How to Create a Digital-First Culture at Your Nonprofit Organization
Take the following steps to foster a digital-first culture that sustains your digital media platform for the long haul.
Educate your team and build internal alignment
Creating a digital-first culture in your nonprofit organization is, first and foremost, about recognizing the role your digital media platform plays in scaling your impact. Everyone on your team needs to have a clear vision of how your digital media platform impacts your program work — and vice versa.
Educate your team. Explain that investing in the digital work will have a beneficial circular effect. Your digital media platform will lead to increased impact and engagement, which will lead to more funding opportunities, which will result in additional revenue that can be used to resolve your ongoing digital media capacity issue (in addition to funding program work).
Not only that, but by helping to generate awareness, engagement, and revenue, your digital-first culture shift will lead to a more sustained impact on the systems your organization is working to change.
Designate a digital media platform point person
While everyone in your organization should be on board with your digital-first approach, you should plan to assign “ownership” of your brand and the overall digital media platform to a single individual. Whether you handle everything in-house, split it between in-house and outsourced talent, or have an agency handle everything from soup to nuts, you will still need someone whose first responsibility is keeping an eye on your digital media platform.
This person will need to have a clear understanding of how your theory of change works. They should also understand the link between your program work and your digital media efforts. Their job is to keep the forward momentum going by managing your digital strategy and editorial calendar, planning individual campaigns, and delegating tasks to others. For example, they may plan a digital petition-signing campaign to influence policy makers and grow your internal list of supporters. However, your point person won’t necessarily actually produce the petition and related content.
Build Your Team’s Digital Skills and Competencies
Over time, give your team the resources and training necessary to develop new skills in support of your digital media platform. By empowering your team to confidently create and market compelling content across a range of digital channels, your digital-first culture will naturally grow and solidify.
Building and sustaining a digital media platform is a major, long-term undertaking, one that requires an underlying cultural shift to sustain it. By committing to a digital-first culture, you secure your investment in your digital media platform — and prepare a path forward to achieve your maximum impact.