We take an optimistic look at the best charity takeaways from a truly awful year
Halfway through 2020, the Guardian reported that nearly one in ten charities were facing administration. As the coronavirus situation has dragged on, charities have risen to the occasion, finding innovative and creative ways of raising much-needed revenue.
We’ve seen charities flex their digital fundraising muscles, quickly adapting to the ‘new normal’ and generating significant sums. We’ve seen other charities taking stock of their digital infrastructure and implementing new ways of working to save time and costs.
Here are some of the most important lessons to take away from 2020.
Unsurprisingly, the lockdown has had a massive impact on how charities go about their activities. The lockdown has pressed the entire sector to urgently implement digital fundraising strategies.
In August 2020, the Blackbaud Status of UK Fundraising Report found that charities were overwhelming shifting to digital to survive. In terms of operations, 86% of respondents said they were working from home, with 80% using cloud-based technologies. The report also found that more than 75% of charities were trying virtual fundraising for the first time.
Charities have been testing out new ways of working. For many, the key to successful fundraising has been partnerships with other organisations.
Charity-charity partnerships are pushing fundraising to new heights. These partnerships are showing how powerful they can be. The NHS Charities Together, which represents various individual health trusts, have together raised over £130 million.
Charities on the high street have suffered just as much as retail businesses. Lockdown has really emphasised the importance of online shopping.
At Charity Digital, we uncovered opportunities for those with charity shops to go online. Looking at mobile apps, Depop gave charities a chance to market to Gen Z at minimum cost. Other platforms like Shopify can help charities build a professional storefront.
For inspiration on shifting from bricks and mortar to digital storefronts, our in-depth look at the British Heart Foundation’s e-bay store shows how successful online stores can be.
Lessons from lockdown also include making sure that charity staff have access to remote working. For charity digital leaders, this means implementing digital communication, management, video conferencing, and storage tools.
Over the past few months, we’ve put together the best tools for charities to revamp digital operations. Now, more than ever, its vital that charities stay connected with their staff.
While many leaders thought digital service delivery was a temporary fix, they are increasingly realising that digital services are here to stay.
Charities are hosting many of their services online. The National Childbirth Trust, St Barnabas Hospice, and Shooting Star Children’s Hospices are all reaching out to audiences through Zoom. Smaller charities are also revamping both internal operations and service delivery. Recently, Matrix Neurological implemented digital tools inside and out. For service users, the charity leveraged Skype, Facetime, WhatsApp, Whereby and Microsoft Teams.
Not only are charity operations and service delivery going digital, but so too are senior leaders. Having high-profile leaders showcasing how they are making an impact shows audiences authenticity and can increase trust. Going forward, every charity should aim to have a digital engagement leader to spearhead fundraising and to get the message out.
With more people going online than ever before, it’s important to keep on top of your brand and content. Recapping our earlier messages, we’ve emphasised how both evergreen and news content can be part of your overall digital strategy. Keep things interesting by using interactive content and by creating bespoke media through video and graphic editing.
Towards the end of the year, the concept of digital fatigue emerged. Helping charity staff with Zoom fatigue boosts productivity and supports the work-life balance. Other techniques include empowering staff to take control of their workday to stay motivated.
Finally, for most people, 2020 has had a dramatic impact on not just work but home life. For charity staff at all levels, it’s important to remember that dedicated resources are available. For NHS workers and others affected by the pandemic, Samaritans and Mind have launched an online platform to help.