Your charity's digital content needs to grab attention and you can start to get that right by approaching it with the right mindset. If you are leading or managing the supporter relations functions, then here are a handful of questions to check that your charity is utilising your digital channels well and building relevant supporter engagement. Additionally, under each question, we give an example of a charity which is demonstrating deeper engagement with supporters.
1. Are you creating experiential content?
As charity leaders, we hold the causes that we advocate close to our heart. Our passion and role is to shout about the problems and how our charities are providing hopeful solutions. However, we need to take the emphasis off broadcasting and showing supporters. Instead, we need to focus our attention on creating experiences for our supporters; to feel the problem and create the solutions with us. Experience is the key word. The more immersive the content, the better because it lives and speaks to their hearts. We 'live it' as charity leaders because we are immersed and that is the experience we need to offer to our supporters.
Charity Example: Mencap created a bot to chat to supporters about learning difficulties. Give it a try!
2. How much of your content is user-generated?
A way of adopting the philosophy of experience is by asking supporters to create digital content themselves. Utilising the value of each supporter's online network, as well as their bank accounts can have additional impact and arguably scaled monetary acquisition. Giving them opportunities to own the cause, creates meaningful purpose for their personal well-being. In 2013, the New York Times conducted research about why people share across digital channels. More of a reason for communication teams to understand the audience that they are speaking to.
Charity Example: Last weekend, Cancer Research launched the Unity Band campaign on World Cancer Day.
3. Is your content authentic?
In a recent blog, we mentioned that authenticity, was one of the elements of strong supporter relations. This explored the need for your content to be honest, real and easy to relate to. To take authenticity further, your impact needs to be transparent to supporters. Charities that ignore this cultural trend, as technology advances will find it harder to raise the support. Today, there needs to be an exchange of data for impact. Supporters want to be told how their money, time and social investment in your charity is making a difference and being managed efficiently.
4. Are you utilising video?
One of the social media trends presently is that of video. If you've stood on Waterloo station recently, you may have noticed the prominent billboard advertising that Facebook put up. Zuckerberg is predicting that in a five year period (Buzzfeed News), Facebook's newsfeed will be mostly video. Their focus on creating the opportunity for people to post live videos, is demonstrated by how they rank live videos higher up in follower's feeds. These developments only signal the emphasis on YouTube, Instagram Stories, Boomerang and Snapchat's video capability. It is important to take on board these software capabilities because they are setting supporter expectations about content.
Charity Example: Watch how Oxfam used video in their communications.
5. How accessible are you making things for supporters?
A friend told us about how he was restricted in supporting the poppy appeal, last November. He saw the poppy collectors and because they didn't have any contactless ways for him to donate and receive a poppy, he couldn't get involved there and then because he never carries cash. Society today, is fast adapting to the contactless norm of transactions, making it easy and instant for people to donate.
Another practical block could be if your website does not have mobile capability. When most people check their email, messages, the news and the web on mobile applications; by not having this set up, barriers are created for supporters that limit their abilities to keep you on their radar.
Ways that we can help