Top 5 Digital Skills For Nonprofit Professionals
Twenty years ago, the idea that nonprofits would need to hire someone specifically to manage the organization’s presence online was almost nonexistent. If a nonprofit had a webpage, it was considered part of the marketing department’s purview or it was outsourced to someone else. However, today is a different story: Digital outreach is a crucial component of how nonprofits engage with potential donors. The importance and reach of a nonprofit’s digital efforts require a dedicated professional—or more—to maintain them. Research has shown that many nonprofits are concerned they don’t have the right skills in-house to make the most of digital platforms. Here are five of the most important skills nonprofit professionals need to have in order to succeed in today’s digital media landscape.
1. Strong Writing Skills
No matter the format, media is all about being able to communicate an idea, and the digital space is no exception. Strong writing skills are essential for nonprofit professionals because your organization needs to effectively and clearly communicate your mission and your goals to prospective donors. Your choice of words can stir an emotional response in people, which is exactly what you need to be able to do in order to get them to contribute to your cause. Without that ability to use language in such a way, the other skills won’t have as great of an impact.
2. Effective Community-Building
Thanks to social media, the world is more connected than ever and that means building communities becomes more important for nonprofits. Nonprofit professionals need to understand how they can utilize social media posts and their content to create strong networks of people that promote a positive response in donors. Ultimately, this should drive them to action, which includes being interactive with that community and actively responding to the community’s requests and inquiries. In the past, it was thought that simply being on social media and engaging with donors was enough. However, the understanding today is that social media has to be a means of disseminating high-quality content that drives donations.
3. Flexibility and Versatility
The one constant is change, and the digital realm certainly is no exception. If anything, change is even more of a factor for nonprofit professionals in the digital world, and successful professionals need to be able to adapt to changes on the fly. Becoming locked into a specific platform or way of thinking about digital outreach is a surefire way to get left behind. On a micro-scale, adaptability means nonprofit professionals should be able to bounce around among multiple digital platforms on a daily basis. Digital platforms often require frequent updates throughout the day. That means nonprofit professionals should be able to do the plate-spinning necessary to keep them fresh.
4. Basic Digital Know-How
This is the item most people think about when they consider the skills they need to be successful on digital platforms. Although it is extremely important, it’s far from the only element nonprofit professionals need to have in their skillsets. Along with basic HTML knowledge and fluency in common publishing platforms, photo and video editing proficiency is vital in today’s digital world. People expect content that’s more than plain text. Being able to engage with donors through video and photos helps create the emotional component that most frequently drives them to contribute.
5. Creative Thinking
Perhaps the most important skill a nonprofit professional can have when it comes to digital engagement is the ability to think creatively. The digital world is one that is constantly in flux; requiring people to make quick decisions in order to navigate it. Being able to think on your feet and see things in a different way not only prepares you for emerging trends, but also enables you to react at the speed of social media.
Although the digital realm is one that continues to evolve at the speed of technology, the five skills above are consistently important for success in order to have a strong digital presence for your nonprofit.