On 17th-18th February, the 23rd Charities and Associations Event, CHASE 2015, took place at the Business Design Centre in London.
Hundreds of charity professionals came together to meet a range of sector specialist suppliers and gain valuable insights from expert speakers.
Charity Digital News was there on Tuesday to find out about how charities can protect themselves against cyber-attacks, keep data clean, use technology to enhance member engagement, web donations and understand what the typical donor really thinks.
David Shearman, CEO at Security Dialogue kicked off Tuesday with a speech on cybersecurity, posing the question, “Are charities vulnerable to hackers?” The answer is yes, he said, whether it be through random attacks, targeted attacks or attacks via the supply chain. Speaking from his own experience he said that charities don’t tend to check the credentials of volunteers, for example, which could pose a risk.
When choosing a cloud provider, asking the right questions is key, David stressed. You need to know exactly where and how secure your data is. Don’t be afraid to ask when the cloud provider’s last accreditation was. Educate staff about risks, work with others in the sector and above all, ask yourself the question, “If it all went wrong what would I do?”
Claire Gears of APT Solutions Limited looked at how to use technology to enhance member engagement. Gears said: “The purpose of data is so that we can make good business decisions. It allows us to personalise and engage with members.” When thinking about web design it is important to keep the audience in mind and personalise where possible, she advised. Avoid word-heavy pages and provide clear directions so that your donors have a seamless experience.
Phil Yarrow of Phil Yarrow Consulting delivered a seminar on how to increase web donations intelligently “for charities with websites, who want to boost donations.” He put forward three stages: planning, delivery and analysis. Planning involves gaining control of your website, delivery entails SEO, PPC, social media and video, and analysis helps you to improve donations.
Phil’s strongest piece of advice was to track everything. By doing so you will gain valuable insight into your demographic, know the best times to send emails, most popular pages and which social networks bring in the best donations. He added that people are on more social networks than ever before so “charities need to be smart about where they share their content.”
In Advanced NFPs seminar ‘How clean is your data?’ we heard that personal data decays at 11% each year if left alone, and since “out of date data is of no use to anyone” data cleaning is very important. Steve Cast used the example of the charity Wateraid, which saw more supporters responding to fundraising asks as a direct result of more accurate data.
To close, Azadi Sheridan of Blackbaud gave us an insight into the modern day donor. For 40% of donors, online giving is the main way of giving and 60% of people research the charity website before they donate, so it needs to have the capacity to convert interested browsers into donors.
Social sharing is on the up, he said, as more and more people share their donations with friends on their networks. Additionally, fundraisers who include photos, videos and blog posts see a massive increase in support.
Transparency and trust are key factors in securing donations, Azadi said, as donors can be put off if they are unsure where their money is going. Charities should take note from Guide Dog’s example, which uses a pie chart to break down exactly where the £50,000 to raise a puppy goes, from dog walking to admin costs.
After the online donation is complete, Azadi advises that charities include another call to action, whether that’s asking them to volunteer, share on social media, or sign a petition. Give the donor the option to keep giving he said, and so always provide a direct debit form.
When designing your website for mobile devices, Azadi encouraged charities to evoke empathy not guilt in the content, to be as transparent as possible about where the donation goes, avoid big numbers, include relevant photos and videos and don’t overload the reader with choices.
So what can charities take from CHASE 2015? Invest in cybersecurity, know where your donors are and make it easy for people to give to your charity by being transparent and thinking carefully about the design of your website.
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