Digital skills: three charity experts share their advice

Fundraising Target Tips

2021’s Status of UK Fundraising Report found that only one in ten charities considered themselves to be experts in digital and 88% said they didn’t consider themselves to be where they wanted to be digitally.

The same research also revealed that the more digitally mature an organisation is, the more successful it will be in terms of income, service delivery and supporter growth. But three challenges typically get in the way of charities advancing digitally:

  1. lack of leadership
  2. lack of budget
  3. lack of digital skills

Does this resonate with you? If so, we recommend checking out, the Digital Skills Toolkit, a new guide from Blackbaud that shares three essential resources from sector experts Zoe Amar, Matt Smith and Susie Mullen. Here’s the highlights…

1. How to create a digital strategy, Zoe Amar

Depending on where you’re at, developing a digital strategy can feel daunting or exciting, and sometimes a mixture of both. However, it is a manageable process and done right, can bring colleagues together to create a shared understanding of your charity’s digital strengths and weaknesses, and what the future looks like.

In the Digital Skills Toolkit, Zoe shares six practical steps to follow to create your digital strategy, including:

  • benchmarking your organisation to see where you are starting from
  • looking at what skills are already within the organisation, and
  • talking to supporters and donors to discover what is required.

Your people are your greatest asset and you’ll need them to deliver the strategy. Getting a baseline of staff digital skills will help you identify ways to grow their knowledge and capacity. Measure where they are at through surveys and interviews and then plan how to support their development”.

Zoe Amar, founder and director of Zoe Amar Digital

2. How to build a business case for digital investment, Matt Smith

Over the last two years, the pace of change in the digital environment is unlike anything we’ve seen before. Therefore, making timely and strategic investment in new products, platforms and processes is more important than ever (no pressure).

In the toolkit, Matt shares his five top tips for building a business case to increase investment in digital at your charity, including:

  • how to set appropriate goals
  • internal comms planning and,
  • where to look for support.

When building your business case – whether it’s for investment in a digital marketing campaign, to
build a new product or to add capacity to your team – you need to be clear about what you want
to achieve and how you’re going to get the

Matt Smith, Head of Development & Innovation at THINK

3. How to use data to improve fundraising, Susie Mullen

When digital skills are discussed, people often forget the important role that data plays. ‘Digital’ doesn’t just mean Zoom calls and online fundraising – the underlying data which helps you build the digital world is fundamental, and the technology we use to support this shouldn’t be inaccessible – it can and should make automatically capturing and understanding data easier.

In the toolkit, Susie shares her essential tips to help you use data to improve your organisation’s fundraising, including:

  • the crucial data points you need to look at in order to make your fundraising more successful
  • how to get to grips with the basics, and
  • how to ask the right questions.

Organisations that want to use their data should have the systems, processes and technology in place to ensure high quality data is captured and updated when required”.

Susie Mullen, Freelance data analyst and market researcher

Take the next step in advancing your digital skills

Zoe’s, Matt’s and Susie’s tips are invaluable to any charity looking for simple, practical advice to becoming more digital. Download the Digital Skills Toolkit to read their suggestions and follow their steps in full.

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Louise Sparks is a Content Marketing Specialist and has worked in marketing and publishing for 15 years. She has worked at Blackbaud for 5 years and loves creating helpful, inspiring content for charities to help them achieve their goals.