Digital transformation. Why you need it and how to do it.

Digital Transofrmation

The issue of digital transformation is fast becoming a mainstay on the charity digital agenda. As 2015 draws to a close, let’s take a look at how to manage, resource and plan your digital marketing, fundraising and communications teams.

What is digital transformation?

We don’t have an exact consensus on this question, but any project that brings about large scale, widespread change in how your services and functions are delivered digitally will fall under the broad umbrella of digital transformation.

This process began when web teams became digital teams in the noughties. It marked an acknowledgement that digital was more than just managing a website.

Now, organisations like RNIB face ongoing challenges about the next steps to take. Like many other charities, they’re building an appropriate understanding of how digital marketing affects all kinds of communications within their charity.

For RNIB, the next challenge is deciding how to structure the digital team – not just to lead digital transformation, but to look to a point where the team is no longer even needed.

Structuring the team

The typical evolution of the digital team goes through a number of stages.

First comes the Centre of Excellence. The digital team knows and delivers everything to do with digital, from maintaining the website to running Twitter.

Then, as skills grow throughout the organisation, it’s the Hub and Spoke model. Digital expertise grows in strength and authority within the individual teams, helping them deliver their objectives, and also retains a central focus of expertise in the digital team.

But the holy grail for charities has to be the Honeycomb model, where strong digital knowledge exists throughout fundraising, communications, PR, finance – you name it. Here, there is no central digital team at all.

I know, scary right?

Unique to you

Don’t worry if all of this sounds a bit intimidating. Like everything else, what constitutes true digital transformation is unique to your charity.

The digital team of the future will need to co-ordinate integrated content marketing that delivers on your organisational objectives (which vary enormously from charity to charity). And embedding job-relevant digital skills throughout the organisation is not an overnight task.

So before you begin – where are you now? And where do you want to be? The answer to the latter is your own charity’s digital transformation.

Top digital transformation tips

Here are my top three tips for making digital transformation happen in your organisation.

Understand the landscape

Read blog posts, download white papers, and get a solid understanding of what’s happening in the world of e-commerce, startups and in business when it comes to digital transformation. This will give you an incredible education on what’s possible in digital marketing generally, and digital transformation specifically.

Educate people now

No matter where you are in your digital journey, speaking to people face-to-face about email marketing, and engaging your audience on social media and with online fundraising campaigns will always be time well spent.

Decide where you’re going

Look at your organisational objectives and – using your new found understanding of the landscape – decide which digital tools can help you achieve them. It won’t have to involve all of them, so grab the sharpest tools in the box and get to work.


What is your charity’s plan for digital transformation in the coming year? What tools will you be using and how will you integrate digital marketing into your organisational objectives? Let us know if the comments below!

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Matt Collins is managing director at digital marketing agency, Platypus Digital, and tweets @charitychap