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Being a leader who gets digital


Laila Takeh of UNICEF UK expands on her opinion piece published in Lasa’s Digital: What every charity leader should know.

A little while ago I was extremely flattered to be asked to say what I thought every charity leader should know about digital as one of around thirty ‘opinion leaders’. There’s some great content so I thought I’d repost it for anyone who hasn’t yet seen it. I’ve also got some additional thoughts to add to my points (slide 33) so I’ve expanded on them here.


Silos don’t exist externally, don’t let them exist internally

Digital is breaking down walls because of the required ways of working, but the silos shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Recognise the organisational change your digital staff may (or should) be driving and create space for it to happen.


+ Personal responsibility is something every leader strives to embed in their whole team, its good business sense. The same is true with digital, it should be everyone’s responsibility to embrace and explore the opportunities and challenges. Leaving it to the digital staff alone can slow change down and re-enforce siloes. This also means every leader taking the time to explore how to integrate digital into work (and life) too. While existing work approaches are effective they might be bettered… you don’t know what you don’t know.


Your brand has always been what people say about you – you can just see it more

The risks of social media aren’t much bigger than those you already have when a member of staff picks up the phone or knocks on a door. Put the same effort into social media training and guidance and you should be covered.


+ Designing enablers for others to use your brand is the other critical component. Providing easy tools, guides and ways for audiences to use your brand is a proactive way to manage brand. After-all we’re all pretty lazy


Focus on outcome, not sparkle

An app may be on-trend but you need to do the basics (search, email, website) brilliantly first. It’s a better investment. If you’re not up-to scratch in these areas your other promo activity will be less effective.


+ The opposite side of the coin is also useful to keep in mind (sorry it’s never simple!). Sometimes the sparkly things will get you the outcome you’re looking for. Build a culture that can be experimental at low risk with low effort, at the right time! An example is our UNICEF pinterest experiment, here’s an interview with Beth Kanter about it.


Evidence based decisions rule

Why guess when you can test. Next time you’re agonising over a headline, colour, layout or something else equally subjective remember this. You can test run your work – taking the guessing and the internal politics out of the situation.


+ This is another double-edged sword to be aware of. The old saying is true – if you fail you should try again. So much can influence a result that you need to be sure your test was valid. Too many definitive decisions could limit your options too soon.


Mobile is already here, and it’s not going away

If you’re redesigning your website, emails or anything else, including how you interact in face to face activities – design for mobile devices first. This should also concentrate the mind on ditching any unnecessary-ness.


+ Mobile web is still in evolution. It’s right to invest but worth considering slightly more short-term solutions until the technology starts to settle down more.



Mobile, Website

Published: 11th April 2013 Reviewed: 29th April 2013

Copyright © 2013

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