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Digital Transformation

Digital Transformation

by Niall McCaffrey, Managing Director, ProAptivity

New technology has clearly infiltrated our daily lives. Unsurprisingly, digital transformation is buzzing within  the charity sector.

We are living through one of the biggest cultural technological shifts of our time.

  • 73% of adults in the UK are now signed up to a social media platform
  • there are 3.4 internet-connected devices per person 
  • it is normal to touch your phone 2,617 times a day

What exactly is digital transformation?

Digital transformation refers to integrating digital technologies across an organisation to deliver its vision, create value, give audiences great experience and services while developing a competitive advantage.”

In this context, competitive advantage doesn’t mean you need to operate in a cut-throat way or stop collaborating. Instead you need to understand what makes your charity truly unique and how can you use digital to capitalise on that.

What is digital?

Digital is becoming part of everything we do. “Digital” is a mindset of connectivity. It is about helping your charity capitalise on your existing contact database to develop better relationships. It is about capturing new stakeholder information, increasing stakeholder engagement, deliver better services and much more. Digital is not just the tools that you may use but the people, culture, and behaviours that frame what your charity is trying to do.

How can we create a digital transformation?

A good starting point for organisations looking to undertake a digital transformation is to clearly articulate their vision, aim and objective. By getting everyone on the same page, people will have a better understanding of what is being achieved and how it will benefit the charity. Ultimately, the question you are looking to answer is:

“How can we use digital to create the change you want to see?”

There may be upskilling or new technology platforms required to achieve digital transformation. Assess where you are up to as an organisation; identify what skills gap exists or what technology is required for the digital transformation to happen.

Creating digital transformation is not about making sure that you have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, or the latest social media platform. It is understanding how digital technology can help you to achieve your organisational strategy more effectively. It is about having insight to create a culture of enhanced intelligence enabling educated decisions.

When deciding which platforms you should use, it is important to use the channel that your audience uses. Look at how they are using digital and see how you can be part of their current activity.

Why is digital transformation important?

In the recent Ulster Bank CO3 S Index report 62% agree that the adoption of digital technology can make the Third Sector more resilient and sustainable. 40% anticipate that over the next 5 years technology will have a significant impact on the way their business operates. These are similar to the private sector who see technology critical to their competitive market offering. The biggest barriers to digital transformation is a lack of skills, a lack of funding and lack of digital understanding.

The challenge for charities is to rethink the ways they operate and stay ahead of (or at least in line with) the curve. The operational challenge comes down to a lack of resources and a vital day job.  Digital can offer a solution to a lot of these challenges. It’s not a binary choice; it’s already happening. If we fail to embrace these opportunities, we are failing to operate as effectively and efficiently as we could be.

7 things you can do:

Here are our seven things that we can all do to make progress towards digital transformation in the organisations that we work or volunteer for:

  1. Work out where digital sits in your business model.
  2. Develop your digital fundraising model.
  3. Upskill your team.
  4. Look at how your audience is using digital
  5. Speak to charities who’ve gone digital – Can we learn and replicate what they have been successful at?
  6. Talk to your leadership team.
  7. Just get started!

It can be hard but it’s worth it

The journey to full digital transformation can be difficult. However, there are a number of simple ways to apply digital within your organisation. There are lots of technologies that can enable this transformation. Using a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) database effective can be a quick win. It has the potential to transform the way the charity sector works, improving operational efficiencies, doing more with less. CRM can provide fundraisers with a 360-degree view of real-time data information. Used effectively, it can unlock silos of information as well as other benefits around compliance and productivity.

The forthcoming CO3 Digital Transformation Seminar hosted by ProAptivity will explore this subject in greater detail. It will provide practical accessible transformational methods to help your organisation on its Digital Transformation journey. For more information, ProAptivity can be contacted on 028 9099 6388 or via email at info@proaptivity.com.

Ofcom. (2019). Fast Facts. [online] Available at: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/about-ofcom/latest/media/facts [Accessed 19 Jun. 2019].

Consumerbarometer.com. (2019). Consumer Barometer from Google. [online] Available at: https://www.consumerbarometer.com/en/trending/?countryCode=UK&category=T... [Accessed 19 Jun. 2019].

Nelson, P. (2019). We touch our phones 2,617 times a day, says study. [online] Network World. Available at: http://www.networkworld.com/article/3092446/smartphones/we-touch-our-pho... [Accessed 19 Jun. 2019].

CharityConnect. (2019). Why digital transformation matters. [online] Available at: https://www.charityconnect.co.uk/post/why-digital-transformation-matters... [Accessed 18 Jun. 2019].



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