Digital transformation: how other charity organisations have used digital to transform their brand

16th June 2020

Digital transformation is the buzzword of the moment but it’s a well-known fact that the charity sector is falling behind. One of the biggest challenges charities continue to face to enable digital transformation is funding; change costs money and with lack of funds it can be put on the back burner.

Along with funds there’s a lot of upskilling that will be needed for those less used to integrating digital into their daily tasks, along with a big cultural change which needs to come from the top down and takes time. It’s no easy ride but it’s something we’re all inevitably jumping on board with.

In a 2019 report from Skills Platform more than half of charities (52%) didn’t have a digital strategy, however the appetite is there with 41% wanting to create one. And this is where we can learn from others. As a charity brand platform we work closely with some of the UK’s biggest charities and work alongside them to help integrate digital into their brand, so we’ve put together our experience of how charities we work with have adopted digital transformation to transform and improve their brand. Yes some of it may seem radical but other changes are manageable and remember, this is all about taking it one step at a time. So let’s take a look and see what we can learn.

Finding digital opportunities to improve your user experience

With the average internet user spending 6.5 hours per day online there is no shortage of data out there, and data is the knowledge we need to increase our brand’s impact. But the real question is how do you find what’s relevant and use this to your advantage?

From our experience we’d recommend starting with your brand personas; take it back to basics and really get to know your users. If you don’t have any predefined personas now is a great time to begin, either with a survey or fact-finding mission with your current audience as a base and moving onto something more abstract like empathy mapping.

What we really want is to get inside our users’ heads and understand what digitally they use each day: maybe they read blogs, are avid social media users or use contactless payments. This research informs our perspective of how our users interact with our brand and any opportunities we are missing.

Donations at the click of a button

For example, as humans we like things to be easy. Online shopping, live chat, instant messaging - we like things to be instantly available at the touch of a button so why would making a donation be any different? Our client Crohn's & Colitis UK was using a combination of third party donation platforms but they were looking for something a little extra: more flexibility in the content & design so they could speak more effectively to their users with their brand tone of voice and encourage easy sign-ups, thereby helping to increase their recurring revenue.

We built them a bespoke donation platform that makes it easier for them to stay on brand when communicating to potential members, alongside providing a streamlined, positive brand experience for their end-users. It also integrates with their CRM, reducing the administrative overhead of manually importing from a third party system. So the benefits of this were felt both externally and internally.

Raise brand awareness through digital public fundraising

Another key digital opportunity is fundraising. We know that fundraising events are vital, whether they are online or offline, streamlining your user’s experience of getting involved digitally can really enhance their engagement. Put simply, the easier it is for them the more likely they are to engage with your brand.

A fantastic example of this is Time To Change who have used our embedded templating platform to allow users to create or download their own assets to engage with their social movement. During their last #TimeToTalk day this resulted in over 70,000 ready-to-use campaign materials downloaded and over 13,000 bespoke posters created - wow. Now those numbers really do speak for themselves.

Other organisations we’ve worked with such the Eden Project Communities also embed their brand template tool to encourage their users to promote their services, increasing their brand awareness.

As well as online promotion you could also use digital tools to automate interactions such as marathon packs, event or campaigning packs - all of this is possible with a templating tool and improves your user’s experience of the brand.

Another real-life example from Crohn's and Colitis UK: they used our Buzz Social Posters app to engage and empower their community of passionate supporters with an awareness raising co-creation campaign. This campaign was all about sharing life stories so it was even more important the journey was smooth and easy for all users to share their personal journey.

Using such a tool to enable poster creation and social sharing so easily resulted in over 4,000 posters made by supporters in one week and over 33,000 views of posters made (that's clicks, not just impressions). From one simple digital setup came some big results and a successful campaign.

Capitalise on being human in a digital world

With 45 million active social media users in the UK alone social media is a golden opportunity for all marketers to talk directly to your users on a different level. Social media is about sharing, talking and connecting...and being human.

Most organisations have a solid social media strategy, after all you’re not only engaging with your current audience but potentially reaching a new one and growing it daily. It’s a place where you can be more playful and show a different side to your brand personality. It’s somewhere to remain human in a digital world and there’s loads of tools you can use to ensure your brand tone of voice is consistent across, after all there may be multiple people posting on multiple platforms. For example you could look at scheduling tools such as Buffer or Sprout Social, or artwork tools such as BrandStencil.

Let’s not forget social media is also an opportunity to get your users involved with your brand campaigns, which you can see Healthwatch have done here by providing a customisable social tile for users to engage with and share. Or for a slightly different approach: Alzheimers Society, who have taken their global Dementia Friends initiative online (as well as in person) and are encouraging people to volunteer and share their badge from a BrandStencil embed on their website.

It’s a real human, connection-based movement that is positively promoted digitally, so it’s helping their brand reach a new audience and helping them deliver real-life change.

Another example of how you can encourage a more ‘human’ connection is including live chat on your website. In fact this kills two birds with one stone - you make a human connection whilst also improving your user’s experience with your brand. This direct connection between you and a user removes the need for lengthy waiting times, helps a real person and opens up a conversation. And this doesn’t even have to be a real person, bots used to be terrible but now they are sophisticated so they can help in your absence. Take a look at Driftbot for example - it’s a bot but it’s intelligent and can help your users when you’re not there, so they’re never left alone.

In conclusion, digital transformation can be a big scary world but small changes can make a huge difference to your brand delivery. Whether it’s more brand consistency, increased campaign interaction and brand awareness, or a more positive user experience the results speak for themselves and there are digital tools out there to help you every step of the way. There is no better day to start than today.

In our next blog we’ll look into more depth at internal tools you can use digital transformation to transform your brand, so keep your eyes peeled!