Accelerating your digital transformation

Over the past few months, we have seen a significant acceleration across the Australian and the global economy in the shift to digital channels for all parts of life, from groceries and essentials to entertainment to health and wellness. Recent research by McKinsey indicates that digital delivery of everyday services is well entrenched in the mind of the Australian public and is expected to continue.

It is imperative now more so than ever that NFPs keep moving towards online service delivery, and what opportunities there are to offer new versions of their service that are enabled by online channels.

Digital transformation is continuous improvement

In today’s world, every organisation is a digital organisation. A modern organisation always has a website, digital systems for key business functions like accounting and will have some IT support or capability. From a technology perspective, the key differentiator is how well the technology works and how much of the organisation derives benefit from technology.

In addition, technology is constantly changing – therefore there’s no static target to aim for, as best practice today becomes average over the following years. A good way to think about it is as a form of constant business process improvement – where you are always looking ahead to see what advantages you can find as best practice and the market evolves.

This is important to recognise – there isn’t a one-size fit all solution to every organisation, rather there are multiple stops along the way.

What should NFPs be focused on transforming?

As mentioned earlier,  every organisation is a digital organisation, so  should the traditional methods of business planning be applied with a greater focus on digital strategy.

As a general statement, there are 2 key areas I think are worth looking at right now:

  • Integrated Comms & Fundraising digital journeys
  • Transitioning service delivery online

Integrating  comms & fundraising

Most comms & fundraising teams already make good use of digital tools and channels and incorporate them into their activities. However, as outlined, with a greater impetus on digital interaction today the bar has been raised to create better and more memorable experiences.

I think that one of the key next steps in transformational success in this area will be a more holistic approach to comms and fundraising teams working together and creating a longer term digital journey that crosses multiple fundraising and comms touchpoints. Yes, we already have landing pages, Facebook campaigns and lead ads, but the challenge is turning these into a cohesive journey fed by data.

For instance, the comms team may develop content articles that drive a lot of traffic to the site (e.g. Top 5 tips for managing your condition X). With visitors at this stage, it is difficult to tell what to do with them next – do you put them on a donation journey, do you funnel them into a service, do you add them to the newsletter? There’s lots of options, and your comms team and fundraising teams need to come together to work out what they think that journey could look like and what series of steps are  needed to push them further into advocacy, donation or another form of support.

For example, after reading a content article, users may be driven to sign up for a multipart content series, which eventually pushes over 2-3 content articles into a multistep fundraising acquisition journey. You can then use other journeys to provide donor care to new donors, and other content journeys to target non conversions.

This is just one relatively simple hypothetical scenario, but it shows how comms, multistep acquisition and donor care can be tied together through digital channels. Of course, you need the web platform, CRM, marketing automation and analytics tools and capability in place to be able to do this. If you don’t already have these tools and capabilities in place and operating at a good level, now is the time to move on these.

Transforming service delivery

A number of organisations have already been forced to transition some of their services online.

Telehealth and Telemedicine have been two big trends in particular that have been accelerated into society. A simple example is many GPs and Allied Health Professionals are offering more remote consultations and follow ups as part of their service that significantly reduce the need for face-to-face consultations. Similarly, some NFPs offering in that space have made the shift to online channels like Zoom, Hangouts and Teams for conducting telehealth consults and check ins.

This is what I would call a first line shift in existing essential services to meet the requirements of social distancing and still deliver value. Where I think the opportunity is now is a chance to redefine significant aspects of a process, or explore entirely new ways of service delivery.

As an example of redefining a process, let’s take a hypothetical example of animal adoptions. Animal adoption will always have a physical component, but a lot of the process could be done online. The process of learning about adoptions, viewing animals, making an appointment to see the animal, review of premises and adoption follow up could all be done through a combination of digital touchpoints, from recorded video through to walkthroughs and online submission. In addition,  the process of physical transport could potentially be done through a third party service like Uber if the right checks and controls were possible.

The other side of the coin is creating services that did not previously exist through technology. A very good basic example is looking at the rise of new social enterprises like Mable and Hireup and how they compare with other disability providers. As a basic overview, these organisations offer a marketplace style dynamic where carers can list profiles and expertise and be paired with potential clients requiring their services. Given the move to remote and decentralised work, one option may be for existing providers to add a similar marketplace style dynamic to their service if that organisation has the same belief and capacity to execute the concept.

What’s important to recognise particularly in this second case is that the change can be hard, it can be risky and that there will be some trial and error as part of the process – change is never simple. A strong understanding of the opportunity, and how the changed service delivery model can solve the problem, are needed to get the right direction and to make the correct level investment for this to work.

Wrapping up 

Digital transformation is an ongoing process that is at its core about improving organizational efficiency and communication. Integrated Comms and Fundraising and Online Service Delivery I believe are the two of the most promising areas for further transformation in NFPs in 2020, of course assuming you have all the basics in place.

Change is never straightforward or easy, but the rewards can be great, and certainly as we have seen with the events of this year, the right kind of response to change can yield great results and impact for those who need it the most.

For a full picture of a digital strategy process you can follow to find the opportunities within the organisation, you can download our digital strategy guide here. Our team is also happy to chat and help however we can, and would be happy to hear from you.