes have not changed much due to your digital activity – you might be adding email addresses to individual records in the database and using your usual fundraising segmentation (e.g. lapsed, regular, one-off donor) for email communications.
Digital is treated as another channel to broadcast existing campaigns. Digital Lead is told what to do or what’s needed, their skills and knowledge are not used to formulate strategy. There is some basic evaluation of your Digital performance (reach of social media, website statistics) but this learning is not being used when planning new projects.
Digital budget is almost always spent on freelancers or agencies who can fix essential technical issues. Any creative digital projects have to be funded by other teams. Innovation is unaffordable.
Moving up a level
To move up a level these are the steps you can take in order of priority:
Ensure you have a Digital Lead in your organisation who will help the organisation build up its digital operation. This could mean investing in the development of a member of staff with digital expertise or recruiting a new role which will bring digital expertise to the team.
Identify the Purpose of Digital and the Digital Vision for your organisation – while this can seem like a luxury when time and resources are tight, it is essential to do as it will direct all future digital activity – from website development to recruitment.
Prioritise the delivery of the Digital Vision from quick fixes to medium and long term projects and investment.
Ensure that the main stakeholders in the organisation are brought into this whole process so they share the Digital Vision and understand what the priorities for delivery are.
Fix the basics. Don’t let new fun digital things (such as a new social network) distract you – is your donation journey as simple as it could be, is your email design working well, are your main journeys mobile optimised?
Allocate a realistic budget to deliver your organisation’s Digital Vision.
Start measuring the effectiveness of your digital operation such as donation page conversion rates, email conversion rates, % of overall income that is coming through your website (from any source). Once you start following these metrics you will be able to understand what’s working and what’s not working for your audience.
In the context of Digital Vision, review your website and data capability and put together a business case for technology investment.
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