05 — We will adopt a digital-first culture
We will accept that in order to compete in the ever-growing fight for attention, we must build a digital media platform that will not be mistaken for a separate or siloed experience, but a synergistic system that powers our core work and helps us reach our mission.
The modern social impact organization knows that in order to reach its full impact potential, it must enact a digital-first strategy and platform. Navigating the information era requires a multi-faceted strategy, but your digital footprint is the chassis that connects all of the other important components.
The difference between a modern digital media platform and a typical website with a donate button is the difference between the eagle and the vulture. The eagle takes control of its future by actively searching for and capturing what it needs to thrive. The vulture waits for the scraps from others’ successes, relying on chance and luck to scrape by.
How much time, staff, budget, and resources are dedicated to your core program work? How does this compare to the time and effort spent building your brand, honing your message, activating and nurturing your supporters , and building a digital-first culture?
To assume one should take precedence over the other is to misunderstand the importance of your digital platform, which — more and more — is your primary engagement channel with your supporters.
Undervaluing your digital platform is to be out of touch with our modern culture and will only hamper your ability to create real-world impact.
To use a sailboat analogy, think of your mission and vision as the rudder, your core program work as the hull, and your digital media platform as the sail itself, allowing you to turn chaotic energy into forward momentum, navigate rough seas, and make progress towards your destination. Without embracing a digital-first strategy, your organization is at the mercy of the chaotic conditions of the seas, pushed around by torrents of energy outside your control and fighting to stay true to course.
The pre-information-era charity sees their digital platform as a burden that distracts their team and drains resources from their core work. The future-thinking social impact leader understands that their digital platform is the linchpin of their organization’s operations which multiplies their impact and grows their influence within the ecosystem.