Let me get to the point – you will never have enough people in your digital team to do everything your charity needs to do digitally. There will always be something you don’t know and something that blows your ‘to do’ list out of the water.
So how do you get enough digital resource?
I completely advocate a hub and spoke model where shared ownership for delivery of digital activity sits across the entire organisation. This is enabled by a central digital team who develop and oversee a framework (tools, guides, training, processes etc) that empowers the whole organisation, a team who are able to drive a digital strategy and also trend spot for the next big thing. At times of course the central team will still have to knuckle down and deliver too.
So it’s rather convenient that my new role of Head of Digital Engagement for UNICEF UK comes with a recently formed and aptly named Digital hub team!
What are the benefits?
Spreading the work is of course the most obvious benefit but there’s a few others worth highlighting:
- Subject matter experts become closer to the audience meaning more authenticity, more accuracy and more timeliness.
- The whole organisation starts to think about digital as an embedded need, rather than an add-on which is rushed at the last moment.
- Career development, lets face it everyone will need to know their digital stuff or risk being overtaken by digital natives who are joining the workforce.
- Ideas, ideas, ideas. Fresh perspectives are the melting pot that generates new ideas. The more ‘spokes’ the more perspectives.
- Cost efficiencies. Firstly there will be fewer middle men, less briefing more doing, a shorter chain of requests for delivery. Secondly, technology is addictive, once someone knows how make something easier with technology they’ll look for other things they can do this with, the digital bug can spread to internal working practices.
How do you achieve this model?
It can take a while to get this mindset and way of working spread through an organisation. After my three years at British Heart Foundation I think we were there with some teams and activities but still had work to do in to do in some areas. Getting there was a mixture of tactical development of the framework/s and individual confidence and skills, accompanied with strategic re-enforcement, sharing successes, learning and painting a picture of the future.
Of course there are pitfalls of this model. But I’m not sure any is significant enough to persuade me that the hub and spoke model isn’t what every organisation should be striving for. If you think I’m wrong – you know where the comments box is 🙂