Why Digital is a ‘Must’ for the Charity Sector
29 May 2018 | Charli Bevan
Charli Bevan, QNI Digital Engagement Officer and CNEN Coordinator
When I joined The QNI in 2015 fresh out of university and a gap year working abroad I had no experience in professional social media.
But when I applied to the QNI, I was hoping the passion I had for social media in my personal life would shine through at interview. Luckily it must have, as they hired me as Digital Engagement Officer. The communications team were very open to letting me take control of social media and in my first few months, I researched the QNI’s unique audience and how best to engage with them.
Looking back over the past three years, much has changed, and most QNI programme managers now have professional Twitter accounts, putting a face to the amazing work they were undertaking and boosting engagement in general QNI content.
A Digital World
We live in a digital world. We wake up and log on to Facebook, during breakfast or on the commute we scroll through Twitter and check overflowing email inboxes, scanning the list and only opening items that look appealing at a glance. Everything is online – shopping, doctor appointments, travel bookings and even catching up with friends – gone are the days of individual phone calls when instant group chats are available.
If people have the time to listen to a computer-generated voice over and over again to discuss what name they hear, then they certainly have time to read about subjects they are passionate about – if the information is available and easily accessible to them.
It is important that all charities stop thinking of digital as an ‘extra’ and include it as a vital component within their communications plans. Of course, taking audience demographics into account is always important, but potential donors and supporters are being bombarded with digital communications at all angles from the private sector and beyond. In our increasingly fast-paced and environmentally friendly world, charities need to be in inboxes and on timelines regularly.
From Silence to Voice
The QNI has become a well-recognised and respected voice on social media in recent years. A recent campaign started by QNI Chief Executive Dr Crystal Oldman encouraging registered nurses to add RN to their Twitter title went viral in the nursing world, with increasing numbers of nurses going ‘From Silence To Voice’ and being proud of who they are on professional social media.
A student nurse who took part in the filming of The QNI’s new short social media films commented on the fact they had been instructed by university course leaders to follow The QNI on Twitter to keep up to date with current affairs in the field, and to use The QNI website to access our digital resource library.
The QNI blog showcases comment from a diverse cross-section of the nursing and healthcare world, whilst our online ‘Policy Response’ posts give peers and the public instant access to The QNI’s stance on breaking healthcare reports and policy developments.
I would encourage all charities to embrace digital and social media. Use it to your advantage to engage audiences in a way that works for you. Methods don’t have to be refined or perfect, the digital world is fast-paced and what fell flat today will be forgotten tomorrow – embrace innovation, encourage engagement and work towards a culture change.
Charli now works at Homes England.