Digital skills beyond the digital team: 4 things you can do


It’s so important for charities to have a joined up approach to digital if they are to make the absolute maximum impact.

As part of our digital culture blog series, we asked  Dani Hughes, Digital Marketing Manager at British Heart Foundation, and Gareth Thomas, Digital Fundraising Manager at Diabetes UK for their top tips to embed digital culture and skills beyond the digital team.

Here’s how you can spread the digital love in your charity:

1. Nominate digital champions

There are probably a fair few people in your organisation who are truly passionate about digital. But they’re not necessarily all in your digital team and their existence may not be immediately obvious.

Gareth from Diabetes UK says it’s important to search these people out and make the most of their enthusiasm.

“Never assume someone doesn’t know something or isn’t interested in digital. Find digital champions by nurturing skills and interests, asking questions and listening to others.”

Passionate digital champions who sit within non-digital teams will help you to break down the barriers and innovate.

2. Use online tools

How can digital be embedded throughout the organisation if it is invisible in the first place? Not easily, that’s for sure.

That’s why making the most of tools like Google+ to communicate digital news and updates is key for Dani at BHF:

“If people want to learn more about this sort of stuff, it’s all there for them on our Google+ – like Facebook best practice or even sharing M&S’s latest ad. It’s pitched at all levels. People can dip in and out whenever they want to.”

They’ve also started working with Avado on an organisation-wide online learning platform, which includes a quiz at the end of each section, ultimately leading to a certification.

At Diabetes UK, they have an online workspace to share ideas and collaborate across teams.

Gareth gave an example of working with the community fundraising team on new videos:

“Our online collaboration space allowed us to share examples of things we’d seen that could work for [the community fundraising team]. We could then talk about it together and share more ideas”.

Don’t currently have access to collaboration tools? There are loads of free solutions like Slack, Trello or Evernote.

3. Create interactive learning opportunities

Dani says that making colleagues truly feel part of something is key to spreading the digital message.

She spoke about BHF’s fun approach, using learning workshops and interactive sessions.

“We set up sessions in our canteen where people could walk around and take part in interactive digital-themed games.

“One session was on targeting options. We printed out loads of different ones and asked “Which ones do you think we can reach most users by?” I think the answers surprised a few people. Getting people interacting with digital is so important.”

Through sessions like these, BHF have transformed digital from a mysterious or even scary process into a fun, inclusive activity for everyone.

4. Empower people

Simply giving people permission to ‘do digital’ can be a powerful act in itself.

Dani says:

“It’s key to empower everyone in their role to take on some form of digital, and to think about digital at the beginning of their planning process.”

For Gareth, allowing others to own digital projects is super important.

“Trust people to know what they are doing. They are passionate about their jobs. If someone is interested in something like PPC, we train them up and allow them to control it – they know their audience best.”

As soon as digital is seen as something we’re all responsible for, digital culture will truly flourish within charities.

Want to read more about digital culture? Check out my blog post on bridging the gap between fundraising and digital teams. 

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