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Being a leader who gets digital

By Laila Takeh

Lasa's crowdsourced report, ‘Digital: what Every Charity Leader Should Know,' highlighted advice from digital experts on how charity leaders can better understand and exploit digital's potential for income generation, collaboration and reaching supporters to create a more sustainable sector.

In this article, Laila Takeh of UNICEF UK expands her thoughts on low cost and low risk ways for every charity leader to go digital.  View the report ‘Digital: what Every Charity Leader Should Know'

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. Start by recognising 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 silos. 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.

Because it's never simple, keep in mind the opposite also applies - 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, featuring 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 anything unnecessary.

The mobile web is still in evolution. It’s right to invest, but it is also worth considering slightly more short-term solutions until the technology starts to settle down more.



About the author

Laila Takeh
Laila is a self confessed digital geek who has been working in charity digital roles for over a decade. She is also the London Barcampnfp organiser, an unconference event for anyone interested in technology for non-profits - find out more on twitter @barcampnfp. You can find her tweeting @spirals and blogging at SpiralForms.
[email protected]


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Published: 12th April 2013 Reviewed: 29th April 2014

Copyright © 2013 Laila Takeh

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