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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Your website and Content Management System (CMS) are outdated and need re-building from scratch.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 communications. 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.
How do you compare?
The chart below shows level of digital maturity of UK nonprofits according to their Digital Leads. (Oct 2017)
To move up a level these are the steps you can take in order of priority:
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How is digital maturity level calculated?
Digital maturity level is worked out from your responses to 14 questions in the test. Each question corresponds to one of the competencies that are essential to embedding Digital in an organisational strategy and operations.
Digital is managed by at least one Digital role (e.g. Digital Manager) and there might also be an Email & Social Media exec on the team. Possibly one person in another team taking care of specific content (e.g. digital campaigner or digital fundraiser), but Digital is not part of other roles that are recruited.
The website Content Management System (CMS) is outdated and needs replacing soon. Digital has a decent record of delivering projects for the organisation but they don't feel very strategic. There’s no online Customer Relationship Management capability – email communications are based on the traditional supporter database segmentation.
When planning projects and campaigns Digital Lead is asked for their expert input when a project lead judges that this is needed. There is no digital budget for creative or content, this is managed by other teams. Therefore, it can be difficult to influence decision-making on the project and quality of digital deliverables.
Audience data based on supporter database analysis is augmented by top level web analytics and social media audience analysis but is only occasionally used in planning of new products/initiatives.
Testing of the website or email occurs and performance of Facebook posts is evaluated. But analysis of this data is not widely shared and its implications are not always understood and acted upon.
A small training budget is available for the Digital Team, focused on improving practical skills. Some budget for digital training on the basic digital skills in other teams is available.
You have a Head of Digital type-of-role, digital team and digital roles in other teams who can together deliver projects with in-house resources or agency help. You possibly have a digital strategy but it’s not yet permeating all levels in the organisation; some managers do not see how it fits with the wider organisational strategy.
Digital is represented by a member of Senior Management Team at the decision-making levels of the organisation. Senior managers are supportive of Digital on the implementation and delivery level. There is no digital representation on the Board.
Digital team/Head of Digital are invited to input into planning and implementation of big projects and into cross-organisational planning when this is seen as useful by planning leads.
The Content Management System (CMS) is working but needs replacing soon. You might not have a mobile-responsive website but you have some mobile friendly journeys (e.g. for donation, or campaign action). Your supporter database contains some data on online activity (such as transactions, campaigning actions, event registrations) and is updated frequently but not in real time.
Digital performance data is reasonably detailed, frequently shared and used in planning a range of activities. However it is complicated and time-consuming to generate due to disparate data sources which aren’t integrated.
Budget for Digital is focused on technology. Budget for digital creative is small so needs to be contributed alongside other teams.
Digital Lead is involved in the recruitment and the design of digital training which exists as a part of your organisation's learning and development priorities. There’s a good range of skills and digital roles in the organisation.
Digital strategy is led by a Head of Digital or Director of Digital type-of-role. Delivery of different digital functions is led by a Digital Team, possibly working with satellite digital roles in other teams (e.g. digital storytelling could be in the content team). IT function in the organisation has likely taken on the responsibility for the maintenance of digital technology and security.
The main website is being or has recently been re-launched with an up-to-date CMS which is mobile-responsive, and can be data driven, allowing for personalisation. A CRM system is in place which uses data (almost) in real-time from a number of data sources from your key channels.
Digital training is a priority for all staff and it is either managed by the internal team or external suppliers. Senior managers and Board members are also encouraged to attend it.
Digital strategies for specific engagement channels are in existence, e.g. digital campaigning strategy, digital fundraising strategy, digital content strategy, social media strategy etc. Senior managers provide support to the Head of Digital, but they still represent those strategies themselves in senior management meetings and decision-making. There is a digital expert on the Board.
Data segmentation can be done relatively quickly (days rather than weeks) but a lot of the data processing is manual (rather than automated). Cross-channel journeys can be personalised.
Performance data is readily available with a quick turn-around based on well-connected data sources. Operational teams can interrogate and query the data in a timely way to improve planning and performance.
Audience engagement insights reflect a supporters’ online behaviour and campaign responses and these are integrated into the communications planning and targeting.
Innovation is planned and focused on things that transform supporters’ or beneficiaries’ experience.
People in your organisation feel that Digital is the principal way to engage current and future supporters and central to both operational and supporter/client engagement work.
Digital has a strategic voice, represented by a Digital Director who takes part in strategy-level decision-making. The organisation seeks advice from its Digital Director on coping with market change caused by developments in Digital. The CEO champions digital transformation. There is at least one digital expert on the Board.
Director of Digital leads a team whose expertise is distributed across the organisation and deeply embedded in other teams and job descriptions. Digital is a part of a wide range of functions– from strategic leadership and communications planning, brand experience, user experience, supporter services, programme/service delivery to technology development and maintenance and innovation.
Every project is grounded in rich supporter insight which guides the project design from the outset. This is delivered thanks to a 21st-century CRM which enables real-time reporting and triggered communications at the touch of a button such as real-time dashboard updates, and automated email programmes. Real-time (or close to real-time) dashboards are available to everyone in an organisation, responding to the needs of teams and driving clear improvements to operations.
A large scale digital training programme is running, managed by HR in collaboration with Director of Digital. Digital training or mentoring is essential for Senior Management and the Board.
It’s likely that there is a programme which is ran independently from the day-to-day organisational hustle and bustle. The programme team can spend time on working with experts in the organisation and understanding the external market in order to create products that respond to the same challenge your organisation is trying to solve.
Your organisation has gone as far as possible with digital transformation within the existing organisational structure and hierarchy. The most likely next stage will be more fundamental change to the core of the organisation – how it’s run and how decisions are made.