Charities of the future

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According to Government figures there are more than 160,000 registered charities in England and Wales. Fundraising is a key source of income generation for many and, for some, the only source of income.

In this digital era, new opportunities for income generation are opening up to charities. Online, mobile and digital legacy are three areas where charities should be concentrating their efforts.

As is well-known, the social media network is vast. But just how vast? According to recent figures from Facebook for example, the number of monthly active users (MAUs) for the social media site, 4th quarter 2014, was close to 1.4 billion, up 13.4 percent from 2013. Furthermore, the number of mobile monthly active users (MMAUs) for the same period was almost 1.2 billion, up by more than 25 percent. The average time spent on Facebook per user per day was a little over 20 minutes.

These are truly staggering figures but what does this mean for charities? Many things.

First, Facebook’s MMAU stats make interesting reading. Globally, mobile is growing and is rapidly becoming the defining point in communications. According to figures for 2014 recently released by Deloitte, more than two thirds of UK adults – about 35 million people – now have a smartphone and the number is rising. The biggest growth was 55 year olds.

Mobile devices and apps are disrupting established business models, transforming (or even destroying) old firms, creating new ones, and fundamentally changing the way people communicate, shop, bank, get news and information and entertain themselves. Mobile technology offers businesses the opportunity to engage with customers, employees and other stakeholders anytime, anywhere. This is one of the reasons why they are investing heavily in mobile and have implemented mobile platforms into their current strategies. Charities need to follow suit.

Second, we live in an era of “always connected”. Such is the ubiquitous use of smartphones, tablets, laptops and other digital gizmos that they have become reflections of our personalities, our interests and our identities. They are as much a part of us as the clothes we wear.

Yet it would appear from some research data that charities in the UK are failing dismally to effectively use their online presence to capitalise on the opportunities presented. Research by Virgin Money Giving and Third Sector Insight, revealed that charities across the UK are not maximising the potential of online fundraising. Eight out of 10 charities say online fundraising accounts for less than 20 percent of annual donations. Only 2 percent feel they are maximising online fundraising as a donation channel. Other data suggest that text donation campaigns alone could realise more than £150 million annually.

Although some people still like to receive hard copy letters, a growing number can be reached and engaged online. By using various online strategies, charities can be more regularly in touch, sharing photos, videos, invitations and other relevant material.

Social media should be an integral component of every charity’s fundraising strategy. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and others have all become vital avenues for promoting awareness and engaging with people. With the addition of Big Data, they can become a direct path into the personalised information streams of millions of consumers, and provide a unique opportunity to interact directly with potential donors.

As Facebook has shown by the number of active users, there is a lot more engagement online that makes people feel part of something unique, where they can play an active role in a project they feel part of. However, to make the most of their online presence, charity management need to ensure that their websites are mobile-friendly.

Alongside the capital generation abilities afforded by online and mobile technologies is the issue of digital legacies. With digital assets in the UK believed to be in excess of £25 billion (PwC data), there is a veritable fortune that charities could make by discussing with people how they could bequeath their digital assets to the charity when they die.

Music, photos, videos, material protected by copyright, Bitcoins, air miles; the list of digital property can be extensive. Internet accounts are like a safety deposit box in a bank; only the owner of that box knows what’s inside. Yet the Internet and the safety deposit box can be poles apart. When the owner of the box dies it belongs to his or her estate and the executor gets to open the box and controls the contents. It’s not so  straight-forward with the Internet.

Nominated executors take care of individuals’ assets when they die, complying with the individual’s requests. But with Internet accounts, few people give consideration to the assets they hold resulting in those assets often being lost forever. This is where charities can play an important role, not only ensuring that those on their mailing lists are aware of the need to protect their digital assets, but also encouraging their members to bequeath some (or all) of the digital property to the charity when they die.

