With 2017 now at a close, it’s important that charities are aware of what’s ahead so that they can prepare for the best possible outcome. To do this, like every other business, they need to think about the digital and social trends that are up-and-coming in order to develop an effective marketing strategy.
With the digital world developing so quickly, it’s no wonder that 2018 is predicted to be a big year for charities that are utilising digital methods. After all, with 1.65 billion users on Facebook and the fact that most of us are never an arm’s reach away from our phones, charities will be left behind if they don’t use them. To help you make sure you are reaching your audiences, here are 6 digital charity trends to be aware of in 2018.
GDPR and Email Campaigns
From the 25 May 2018, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will be enforced. What this means is that data use and protection will now be stricter which should make digital and online methods more trusted among audiences and, therefore, potentially more used. With charities collecting huge amounts of data about their supporters, donors and beneficiaries all the time, they can now start to use this data to build more effective fundraising campaigns and loyal support. People will now get specific information on how their data will be used and the assurance that if they ‘opt out’ of marketing emails, they legally cannot be contacted, so these campaigns should also be much more successful.
Don’t fret about GDPR, it won’t scare off supporters. Improved data protection will actually offer benefits for both, assurance of trust and protection for supporters and loyal support for charities, meaning that charity-supporter relationships will be stronger.
The Rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI)
We’ve all seen how popular AI has become in 2017, with more and more people using Siri on their iPhones and the increased purchases of voice-activated assistants such as the Amazon Echo. Every company is trying to incorporate this into their product if they can now, so be prepared to take advantage of this in the new year! Not only can charities use these to save themselves time and admin fees, but they can also use them to make home donations possible with a simple voice command. If you saw a touching video on Facebook about a charity’s project and could easily donate by saying “Alexa, donate £20 to Charity X,” why wouldn’t you? Easy and instant donation methods are going to be a game changer for charities come 2018, so get involved!
It has been a few years since the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and No Makeup Selfie viral campaigns exploded on social media, so many are predicting that we are due another one in 2018. Charities can take advantage of this expectation by either trying to create their own campaign to go viral or by looking for opportunities on social media to get involved in. You need to be doing this regularly, however, as another charity that is more involved on social media could swoop in before you.
You must have noticed that 2017 was a big year for a rise in video marketing; our Facebook feeds are full of them with about 8 billion being watched daily on this platform alone. Charities need to be taking advantage of this trend as it continues on into 2018 by incorporating them into their marketing strategy as much as possible. Videos are one of the best ways to communicate a message to an audience, so make sure that they are short, attention-grabbing, clear, high-quality, and with subtitles or key messages displayed as text as many people watch them without the volume.
Augmented Reality (AR)
Although associated with gaming, AR is actually becoming a very mainstream digital trend as people look to seek a more physical connection in their everyday life. Not only does AR do this, by providing audiences’ with a very real and emotional user experience, but this unique method also shows them that your brand cares about its cause and allows them to feel it too. If that’s not the best way to establish a relationship with your audience and initiate a response, we don’t know what is!
To take advantage of this in the new year, charities will have to be clever about how they use AR. For example, WWF teamed up with global brand Coca-Cola to create an inspiring experience where users could view polar bears in the Arctic, gaining massive exposure for both of them and a lot of donations for WWF.
As we said above, people are constantly looking to establish a physical connection with things as the world gets more digital. We’ve already witnessed this in 2017 where both records and printed books sales rose higher than any other year in the last decade, so the forecast for 2018 looks a lot similar. As well as a physical connection, people are also looking for personal connections, so this is why it is essential that charities start to build loyal relationships with their supporters. The best way to do this? Personalised content and marketing that is relevant to your supporters. Charities need to understand what their audience wants and what methods they respond to best (i.e what way they want to consume their content whether social media, video marketing or printed methods) to speak directly to them and increase their chances of success.
With these digital trends already taking place before 2018 begins, it’s important to embrace them rather than shy away and get left behind. Charities will soon see that digital methods will play a massive part in forming stronger relationships with their supporters, so make sure to spend time researching and studying their habits and looking at what trends are up-and-coming, and everyone will get what they want.