FACT: In the UK there is an increased trend in online giving, with a staggering £2.4 billion in donations made via websites, social media and apps. This is a 12.1% increase in 2017 over 2016. These donations now account for £26 in every £100 given.

Hence, to benefit from this increasing drift to online giving, charities and not-for-profit organisations must include digital channels as part of integrated campaigns designed to raise brand awareness, secure donations, attract new support and give people the tools and motivation to get involved.

Adults in the UK spent an average of nearly 32 minutes per day watching digital video on a mobile device in 2017, up 13.5% year-on-year. So, with 85% of the UK wedded to smartphones, it’s no surprise that social media consumption is at an all-time high.

Combine these two facts and the conclusion is simple: there has never been a better time for charities to tell their story on ground-breaking digital platforms and, in the process of doing so, forge powerful, emotional connections with their target audience.

The importance of storytelling:

Consider Virtual Reality - the ultimate empathy machine. It offers a highly personal environment, transporting the user to unique situations where they can interact to a lesser or greater extent. Consequently, it is ideal for increasing compassion and driving engagement by allowing users to visualise why their support is needed and the difference their donation will make.

But VR is by no means the only immersive or visually emotive channel available to charities. Facebook Canvas ads enable viewers to scroll through multiple images and videos in a succinct narrative. Similarly, online videos are eye-catching, effective, and they stimulate viewers in ways that are impossible to do with text. And finally, by using a visual platform like Instagram, charities can stimulate conversation and comment back directly with their followers - creating personal connections between potential advocates and their cause.

With so many digital options available, the key is to have a great (and memorable) story - cleverly portrayed by thought-provoking images and authentic messaging. This way you’ll pique people’s interest, make them curious and get them donating, sharing, calling and clicking more often.

So, maybe it’s time to change your approach and put story-telling at the very heart of your marketing plan?

Next week I’m talking about this and more at Fundraising Week. On the agenda are insights and ideas, as well the best digital channels for producing a successful charity marketing plan. To reserve your place, please use the following link: http://www.fundraisingweek.co.uk/conference/prices/

Written by Accord's Digital Director, David Taylor.