Lack of funding and expertise, including creating video content, have emerged as key challenges for charities wanting to improve their digital communications during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Emails, websites, Twitter and Facebook haver emerged as the key digital communications platforms and tools charities are using during lockdown, a survey has revealed.
But the survey of charities, by Charity Comms and Media Trust, found that many are ignoring a wide range of platforms, including Youtube, Instagram and instant messaging groups such as WhatsApp and Snapchat.
The survey, of more than 200 charities, looked at the impact of Covid-19 on their communications.
Among those surveyed, 86 per cent said they intend to use emails to connect with stakeholders, while a similar proportion are using Facebook and their website. Twitter is also a popular communication platform, being used by 79 per cent.
In contrast, just a quarter of charities are using Youtube and only around a half are using Instagram.
Meanwhile, messaging platforms are also less popular than email and web content among charities. Only around a third are using Facebook Groups and a similar proportion are utilising WhatsApp. Snapchat is mentioned by less than one per cent of charities.
The top communications challenges charities say they are facing include supporting users who normally have access to face-to face-services, producing digital content, including infographics and videos, and moving services online.
Our survey with @Media_Trust revealed 53% of respondents said one of the biggest challenges is delivering more digital content like films, vlogs and infographics. We have produced this guide on filmmaking for charities 🎥 🎬 t.co/zc7ohAU7UM— CharityComms (@CharityCommsa>
Our survey with @Media_Trust revealed 53% of respondents said one of the biggest challenges is delivering more digital content like films, vlogs and infographics. We have produced this guide on filmmaking for charities \uD83C\uDFA5 \uD83C\uDFAC https://t.co/zc7ohAU7UM— CharityComms (@CharityComms) April 7, 2020
The main three barriers for charities to improving their digital capability are cost, lack of in-house skills and not having enough time. In addition, 28 per cent said their audiences are not on social media.
Seven out of ten respondents that took part are small charities and a fifth work in the health sector.
One respondent said: “We want to build our website to support members, but all funds are on hold or cancelled.”
Another said: “Most of our face-to-face customers do not have or cannot operate digital services.”
Webinars, shared resources, online training and online guides are cited by charities as the main support they need to develop their communication during the pandemic.
Almost all of those surveyed said they wanted access to pro-bono and volunteer communications support.
Charity Comms support includes a Filmkit for charities on using video.
“Now, more than ever, charity communications matter,” states Charity Comms and Media Trust’s survey report.
“But for many of us, the knock-on effect of COVID-19 has created new and unexpected challenges as well as fears over our short and long term survival.
“It’s our job as charities to find ways to navigate these challenges effectively and strategically in order to keep delivering the best services we possibly can to our beneficiaries at this crucial time while continuing to get key messages out to donors and volunteers and engage with other stakeholders.”