At Hart Square, we have a lot of conversations around digital strategy and digital transformation with clients across the NFP sector. As organisations continue to rapidly evolve their thinking in this area, one question keeps coming up again and again; is having a digital strategy an organisational necessity or should digital simply be integrated into wider organisational strategies?
For years, charities and NFP organisations have been trying to increase their digital capacity with increasing focus on developing more web-based offerings and harnessing new technology to raise more funds, engage more deeply with their audiences and collect higher quality data. But when asked in the Charity Digital study, conducted by Zoe Amar in 2019, 67% said that they still want to use digital to increase their impact. This would suggest that digital is still not ingrained in the culture and strategies of these organisations.
This is also something that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has been looking at, concluding that,
Transformation should be the focus not technology, technology enables an organisation to change and enhance strategies.
But how does this translate into practice? What would your organisation need to make lasting transformation happen? How do you focus on transformation without technology being your focus?
A critical factor here is that behind any change, there needs to be a focus on how this would integrate with your organisations’ overarching strategy and vision. When you know what you want to achieve and what benefit it will bring to the organisation, you can then start to look at what tools, resources and skills are needed to make it happen.
Equally key will be ensuring that there is enough digital leadership within the organisation. As with delivering on any strategy, everyone will need to buy into this transformation, understanding its impact and their part in making it happen. This will naturally need leadership at all levels of your organisation, something that not everyone feels they have.
To quote the 2019 Charity Digital study, 58% of respondents said their charities have fair to low skills in digital leadership.
With digital now permeating across everyday business as usual activity, it’s more important than ever to ask yourself how digital transformation can support the vision and aims of your organisation. Digital should be a key pillar of any organisational strategy, front of mind when looking at how to achieve your aims, whether that is in supporter engagement, delivering services or growing impact.
Digital and technology will continue to be omnipresent across the sector and leaders will need to adapt to ensure that they are able to leverage the full value of organisation-wide digital transformation.