Developing a digital strategy for your charity

DOT PROJECT recently ran a training course for charities on the Deloitte Digital Connect programme. Here, they share information and resources.

No items found.

WHY DO I NEED A DIGITAL STRATEGY?

Too often, technology can be an afterthought, misaligned with an organisation’s strategic objectives or can scare people off if they don’t feel they’re ‘technically-minded’.  We wanted to take the fear out of ‘digital’, and help organisations gain the confidence to question, discuss and agree on how technology could best be used within their organisation.

Throughout the course, the terms ‘digital’ and ‘technology’ were used interchangeably. We don’t believe in blindsiding people with terminology!

WHAT DID WE COVER?

Technology is a huge topic!  So we covered three areas that we think you should consider when developing a digital strategy:

  1. Aligning to your organisational strategy & governance and stakeholders
  1. Tech landscape audit
  1. Creating your roadmap and tactical planning to develop your strategy

Course attendees were able to raise questions during modules, and in group mentoring sessions. The key issues attendees required further support related to:

Stakeholder engagement and change management 

For digital leads, how can they best bring the rest of their organisation (especially those with lower digital confidence) on this journey? What are the most effective ways to keep everyone informed and up to date on progress, taking into account different communication styles and levels of interest? 

Understanding where the organisation is at 

For organisations creating a new organisational strategy, is there any work that can be done on their digital strategy in the interim? How to best audit and understand digital skills across an organisation? 

Creating the digital strategy - what does good look like? 

What information should a digital strategy contain? How broad should this be - should it cover the whole organisation, or can we take a narrower focus on specific teams and departments? 

We’ll answer these questions - and more - below!

PHASE ONE: DEVELOPING A DIGITAL AND TECHNOLOGY STRATEGY LOOKING AT GOVERNANCE AND STAKEHOLDERS

First, we encourage you to think about what a good digital strategy might look like for your organisation, and who you should talk to and involve when developing this.

Key things to consider when developing a digital and tech approach and looking at governance and stakeholders:

  • Make sure your organisational strategy is articulated - i.e. it’s written down and been through an approval process! Then, make sure your digital approach is aligned to this. Think about how digital and technology can help you achieve your organisational goals. If it is not clear how a digital project or activity can help you achieve your vision, consider whether this is something worth doing 
  • Spend time on mapping ALL of your stakeholders and understanding their needs - you’re going to need to bring them all along on this journey. Think about how best to communicate with each one, including format, frequency and detail. Different stakeholders will have different needs, so a one size fits all approach may not be the most effective. Experiment, and don’t be afraid to change anything that’s not landing 
  • Governance is an important consideration and you need to have a plan (even if light touch) to ensure that there are structures to work on tasks and make decisions. The aim of this is to make decisions easy, to be aware of who should be involved when and what is needed at each stage of your digital approach.

Understanding and managing your journey of change is an important part of the process of developing your digital strategy. 

Mapping out your stakeholders can be done in many ways. We love this stakeholder mapping resource from the CAST Design Toolkit.  

PHASE TWO: TECHNOLOGY LANDSCAPE AUDIT 

Once you’ve developed an approach, we recommend that you start thinking about and documenting all the technology used in your organisation; from software applications on desktops and mobile devices, hardware used (computers, phones), data that’s stored or shared, processes and resources, partners and suppliers. This activity can start whilst you are developing your organisation strategy, mission and values. 

Only once a Tech Audit has been carried out is it possible to see where the gaps, duplication, risks and opportunities are. 

Key things to consider with a tech landscape audit:

  • You need to have an understanding of your full digital and tech landscape to be able to identify risks, issues and opportunities.
  • A technology audit helps you to gain this overview. This in turn will enable you to rationalise and make the most of your digital technology, and determine any changes you need to make to make it more sustainable, adaptable or resilient. 
  • You don’t need to be “technical” to map out all the technology used in your organisation. But you will need to work with other teams in your organisation to understand what technology is being used, and how effectively it’s meeting everyone’s needs. 

This can seem like a huge task, so break it down into process stages. Perhaps start by reviewing the finances - what are we spending on technology (one off and subscription/license fees). Listen to the organisation; what are people saying about technology? 

You can use this template produced by DOT PROJECT to conduct your tech audit. 

PHASE THREE: CREATING YOUR ROADMAP: TACTICAL PLANNING 

Only once you know what digital technology you have through the technology audit, is it possible to think about where you want your organisation to be. 

At this stage, we recommend that you start thinking about how to create and deliver a Digital Strategy, through developing a Digital Strategy Plan (the method to create your  strategy) and a Roadmap (a specific set of activities, based on your Digital Strategy, required to reach the desired destination).

Key things to consider: 

  • You need a plan to create your Digital Strategy. This should contain the activities required to create your strategy (e.g. technology audit), approvals and communications. 
  • Once your Digital Strategy sets the direction for how your organisation will use technology to achieve your mission, you need to create a roadmap setting out how you will deliver your strategy.
  • The roadmap is primarily a communications tool. It does not need to include too much detail. But it should include working time (e.g. for implementation, testing, training) and not just milestones. 
  • Your roadmap is a live document - it should be regularly updated as plans and circumstances change.

Thinking of developing a Digital Strategy? Then follow these steps 

  1. Remember why you are doing this. Ensure you get commitment and buy-in from all the key stakeholders 
  1. Be clear of the scope of your digital strategy - don’t try and do too much. Prioritise!
  1. Make sure you know your organisation's strategy and vision, and are aligned with this
  1. Do a tech audit
  1. Identify and plan stakeholder engagement
  1. Draft your strategy and iterate
  1. Prepare your comms and gain approval
  1. Execute your plan and communicate
  1. Be prepared for uncertainty and be able to adapt 

Further support resources  

Digital Candle: Get free digital advice from volunteer experts on any digital challenge you are facing  

Dovetail: A directory of Tech for Good agencies if you require support for your digital strategy  

Charity Digital Digital Transformation Week: Articles, podcasts, videos, webinars and templates on Digital Strategy, Challenges, Leadership and Culture, Fundraising and Small charity support 

Photo by Kaboompics .com

By clicking “Accept all cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. Or you can click preferences to choose which cookies you want to allow. View our Privacy Policy for more information.

Stay in touch

Please submit your email address if you would like us to stay in touch from time to time with updates, new training or user research opportunities. We'll never pass your contact details to third parties.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.