Digital can build a constituency of future givers
The transition to digital poses several strategic issues for charities.
Firstly, the development of and transference to digital is an expensive process. Organisations often lack in-house specialist knowledge and therefore resort to contractors. This can potentially be very expensive. Moreover, success is not guaranteed: they may fail to deliver on time because of the scale of the project.
Furthermore, the digital world changes rapidly and so investment currently in new software and systems will likely be redundant in a couple of years times. This promotes a reluctance to any change.
In terms of fundraising, managing both a new digital framework and an existing print system is extremely time consuming as charities balance the need to modernise without alienating current and older supporters as outlined in my previous blog. Furthermore, there is an element of uncertainty and reluctance, often at board level, because of a lack of understanding of the benefits of digital. An attitude of ‘why fix what isn’t broken?’ pervades.
The way around that is to convince the board that current investment will provide the initial framework to develop products that build a constituency of future givers. This is an issue of long-term strategy and as such may not issue dividends in the short term.
Lastly, such expenditure is often difficult to fund without compromising on ‘administration’ and programming costs. It requires cautious thinking and budgeting and demands close management that is monitored by performance indicators.
As I’ve said before, young trustees can offer more than working on youth campaigns. The skills gap of knowledge on digital is a good (but not the only) example of where young trustees can fill this.