Even though many people will already have made a Will clearly outlining what they want to done with their property, digital assets may not necessarily comply with the same legal characteristics as physical assets. Additionally, Wills can be an awkward vehicle for digital assets due to the often rapidly changing nature and ownership of digital assets. Furthermore, a Will is a public document which anybody can obtain, as a result, law firms advise people not to include their passwords in their Will.

If more people are made aware of the need to protect their digital property and the benefits of leaving that property to their chosen charity, the charities will receive invaluable funding from an ever growing list of donors, particularly as we expand into the digital era.

Please visit us at https://www.planneddeparture.com to find out more.

To Will or not to Will?

(DIY)Do-it-yourself may work in various aspects of our lives like plastering your living room or cleaning the dust out of your laptop.
Here are some interesting figures about Wills, DIY wills and the general attitude from the public towards them.

Children and the internet – What you didn’t know

The internet plays a major role in our lives on a day to day basis and that of our children without us realizing how long they spend online each day.

Whilst this might in itself not be a bad thing, the jury is still out on weighing the pros and cons. Key really is for parents to take responsibility of their children in terms of how they engage online.

Here are some facts and figures to show the visual seriousness of this online addiction.

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Children and the internet – How safe are they?

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No one seems too surprised by the fact that some 7.5 million users in the US alone violate Facebook’s member requirement every single day – simply by being under 13 years of age.

We have reached a stage in our digital era where digital consumers are increasingly starting younger. According to a study by the non-profit organisation, Joan Ganz Cooney Centre, more than two-thirds of 8-year-old children go online each day.

Whilst this might in itself not be a bad thing, the jury is still out on weighing the pros and cons. Key really is for parents to take responsibility of their children in terms of how they engage online.

Certainly this age of super connectivity has some drawbacks – from attention deficit, to lack of face to face engagement – having said that there are numerous positives from the way children can find out about the world around them, gain access to information, share, connect and engage – granted this is a whole new way of doing it but that does not mean it is all bad!

It is interesting to note that books were once considered bad for us – that they may indeed ‘brain wash us’. There are always two sides to any coin and the fact that we are neophobic by nature accounts for why we tend to be suspicious of any change in our lives.

Let’s focus instead on the benefits that digital offers us and ensure we keep our children safe as we would in any environment – familiar or otherwise!

 

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The Journey of Digital Art

With digital art starting to dominate the art industry, it’s safe to assume that some artists may have numerous art pieces, complete and incomplete that need to be organised and saved securely, especially in the case of something happening to the artist. His friends and family may not know where all these art pieces are or what the artist in question would like to do with them

Digital art in the 21st Century

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Van Gogh certainly would not have thought about it and Picasso I feel sure would have agreed had he understood the concept, however art, whether it be digital or etched on canvas, is still, very much art by definition.

Over the years the argument that digital art wasn’t an actual form of art because it was computer generated and had infinite copies without an ‘original’ has pretty much been silenced. As technology has evolved, so too has our views on digital art.

The difference between digital art and any other art form is the fact the artist works mainly with digital technology as an essential part of their art piece – gone are the paint brushes and easels of old.

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The first steps towards the evolution of art towards digital started in the 1950’s when a lot of artists and designers started working with mechanical devices and analogue computers.

Bear in mind during those times computers were very expensive. Only research laboratories, universities and large corporations could afford them. Regardless of these constraints, when the computer came into existence that’s when digital art started emerging.

From digital painting to animations, digital photography and 3D models, movies and games, they all come under the category of art. On the plus side they are accessible, on the downside there is no such thing as an original digital art form.

With digital art starting to dominate the art industry, it’s safe to assume that some artists may have numerous art pieces, complete and incomplete that need to be organised and saved securely, especially in the case of something happening to the artist. His friends and family may not know where all these art pieces are or what the artist in question would like to do with them.

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As with all digital assets, digital art is yet another facet which needs to be protected, stored and effectively passed on. I can think of nothing worse than an unfinished Rembrandt entombed in the ether for no one to access and enjoy….