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Trying to get digital knowledge to spread beyond the confines of the digital team can be the work of a lifetime for a head of digital in a charity.

Even if you’ve got a digital team of a reasonable size, your organisation’s digital outputs are always going to be limited if it’s all down to just that team. And even if you do all the doing, having colleagues who get the basics doesn’t half help.

It’s not easy though. Not easy at all. But the more touch-points your message has, the more likely it is to stick.

 

Here are a few things that have worked at other charities that might help:

Launch a digital steering group

“Ooh a steering group, where do I sign up?”, I don’t exactly hear you cry.

Bear with me on this one.

They might not be the silver bullet we all crave. But creating a digital steering group with members from different levels and different teams across your charity to oversee all digital activity can have a number of advantages:

1. It’s a way of getting key folk on board

Once the concept of a steering group is signed off, you can write a list of the key people who need to be behind the proliferation of digital and invite them all to be on the group.

2. They provide a sense of ownership

If everyone on the group has their own tasks to deliver outside the meetings, they’ll feel a sense of ownership and commitment to digital work. This leads to colleagues who are far more bought into the project than if you just told them what you needed from them.

3. It spreads skills at senior levels

Think about it. If you’re an individual giving manager with low digital literacy who’s been working in the charity sector since long before Facebook was a thing, are you going to enjoy conversations about attribution models that you don’t fully follow?

Of course not. You can help vital senior members of staff to follow those conversations with a bit of friendly explanation in or out of the meeting. That spreads the good digital word at the very top in a meaningful way.

 

Lunch and learns

The lunch and learn is a classic way to get people from other teams bought in to what you’re trying to do.

The idea is simple. Book a room with a screen at lunchtime, and invite colleagues from all over the organisation to bring a sandwich and hear about digital developments in a fun informal atmosphere.

You can present about:

  • New platforms to explore – like ways to use WhatsApp at your charity
  • Great digital campaigns – like British Heart Foundation’s Restart a Heart
  • A recent campaign you’ve worked on and what you learned
  • An area you’re keen to explore – like how to do product management

At worst, attendees leave feeling more informed than when they arrived. At best, you get a group of digital advocates who can get your key digital messages across in their own team meetings and beyond.

Give your lunch and learn its own sub-brand to attract people. MS Society have ‘digital discos’ instead of lunch and learns. Glitterballs not compulsory.

 

Guides

Don’t let all that lovely digital information rest inside your head – get it down on paper.

Use that lovely sub-brand you created to make a guide on the key skill you need people to take on. Get your designer to spend 10 mins decking it out with your brand colours.

Keep each one to 2-3 pages max or people won’t bother reading them.

Use titles like:

  • Why Acme Charity bothers using digital
  • How to make the perfect Acme Charity email
  • Top 10 mistakes to avoid when creating Facebook ads
  • The best charity digital campaigns we’d love to do

The more interesting they are, the more likely your message will get across.

 

If you’ve seen other effective ways to spread digital knowledge to other teams, I’d love to hear about them in the comments.

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