Charity tech trends for 2021
It’s hard to see many plus sides to the year we’ve just had. However, it’s promising that the pandemic has forced charities to accelerate their digital plans, putting them on a firmer footing for the coming years.
So how can they build on these charity trends in 2021, and what tech developments can we expect?
We’ve taken a look at the Charity Digital Skills Report 2020, which surveyed 429 charity professionals between March and May 2020 about how their organisations are faring in the online world.
We’ve also drawn on our own extensive experience of digital service delivery to give you seven pointers for 2021.
1. Digital service delivery and remote working
In 2020, charities had to shift to remote working and digital service delivery wherever possible.
We all hope that isolation will lessen in 2021, but don’t forget: for many people, digitalisation increases accessibility. It’s important to design an omnichannel experience that enables as many people as possible to contribute to and benefit from your work.
AI-powered chatbots and digital assistants are on the rise, freeing up human advisors for providing services where a human touch is vital.
However, the Charity Digital Skills Report 2020 found that 83% of charities described themselves as only fair to poor at digital service delivery.
2. Digital fundraising
Signs are hopeful that fundraising events will be running again in 2021, and charity shops are already reopening.
Digital fundraising complements traditional forms. Some 41% of charities believe their skills in this area are poor, with only 28% reporting during the pandemic that they were developing digital fundraising events.
Take a look at some of the many online fundraising platforms for ideas on how your charity can raise and process funds.
3. Digital communications
For most charities, digital communications have long since moved way beyond a simple website.
Video content has performed well in lockdown, and it’s one area where charities can really shine thanks to their rich and emotive content. If budget is an issue, remember that a great story is more persuasive than advanced tech.
Meanwhile, social media is the highest rated skill in the Charity Digital Skills Report, with 32% of charities rating themselves as excellent.
4. Remote contact building
Charities rely heavily on networking and building great contacts with stakeholders, including donors. The pandemic cut off standard ways of doing so.
So charities have had to innovate to reach and strengthen contacts. Online surveys and video chats enable your charity to invite input to shape your future digital marketing and service delivery.
5. Data analytics
How can you be sure your charity’s message is being heard? By turning to your data.
Social media and website analytics help you understand your donors, their priorities and their habits. Use that information to shape your approach.
Some 82% of charities, however, rate themselves as fair to poor when it comes to making the most of their website and analytics.
6. Data security
The more operations shift online, the more you need to pay attention to cybersecurity.
Only 19% of charities see data security as a priority for the next year. We hope that’s not due to complacency, but because you’ve all got great systems in place already!
7. Digital upskilling
As you can see, charities face a huge digital skills gap – yet the future is more and more online.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the amount of upskilling your charity needs, relax! There are many budget-friendly options.
Take a look at Charity Comms for events and networking groups to help you meet digital demands in 2021. Ask your staff to share their skills too.
While boosting your in-house digital capacity is always wise, you might need external support in certain areas. That’s where Connect Assist comes in.
We can support your charity in assessing your digital needs, devising an action plan, and helping you design and deliver customer portals, knowledge bases, and digital assistants.