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Supporting Millennial Supporters

Supporting Millennial Supporters

23/11/2015 11:20 by Sarah Bailey
Marketing Campaigns Manager

I find it fascinating how much technology has changed the game for so many industries in so many different ways. Having recently attended the Charity Technology Conference, I got an insight into how the not-for-profit industry is utilising technology to achieve their organisational goals. Eclipse is headline sponsor this year and our director of product, marketing & sales, Pete Tomlinson shared his keynote stage with RNLI to talk about how charitable organisations can reach Millennials with new technologies.


We learnt about Comic Relief realising the power of data to better understand their supporter base, and the RNLI’s use of Minecraft and Google Cardboard to attract a younger audience.  As a result of online donation platforms, viral videos, social networks and even communicating their cause via photo sharing on Instagram, the RNLI is reaching a whole new generation of supporters. The technology uses were endless and it most certainly has changed the way in which charities and all not-for-profits are communicating with their stakeholders.

Zennon Hannick, CTO at Comic Relief used the term ‘data informed decision making’ – because, quite frankly, what’s the point of collecting all of this data and having all of this new information, it if doesn’t affect the way you operate? Luke Williams, Social Media Innovations Officer at RNLI spoke about the importance of letting anyone within the business put forward ideas – no matter what their position. He spoke about the idea of having an internal start-up mentality – innovating from within and starting out small; projects don’t need to be 100% complete before you can release them externally. Their beach safety awareness Minecraft pilot was a great example – they produced a PDF, which they called their minimum viable product, which outlined what they wanted kids to create and asked them to send in their screenshots via email. It was as simple as that, and the response they received was unexpectedly overwhelming. It had cost them next to nothing, but because they had tapped into a very popular 7 – 14 year old gaming craze – it took off! Perhaps the members, supporters or volunteers of your organisation could come up with a similar technology based awareness campaign? Why not start an internal ‘ideas campaign’ and see what you could do.

The key takeaway from the event was that at every meeting, in every discussion and in the creation of any strategy, not-for-profits should be asking the simple question – how can technology make this better? Are we looking at this with our digital glasses on? Because chances are it can.  It could be as simple as introducing a BYOD device policy enabling your people to communicate with each other anywhere, anytime and on any device, which in turn can increase productivity and efficiency. You could offer free Wi-Fi across your sites with an option to donate as you login or what about a Hackathon to drive digital development?

Businesses shouldn’t only consider the IT Manager/CIO/tech guru (whatever yours is called) when something breaks or when they can’t get online – they should be consulted with on every major strategic decision, as a charity or in any business in any industry today. What they can help us deliver has become fundamentally important to the customer experience, especially with the next generation of supporters.

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