We have seen an increasing need for digital skills in the Third Sector in recent years. This need has increased dramatically in the last 12 months, thanks to the coronavirus crisis.
Arguably the basis for digital fundraising, and the one which has been around for the longest time, is the website. But many small charities’ websites are old fashioned and outdated in both their design and their technology. Difficult to navigate, lacking key and/or up-to-date information, many do not even have a dedicated giving page or a “donate” facility on each page.
Getting this right us not easy if the Trustees and/or the senior management team have digital skills which are low – or non-existent. In the same way as Charity Boards have recruited Trustees in the past with special skills and expertise – for example, in law, accountancy and fundraising – so they now need to think about recruiting at least one Trustee with digital skills.
Traditional methods of marketing and normal fundraising events during the coronavirus crisis have been at best severely restricted and at worst impossible. Digital capability enables charities to organise virtual events and engage in social media marketing and information dissemination. The fewer members of a small charity’s team that understand and can use on-line tools, Google advertising or social media marketing, the more difficult the charity will find it to maintain contact with its supporters and reduce the effect of coronavirus on its income streams.
The need to develop digital skills has been emphasised by the coronavirus crisis. But once the restrictions imposed by the crisis have passed, small charities will find themselves in a new world where they will need digital skills even without a pandemic. While fundraising is likely to remain in many respects a face-to-face operation, the importance of digital skills after coronavirus is certain to continue increasing rather than recede.