The top new digital skills fundraisers need

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Written by Ryan Burdock, Team Leader of Prospectus’ Fundraising Team

Today’s fundraisers need to be savvy in all the latest digital trends if they are going to compete in a multi-channel environment.

With charities facing a constant challenge to compete for engagement with their audience, they are turning to exciting and innovative digital approaches to attract this support.

And more and more organisations are recognising that talented people with vital digital skills – and not just from within the sector – will ultimately play a part in their success.

Whether you are a fundraiser looking to boost your knowledge of digital, or a digital expert looking for your next charity role, below we highlight some key areas where organisations are using digital in their fundraising, and that fundraisers need to have a solid skillset in.

Underpinning all of this, as charities experiment with new and innovative approaches like these to increase their reach, they need fundraising experts to oversee these key digital projects. For this reason, digitally savvy fundraisers often need to have strong skills in digital project management.

Data analysis

Fundraisers are turning to big data in a big way. Fundraisers need data skills to analyse and design supporter journeys that drive people to take action.

They need to be able to take an analytical approach to measuring and implementing campaigns across a large number of digital platforms from email and social media to advertising and online petitions.

For some great case studies on how organisations have been using data to optimise their fundraising, take a look at this report from the Institute of Fundraising, JustGiving and Social Misfits Media: What’s Data Got To Do With It – A Beginner’s Guide to Data & Fundraising.

Virtual events

Fundraising events have always been a staple of charities, but we are now seeing more and more events hosted virtually through bio-tracking, wearables and mobile app technology.

A virtual fundraising event involves interacting people sharing a common virtual environment on the web, rather than meeting in a physical location.

The beauty of these virtual events is that they give mass participation fundraising a new angle – they can be performed by anyone, anywhere, anytime and have very little cost associated with them for the organisation. But it does take an innovative fundraiser to recognise the opportunity and how they can be set up.

A great example is the Diabetes UK ‘One Million Walk’, where supporters were asked to take a million steps over three months which they logged through their phones or fitness devices and a special online tracking page that doubled as a donation page.

Some charities, like Fight for Sight and its ‘Journey to the Centre of the Eye’ have pitched their event like a ‘virtual race’ that involves an immersive audio experience where supporters race against each others’ times.

User experience

Today’s audience expect a personalised, easy and seamless experience, no matter what device or channel they are using. Charities understand this and are looking to their fundraising teams to help optimise user experiences across all digital channels including website, emails and social media.

Good digital fundraisers need to have an understanding of user experience and digital journey planning principles.

Check out how Shelter improved user experience for their supporters and built a successful supporter journey programme.


It may be a little bit further ahead of the tech adoption curve, but the rise of cryptocurrency in fundraising has been hitting headlines for the last few years.

It may not not to be front-of-mind just yet for most fundraisers, but it’s certainly a good idea for them to be equipped with some understanding of what it is, why it’s important for the sector and some of the key uses it will start to see.

This guide from Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) includes papers and videos where you can explore the fascinating ideas behind cryptocurrency in the charity sector.

Live-streamed gaming

The world of live-streamed gaming, typically through the huge Twitch platform, is slowly becoming a form of income for causes across the world. Famous gamers will run “Fundraising Days” where small, micro donations are committed by viewers and donations are instant and unrestricted. The JustGiving Blog is a great read on how this can work for organisations.

This article was written by Prospectus’ Fundraising Team and originally posted here

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