January 11, 2024
Following our recent interview with Zoe Amar for the Third Sector column “What are the big digital trends for 2024?”, In this blog, we will be sharing our long-form insights from the interview.
The blog focuses our views on 2024 digital trends, how you can make the most of them and supportive resources. It is applicable across purpose-driven organisations and has further insights for charity and third-sector organisations.
As we continue to navigate through the ongoing cost of living crisis, the efficiency of our digital assets will become crucial. These estates will need to work even harder but have huge potential to make cost savings and improve overall performance and user experiences.
As the general public demands more social responsibility and transparency from organisations of all shapes and sizes, it has become imperative to have a sustainable digital infrastructure whilst not forgetting inclusivity as a key aspect of good design. When you design and build with this in mind, it also improves overall performance metrics that impact your SEO and user experience.
In 2023, we saw an increase in awareness amongst our clients of sustainable design practices and an emphasis on improving accessibility.
More broadly, in 2023, there was a significant rise in awareness and utilisation of artificial intelligence (AI), particularly from Marketing and Communications professionals. It is encouraging to note that people are becoming conscious of the ethical implications of AI. However, equal attention must be given to the environmental impact of AI tools, considering the use of AI and how much compute power this uses and the implications of mass adoption, for example AI can use an estimated double emissions than those tasks done manually. Ultimately, AI is only as effective as the person using it, and it is the responsibility of the user to guarantee that the AI generates inclusive and people-centric content. For the ethics of AI and how to use it, check out the manifesto at Empower and their clear approach to AI as well as the Digital Catapults AI Ethics framework. Further information on the impact of AI on the environment is covered here: Tech Life – Charting the true cost of AI – BBC Sounds.
Finally, in today’s data-driven economy, organisations collect huge amounts of data, but they often fail to make the most of it due to slow reaction times or underutilisation. For instance, many people are no longer active on certain social media platforms, like X (Twitter), and charities may still advertise on these platforms despite the declining return on investment. Generally, charities should focus on tracking the data to determine which digital channels generate the most engagement, and amplify those channels while being bold enough to let go of the channels that are no longer relevant.
When it comes to data utilisation and performance improvements, our Creative Director Kris Samyui-Adams said: “It’s SO important to avoid relying solely on one source and method of capturing data. Make sure to always question the data, not to prove it wrong, but to understand it properly. Keep people and users at the heart of your analysis, it is important to use your own knowledge, understanding, experience, and methods to why the data is the way it is. Keep it user-centric, make it relevant to you and then act accordingly.”
Finally, Kris reminds us to keep the data and outputs at the fore, “Once it’s done don’t put it in the cupboard and forget about it, regularly check back to research to ensure you’re keeping with your proposition, we recommend staying consistent with a clear design system.”
The landscape of fundraising is changing, and charities must adapt to engage their audience effectively. One such example is https://gamersforgood.com/, a digital platform that is gaining popularity. People may now be more willing to support charities through innovative digital platforms, rather than traditional fundraising events.
A performing website with clear user journeys should act as an organisation’s primary marketing resource and landing point to increase awareness, share insights, improve engagement and, for our charity clients, a crucial fundraising source. We’ll soon be publishing further guidance for boosting donations on your website, if you’d like further information in advance email email@example.com.
In today’s socially conscious UK, digital platforms provide a distinctive opportunity for charitable organisations to express their fundamental principles and demonstrate their impact, while also maximising performance and effectiveness. It is crucial to establish these platforms correctly, investing the necessary time and resources upfront and taking a long-term approach with the current and future requirements in mind. This will ensure that the platforms are built with both longevity and the consideration of social and environmental impact.
It is important to understand your audience’s requirements and how they view and interact with your brand, taking into account their personal or lived experiences to connect with them directly. It is essential to consider a comprehensive and integrated approach that includes captivating content and accessible design that performs well across all your digital channels.
When building a website, consider how it can cater to different audiences and serve multiple purposes. Don’t make it too complicated. Instead, focus on creating a streamlined and user-friendly experience, building a sustainable website that’s strong enough to perform for your overall objectives. By prioritising performance, you can inherently support sustainability and accessibility.
Engage with the community via channels such as Charity Comms, Charity Digital and Catalyst. These provide a great medium to connect, and share experiences and learnings. Offering a curated and focused source of information from community events, approved suppliers and a variety of charity sizes to connect with, as well as being at the forefront of key trends and discussions.
These channels also provide access to peer communities and channels, including access to expertise and specialist agencies for the sector. Benchmarking reports such as Charity Digital Skills Report and M+R Benchmarks can provide a good measure of the third sector and how your organisation aligns with peers.
Use your agency as experts, trusting and consulting to achieve the best results, but make sure to ask them to optimise and work to the latest trends and best practices. Organisations have a great opportunity to collect and use data in a meaningful way in the digital age. By using data proactively and applying it in the right context, charities can make informed decisions. When combined with modern trends, this approach can help charities stay ahead of the curve in a personalised and user-focused way.