5 reasons for your charity to go digital (Guest Post)

From social media, to big data, to the universal shift towards mobile, the rise of digital technology means charities have many new ways to raise awareness. How can your charity harness the power of digital to grow online as well as offline? Tellonline’s Rachael Harvey offers some advice.

| 19th May 15

This guest post comes from Rachael Harvey at Tellonline, a digital agency that specialises in helping charities grow online. Tellonline’s Digital Development Fund offers non-profits up to £5,000 towards a digital project of their choice. Click here to find out more.

From social media, to big data, to the universal shift towards mobile, the rise of digital technology means charities have many new ways to raise awareness.

It’s important that your organisation adapts to these developments so you can harness the power of digital to grow online as well as offline. Here are five reasons to invest in going digital:


New media platforms and mobile devices allow for greater levels of engagement with your supporters. Charities can share updates, promote current campaigns and personally thank people for their support. In return, supporters can share your campaign messages and update people on their fundraising activities.

Just Giving made great use of this two-way communication during last month’s London Marathon, sending hundreds of personal tweets wishing runners good luck and congratulating them upon finishing. Meanwhile, participants posted tens of thousands of updates, videos and photos across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Throughout the 2015 London Marathon season, there were over 500k social mentions.

Go Viral

Investing in digital tools enables charities to publicise campaigns to many more people. It’s not always easy, but the right message and approach can see online campaigns capture the public’s hearts and imaginations.

Last year the #NoMakeUpSelfie campaign that spontaneously erupted from Twitter raised over £8 million for Cancer Research UK. The ALS #IceBucketChallenge soon followed, raising over $137 million worldwide.

As these campaigns were primarily online, it was very simple for people to show support and encourage others through nominations, exponentially growing awareness of the cause.

Share Stories

People connect with people, so the public respond better to campaigns led by real people’s stories than by statistics. Platforms like YouTube, SoundCloud, blogs and social media let charity supporters and service users share experiences and encourage other people to get involved.

The power of storytelling has been exemplified by the late Stephen Sutton and more recently by Gordon Aikman. Both diagnosed with terminal diseases at a young age, they decided to use the time they had left to share their experiences online, raising awareness and bringing about positive change. They have inspired many to support their causes so more can be done to tackle illnesses such as cancer and Motor Neurone Disease.

Get Personal

Using data effectively is crucial for long-term marketing success. Analytics from your organisation’s web site, social media accounts and email campaigns provides valuable insights that can help create more accurate, targeted campaigns.

Visitor behaviour data (purchase history, visited pages, videos watched) and personal information gathered from online forms (age group, location, occupation) can also be used to deliver personalised experiences, attracting new donors and nurturing loyal supporters.

For example, if someone signs up to your charity’s newsletter and visits the ‘Support Us’ area of your site, it is likely they are interested in becoming a donor. The next step should be to email them outlining how to donate and the difference their donation could make.

Grow Online

Tellonline, have recently launched their annual Digital Development Fund, which is aimed exclusively at non-profit organisations. Through the scheme, your organisation can apply for up to £5,000 towards a digital project of your choice, helping you to grow online.

Register your charity’s interest in the Digital Development Fund and find out more here. The closing date for registering your interest is 6th June 2015. If you have any further queries, don’t hesitate to contact the team at info@tellonline.com or call 0207 061 6229.