As I looked back over my blogs from the last few months, I noticed that I’ve been writing mainly about the benefits of being online for businesses and sole traders. I’ve told you all about the edge a good web presence can give you over your competitors, the many ways being online can make it easier to make a sale, and how a regularly updated and engaging website can help you retain and attract customers.
But the truth is, businesses aren’t the only ones needing any advantage they can get, especially in a difficult trading environment. Charities benefit hugely from being online too, and it’s becoming increasingly clear that those that aren’t online risk becoming ineffective – or even irrelevant.
A recent survey of 100 digital and IT charity leaders by education IT provider Eduserv (http://www.eduserv.org.uk/blog/2014/03/27/are-it-teams-in-charities-evolving-from-gatekeepers-to-digital-enablers) bears this stark observation out. Of those surveyed
- 73% thought their organisation would raise less money
- 71% said their reputation would suffer
- and 59% said they did not think their services would keep pace with the needs of those they support
if they did not fully embrace digital channels.
In other words, not embracing the digital world – including websites and social media – may prove to be an existential threat to many charities, as well as the good work they do.
So what’s stopping them? As you might expect in the charity sector, budget was cited as the biggest barrier to digital transformation among 70% of the respondents; however 66% also said a lack of knowledge of what digital could do for the organisation was also a major issue.
So what should an offline charity do? The first step is to form a partnership with a reliable web developer with considerable experience of working with the third sector – like Inspire – to learn just what ‘digital could do’ for them.
At Inspire, a charity’s budget shouldn’t be a barrier to entry to the online world; we’ve helped dozens of them develop an effective, affordable web presence with our discounted charity packages. We know just what a charity needs to raise funds, promote its cause and encourage others to get involved. We’re also always keen to listen – and respond to – their needs and particular requirements. Our latest charity websites have included:
- eCommerce interfaces (complete with Gift Aid) – to make donating cash to the cause quick and easy
- intuitive CRMs – to allow a charity’s own webmaster to keep its site up to date
- at-a-glance calendars and diaries – to show visitors and charity users what they’re up to and join in
- a variety of call-back and contact options – to allow people to access services, learn more or get involved
- large images and sponsor logos – to tell the charity’s story, establish its reputation and thank its supporters
- accessibility options like variable text sizes – to make sure no users are excluded from the online experience
- social-media feeds and links – to keep the conversation going and bring charity users together
So if your favourite charity isn’t online yet, ask them to get in touch with Inspire today – so that they can continue their good work tomorrow.
David Dwyer is Managing Director of Inspire Web Development. He has years of experience in a range of web and IT roles plus seven years in sales and marketing in a blue-chip FMCG company. David’s academic and professional qualifications include a BA (Hons) in Business Economics (Personnel & Ergonomics) from the University of Paisley, an MSc in Information Technology (Systems) from Heriot- Computer Society, Entrepreneurial Exchange and Business for Scotland.
Follow Inspire on Twitter @inspireltd and @developersos