How to create a digital strategy for your charity

While digital transformation has been taking place among private sector businesses and public sector organisations for some time, many charities – particularly smaller ones – are yet to catch up.

Digital is a crucial development area for many charities, with the technology available to help them with everything from strategy and operations to fundraising and communications.

However, many charitable and community organisations aren’t making the most of it because they are either too small, lack the expertise to work with it, or don’t have the funds to invest in new software and devices.

Despite more charities than ever turning their focus to digital technology and how they can use it, adoption remains surprisingly low.

According to the Charity Digital Skills Report 2020, 51% of the organisations surveyed don’t have a digital strategy in place.

However, digital technology is something that charities of all sizes can’t afford to ignore for much longer. They need to make bold decisions about investing in the technology that can help them improve their operations and sustain themselves. Otherwise, they risk fading into obscurity.

Here, we take a look at how charities can take a more strategic approach to digital.


Why do charities need a digital strategy?

In today’s global, consumer-driven economy, digital technology is coming more to the fore.

Many businesses and organisations simply wouldn’t be able to exist were it not for technology, which makes it crucial for charities to not get left behind.

A digital strategy is all about defining your charity’s aims and objectives and then looking at the digital technologies, services and products you need to achieve those goals.

There may be many reasons why your charity needs to invest in technology, from improving operational efficiency and communication to providing better services to users and engaging with supporters or volunteers more effectively.

Once you’ve defined what impact you hope to achieve, your digital strategy should be aligned to those goals to make them happen.

Some of the things you’ll need to consider when creating a digital strategy for your charity include:

  • What do you want to achieve by going digital?
  • How can digital technology help improve your processes or operations?
  • How much budget will you need to achieve your digital transformation objectives?
  • What resources or expertise do you need to bring your strategy to fruition?
  • How are you going to monitor progress, performance and success?

What should a digital strategy cover?

A digital strategy can be as wide-ranging – or specific – as you want it to be. As we said above, it should be guided by your charity’s objectives.

However, there are a few key areas of your operations that you should consider when creating your digital strategy, as they may have a big bearing on its overall success. These include:

Internal Systems

Internal systems

Digital technology can enhance the delivery of your core functions. It can help streamline systems, improve processes, save your people time doing manual tasks, and improve collaboration, communication and information sharing across your charitable organisation.

So, looking at what digital tools you use currently, if any, and understanding which of your internal systems could be improved by technology is an excellent place to start.

data and CRM

Data and CRM

Data plays a big part in everyday life. Having accurate, relevant, and up-to-date information about your partners, supporters, and service users is vital. Digital technology can help you gather, analyse, interpret, share and store that data so you can provide a more personalised level of service and help your leaders, staff, and volunteers understand what’s going on.



We live in a digital-first society where much communication takes place on smartphones, social media and through digital channels. So, getting to grips with the options available is essential for communicating effectively with your internal team and with your service users, donors, partners, and external stakeholders.

Service delivery

Charities are increasingly delivering their services online via websites and social media, automated chatbots and video conferencing platforms. Having the infrastructure in place to support this is vital. So, it’s crucial to understand which services, operations, and processes could be improved and the technologies to make it happen.

How to write a digital strategy

Creating a digital strategy is no different from developing any other kind of strategic plan.

It’s all about identifying where you are, where you want to be, and what you need to do to get you there.

While there’s no set formula for writing a digital strategy for your charity, as your objectives will be unique to your organisation, there are several things you should consider when developing your strategy, including:

User research

The most successful digital strategies are based on sound user research.

After all, if you’re looking to improve your services, processes and operations using technology, then it’s only right that you consult with the people who are going to be affected – and benefit – the most.

So, seek feedback from your internal team and service users, find out what will make their lives easier and listen to their ideas. Ask them for examples of best practices they’ve seen elsewhere.

Understanding your audience and users, and knowing what they are looking for makes it easier to define your objectives and give them what they need.


Consider your supporters

While focusing your user research on your internal team and services users is important, it’s also vital to consider the needs of the supporters who fund your service.

Delivering them enough information to ensure they continue wanting to support the charity is critical. If there’s too much, or it’s too irrelevant, they might stop supporting.

It’s also essential to ensure your charity is properly aligned to your supporters. Most people give to a charity because they agree with what is does, so deciding to focus on something different can create a backlash. If you head in a direction they don’t agree with, they might not continue giving.

People and culture

While technology is  a facilitator for digital transformation, its success lies with the people who use it.

Digital transformation is about shifting service interaction from traditional channels (face to face, phone, paper) to new channels (social media, apps, web), but to get there you need to understand the processes people use to do things.

If your people aren’t willing to embrace new technology, change their working practices and implement new processes and procedures, you’ll never achieve the changes you’re looking for.

So, ensure your digital strategy includes a human element to bring your people along with you and help them buy into the vision.

agility and flexibility

Agility and flexibility

It’s essential to ensure your digital strategy is not too rigid or inflexible because when you’re developing a new digital solution, it might not end up as you initially thought it would, or things might not work as expected.

Your digital strategy should be agile enough to change direction if required, so as things progress, you can review things regularly and respond quickly to any issues as they arise to keep things moving forward. Remember, digital transformation is all about progress, not perfection.

align with strategy

Align it with your overall strategy

The main aim of digital transformation is to improve your processes, streamline your operations and find more efficient ways of doing things to help your organisation achieve its overall objectives.

So, it’s no good writing your digital strategy in isolation. It needs to align with your overall strategy and set out clearly how it will help you achieve your goals.

Use a specialist ICT consultant

Many charities and not for profit organisations want to embrace the potential of digital technology but don’t have the in-house expertise or resource to help them make a start. So, working with a specialist ICT consultant is vital.

At AMDH, we offer a wide range of implementation and support options to help your organisation make the switch to Microsoft 365 and other cloud technologies and make the most of their features.

We can work with you to identify your needs, select the best products and services and implement your new solution.

We can also help optimise your apps and security settings and establish best practices to ensure your organisation makes the most of its investment in digital technology, along with ongoing advice and support to keep your new system running as it should.

Interested in finding out how we can help your charity or not for profit organisation use digital technology to unleash its full potential? Give us a call on 01332 322588 or book a free consultation.

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