'if you're not skilling-up the whole of your organisation you're failing...'

There's some brilliant work taking shape in charity communications. But no matter how good the cutting edge work the organisation needs to be pulled along too.


Hello I'm Laila and I'm a digital-aholic.  


But I've got a bit of a confession to make – despite being a digital geek with a degree in Computer Science and Art I've never worked in a start-up, I've always worked in the charity sector. 

Of the many things that keep me in charities, a big one is the change I've been able to contribute to and drive. I'm not alone, digital staff across the sector are making waves.

This became really clear when I presented recently on the digital transformation work I've been leading at UNICEF UK (see my presentation on my blog here.) 

In a room full of charity communicators almost everyone had a story about how they were trying to integrate digital more strategically or were already on the journey.

The story varied by size of organisation. The day to day challenges for organisations with larger teams seemed very familiar; ownership wars, left hand Vs right hand objectives, and the digital team often being the last people to be contacted in a project.

Smaller non-profits didn't have the 'ownership wars' or 'conflicting goals' since its often only one person doing all external comms work. But many struggled with limited digital expertise and knowing where to get started when digital may only be a tiny percent of someone's role.

Consistently the greatest challenge, from my experience and others I've met, is more about balancing demands for day to day delivery with the investment in a more strategic approach. As was said by someone at the event; 'a new CMS will not solve your digital problems'. 

The charity sector is starting to 'get it' – in the past few years charity digital roles have grown in number and remit. 'Head of Digital' roles simply didn't exist in charities up until only a few years ago but now there's a bunch of us that have started to meet.

What's key for many of us is that digital teams need space and support in taking on the role of change agent while ways of working have yet to adapt to the new landscape. And for me its all about accelerating the mainstreaming of core digital tactics. 

If you're not skilling up the whole of your organisation to use digital appropriately then you're failing the future of your organisation.

Laila Takeh is head of digital engagement at UNICEF UK. She blogs here.

Picture credit: Marisol Grandon/Department for International Development'

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