5 Charity Digital Trends in 2021

Empower ‘s five charity digital trends, inspired me to think about where I see the focus going for charities increasing and improving their digital skills and services in 2021.

More considered product suite

Charities will give greater consideration to which products and digital services they adopt.

There will always be the tension between going where the people are, which means using products like Zoom and Whatsapp where user security and privacy might not be top priority, and ensuring that the people a charity interact with online are safe and well-protected. As digital knowledge around security and privacy grows, charities will give greater consideration to choosing which way to resolve that tension. Sometimes that will mean adopting products that are new to those people the charity supports and accepting the short term pain of encouraging adoption in return for the long term gain of helping people understand the importance of cyber security.

More communities

Building communities will win out over growing supporters

Small online communities popped up in lots of places in 2020. From neighbourhood Whatsapp groups, to support groups on Facebook, and Zoom yoga classes, everyone was joining and building online communities. As charities reconsider that it means to engage and interact with people online we’ll see a shift away from mass communication on big social media platforms towards small well-focused, and in many cases private, online communities.

Back to the basics of digital

User-first thinking means recognising that sometimes digital isn’t the right solution

Digital thinking is user focused. And if the best thing for the user is to receive a hand written letter on a piece of actual paper, then that is the solution digital thinking should provide. Charities will increasingly adopt a digital mindset over digital technologies to focus on solving the problems people face.

Exploring connected services

More charities will focus on partnership working to tackle more complex problems

In our increasingly interconnected society we’re becoming more and more aware of how complex the problems people face are, and that one organisation working alone cannot solve them. Charities will turn to partnership working as the first thought in tackling problems. We’ll see more joint bids for funding to provide more cohesive and effective services, and people will get better help as charities turn outwards to work more with other organisations.

Looking after each other

More people in the charity sector will take more time to look after themselves and each other

If we haven’t yet realised how important well-being is for the health of our minds and bodies, our families, society and our organisations, then 2021 will encourage more charities to figure out how to enable it’s people to work from anywhere, work flexible times around other commitments, and achieve good things in healthy ways. The idea of people as replaceable resources, as cogs in the machine that just need to do what they’re told to do, is dead. Charities that encourage, or even expect, their people to be creative individuals using all their capabilities will be more successful in 2021, which in case anyone is in any doubt, is going to be a year full of challenges that need kind, intelligent, adaptable people to make a difference.