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Posted by Linda

We wanted to put together a list of things we think charities should be thinking of digitally over the next year and a few tips on and links to bits of software we like that might make your digital planning and measuring go a bit smoother!

It's certainly not all-encompassing, but it's some of the stuff we're particularly interested in right now and feel it can beneft charities to start thinking about. We can write more blogs like this if you like them, there's much more digital, marketing and backend stuff we could give your charity heaps of advice about.

We hope it's helpful :)

Introduce micro UX to your site

This is a big buzz term at the moment and we are quite a fan of it.

There are a lot of nice little tasteful touches you can weave into your web properties with clever HTML5 'micro ux' tricks.

These are little touches like animations, fades and blurs (among many other things) that can really put some polish to your site and give your user a pleasing aesthetic experience.

Here's a nice resource where you can swipe some fab code and make your charity website really look the part.

Responsive email

With so much traffic coming to charity sites from smartphones and tablets it's time to think about how your marketing emails look on these devices too.

If not already, charities will soon see smartphone and tablet access to their sites increase even further. We don't think it will be long until it's mobile first, desktop second. This we predict will happen first to charities who have large social media followings as the twitter and Facebook crowd use mobile first more and more.

So, as well as needing responsive websites, responsive email is a consideration too.

For years charities have built nice HTML emails that usual have a couple of columns - e.g body content and a sidebar of link buttons etc.

But now is the time to follow the 'rule of thumb' and make sure things are nice and chunky for your mobile readers. We recently saw a very nice responsive email from Save the Children (add screenshot)

Reporting dashboard

For years the want2donate team has wanted to get an all in one dashboard setup that could pull data from key systems into one (hopefully rather attractive!) online stats dashboard.

We tried mashing up charts from Google Drive's spreadsheets with Drupal content types and embedding graphs from manually built data tables.

This worked ok but never looked that great and was static in times in terms of being updated once monthly. What if you want a real time picture of everything? That approach was just no good.

It was also time consuming as all sorts data from channels like google analytical, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube had to be keyed in manually into spreadsheets to build the embeds able charts.

Now with Geckoboard you can plug in most of the main popular services like the ones I mentioned into a very attractive and highly configurable dashboard which you can even customise to match your brand colours. What's more is it's utterly intuitive and we predict this platform will just go from strength to strength.

We love it!

Tagboard

This is a really nice resource we found that can pull related social posts together via hashtag.

It looks like it would be great for charity events too, where you may want to follow a hashtag on a projector during the evening and have participants tweet in real time from the event to feed it to.

There is a lot of benefit to charities in terms of social proofing their activities, so showing future prospects just how many people are already engaged should lead to further engagement with new supporters.

Here's a few links to show how it looks across popular charity campaigns

Google Tag Manager

This is something one of the want2donate team is learning more about right now. It is a new tool from Google that aims to make it easier to track the usage of your owned digital properties by your site visitors and supporters.

You can learn more about it here on the Google Tag Manager website.

Don't overlook Bing Ads

All charities should take advantage of CPC advertising and most make use of the grant that Google offer (add link) to help charities get free text ads up. And they probably use Google Adwords on a paid basis as well, as the Google Grant won't cover the cost of more expensive keywords.

But want2donate's tip is 'don't overlook Bing!'

They don't have a charity grant scheme (that we're aware of) or as much of the market share but the cost per click of your ads will be significantly cheaper and you will be reaching a new audience too.

It's quite easy to get up and running so go check out Bing Ads and see if it works for your organisation.

Responsive websites

We blogged about responsive charity websites before, and to be honest need to pick that back up as we hardly have made a dent in writing about all the different responsive charity sites that are out there.

There are still hundreds of charity sites that have not made the move to a responsive design yet, but they will need to eventually if they wish to keep their audiences engaged and attract new supporters who will be increasingly using their smartphones and tablets to browse the web. 

How fast does your site load on mobile devices?

We predict it will also soon become very important, as well as having a responsive charity site, to make some effort to improve how fast it loads on mobile devices. 

In the ever decreasing ‘desktop is the only way to access the web’ world you could get away with fairly clunky big sites because of fast internet connection download speeds. This will not necessarily give a visitor on a 3G connection on a train a good experience. In some cases the site might not load at all and the mobile browser will give up.

Omni-channel marketing

Another buzz word that charities are picking up on. It has kind of come out of multiple channel marketing but becomes more holistic than that.

For example, the brand experience you have in store, will be reflected in the brand experience you see in advertising, on the phone, by email etc.

Or you might look at a brand’s website, and see a particular product pushed to the fore. When you go instore, it could be pushed to the fore in store, and you will already have read a lot about it. It would also be at the fore in their email marketing and their social channels.

To take it to an even more advanced level omni channel marketing will know it’s consumers. So - if you were on your desktop computer on your lunchbreak you might pop a few items in your basket from an e-commerce store.

You decide on the way home to complete the purchase, so you visit the mobile store - but you won’t have to sign in as you already are, and you can complete your purchase as seamlessly as possible. We guess the ‘seamless’ word is really key in omni-channel marketing or retailing.

Social Signin services like Gigya will be part of making this happen as user will be signed on to multiple devices using their social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter or Google +.

A charity could approach the omni-channel marketing model in a similar way with a fundraising appeal, or policy-related campaign.

This way you can galvanise the most support from as many people as possible, to foward your charity’s objectives.

There is less take up in the UK in terms of social sign in right now, but in the US it’s really taken off, and we think it’s something charities should take advantage of too.

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