Thoughts for not-for-profits in a digital age: Part 1.
Some key issues facing non-profits in this crazy digital age, I intend this to be a list that I’ll add to as things crop up, very much the point of a blog I’m reliably informed!
The age of Interaction
Most people around the world now either live their lives digitally or are touched by it frequently! A not-for-profit’s job in this world is to ensure that their brand is a part of it. This means instead of presiding over lots of communications techniques that actually discourage interaction, we now have to think about giving people multiple ways to engage with us – from saying they like something to blogging for us, helping us develop an application or indeed giving financial support.
The old fundraising adage of focusing on one proposition and one ask no longer apply in this fluid online environment. An environment that provides multiple low-cost ways to touch people and multiple ways for them to connect and participate with the organisation, and more importantly the people it supports. Some things do however remain the same. We need to offer people clarity and simplicity when they do choose to engage, and then make sure we have a clear development path to move them to the next level of giving (both internationally and nationally).
The new online engagement paradigm below shows how we have more consideration in how we treat digitally engaged prospects. New methodologies need to be developed for engaging, keeping people warm and presenting them with different ways to participate and give over there online relationship with your organisation.
Engagement and Story-telling for INGO’s
Even though the trend in new media is towards more real stories told by real people, this doesn’t mean that this can’t be done in a coherent and brand appropriate way. Creating an environment where multiple authors across the world can develop real and timely video and blog content from the field, telling the real story on the ground and giving people a simple and easy way to engage with and share this globally 24/7 will be crucial in this new digital world.
Allowing people to connect with these stories and indeed see how much funding each project needs in real time, connecting with other people who have already given to these projects (or similar) will help to build communities of interest and should be the ultimate strategic aim.
Sites like Kiva and Global Giving have shown how effective this can be! The Kiva model below doesn’t mean that charities have to go down the route of loans, but it does show how to connect the donor with a real beneficiary. It also keeps them updated and connects them with other similar donors, thereby building a community around the one thing they are passionate about.
Marketing ain’t what it used to be
You only have to look at how big companies now launch products into markets. Microsoft’s Windows 7 campaign is a great example of this. Even though they did use some ‘old media’ like TV, even this was done in a real people web-type style. However, the majority of the budget for the campaign was focused online and through social media channels.
Whole industries are having to change business models to accommodate the new way that media is consumed. Most notably, media agencies no longer push just TV and more conventional channels, but talk about getting the mix of paid, earned and free media channels right.