What are you up to this weekend? Perhaps you’re going to the pub or a restaurant, or even the cinema. Life as it was before the pandemic is starting to return. Maybe you’re even planning your first face-to-face work meeting or a day in the office soon.
Although Service Design is a well-established discipline, it’s not mainstream in the charity sector. I spoke with Giulia Merlo, Service Design Lead at Cancer Research UK to discover more about the discipline as well as how charities can incorporate it into their work.
When we asked charities to tell us last year what the key issues were that they faced in digital, the main challenge wasn’t tools, data or platforms. It was about people, and specifically, leaders. In the 2018 Charity Digital Skills Report, which we run annually with Skills Platform, charity professionals told us that they expected greater digital leadership.
Last year we predicted that more charities would be experimenting with chatbots, videos would be ‘thumb-stopping’, brands would become more purposeful, charities would become more transparent and content would become more visual. All of these digital trends have definitely happened – although perhaps not as much as we thought (AI, chatbots and Alexa skills are still not commonplace). So what does 2019 hold?
There are so many things you can do on digital, even if you are a small organisation with a limited budget. This morning I was working with a small, volunteer-led charity (the PTA at my kids’ school), and they were wondering what to do about the range of social networks that are out there, how to make more of their website, how to do more with data, how to use digital to fundraise and how to structure their content around what parents want. If a small, brilliant charity like theirs doing great work to raise much-needed funds isn’t sure where to start, then there must be thousands of others in the same situation.
Here at Lightful, we’re all about sharing best practice. Whether it’s giving charities access to the best technology at an affordable price or helping to upskill people through our guides, webinars and training. As part of our commitment to the sector, we want to highlight ten people working in digital who we think should be on your radar – if they’re not already! This is the first in a three-part series.
When Carlos, Johnny and I founded Lightful, it was to give charities and social enterprises access to the best technology, at an affordable price, so that they can create bigger impact for those they help. We were frustrated that the sector, as a whole, wasn’t making the most of the opportunities that technology offers so we looked for a solution that would help them save time, raise more awareness of their cause and make it easier to raise funds too.
The age of automation has arrived. It is an array of technology that includes: robots, chatbots, artificial intelligence, machine learning, conversational interfaces, smart devices, drones, self-driving cars and others which are increasingly becoming the interface between organisations and humans. These technologies have been in development for decades but are increasingly becoming part of our daily lives and will continue to have a significant impact on our work and lives.
Last week we attended Third Sector’s Fundraising Week. Our Director of Development, Haydn Thomas, and Kirsty Marrins, who works with us, were on the Advisory Board and helped put the two-day programme together. We had a stand over the two days and on the Wednesday both Kirsty and Haydn delivered sessions. It was a great two days, packed full of interesting and thought-provoking keynotes, workshops, sessions and conversations. Here’s what we learnt.
There’s no escaping the fact that, when it comes to digital, the charity sector is behind. This is why Vinay, Carlos and Johnny started Lightful – to give the sector (who deserves it the most) access to the best technology at an affordable price. The latest Charity Digital Skills Report 2018 by Zoe Amar and the Skills Platform shows that 45% of charities don’t have a digital strategy and 51% cited a lack of skills as a barrier to digital. Whilst we are making progress (the numbers improved from the year before), there’s still a way to go.
‘Digital transformation’ is a phrase that has become a bit of a buzzword in the sector over the last few years but what does it actually mean? We put this question to the experts and here’s what they said:
A hackathon is a great way to find innovative solutions to real-world problems, within a set timeframe. They’re also cost-effective, foster creativity and offer the opportunity to learn from third party organisations. Read our detailed guest post for UK Fundraising on what hackathons are, what they entail and how to run a hackathon for your charity.
We know that charities do important work but often on shoe-string budgets. If charities are doing some of the most important work in society, then surely they should have access to the best technology and resources for free or an affordable price? We’ve scoured the internet to find you the best, free or discounted resources to help you succeed. If we’ve missed any, please tweet us @Lightful so we can add them to the list!
Social media is all about community, and building a dialogue and a relationship with your beneficiaries and supporters. Here’s how Bliss uses social media to communicate with their audience.
It’s imperative for charities to think about the digital experience they provide for their users in a holistic way. This is something that Nancy Scott, Search Lead at Cancer Research UK, is extremely familiar with. We caught up with Nancy to talk about the ways in which charitable and beyond profit organisations can approach SEO, and some of the most common challenges she sees these organisations face.
Hello and thanks for tuning in. When a few of us got together to set up Lightful, we really wanted to help strengthen relationships between people who want a better world and the great causes making it happen. It’s thrilling to see it start to come together, and I’m so pleased to welcome you to our new website, new brand and visual identity, and the resources / blog part of our site.
Some of the best social media success stories for charities weren’t planned – things like the unprecedented number of donations for the #NoMakeUpSelfie or the timely response to #TheDress by the Salvation Army in South Africa were all due to excellent social listening and speedy content creation.
A lot has changed in the online world in the last 20 years, as we have gone from experimental MIT researchers with dial-up connections to teenager vloggers with millions of fans on smart phones. There is a lot to be proud of in the ‘beyond-profit’ sector as charities have responded to this e-evolution and have taken advantage of technology to improve service delivery and transform communications and fundraising.
Last year it may have seemed like all our simmering divisions were no longer content merely to be topics for heated debate, but were compelled to bubble up and erupt on the surface. The US elections, Brexit and ongoing conflict in the Middle East illustrated some of our most entrenched divisions.
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