In our increasingly digital world, it can be nearly inevitable that even the best-intentioned and most impactful organizations may stumble on occasion. Things move quickly in the digital era and terminology, norms, and expectations change constantly. A Digital Advisory Board helps provide guidance and structure to how a nonprofit functions online.
The online presence is beyond just guiding the tone and feel of the nonprofit website; it can also include how the nonprofit interacts on social media sites from Instagram to LinkedIn, responds to anonymous comments on forums like Reddit or Glassdoor, or offers information for third party websites like Charity Navigator.
So what does the Digital Advisory Board do?
- They help to create norms and standards for how the organization will position itself online regardless of how the platforms change. For example, they can suggest that the digital position should always make the viewer feel like they have an ‘insider’ view into the work and mission, but they can also stipulate that a service recipient or client will never be shown on camera without their explicit permission and understanding.
- It creates an environment for many voices to shape the content while corralling it within larger organizational goals. For example, they might ask to what end does jumping on a new platform help fundraising goals? Is there a possible financial ROI or other benefit?
- They stay on top of a constantly evolving space by making determinations of where to allocate resources, how to engage viewers, and identify what compelling content.
So what makes a good Digital Advisory Board?
- It doesn’t only include millennials. For one, millennials aren’t the generation driving what’s of the moment anymore…it’s the Gen Z’ers! Similarly, it includes more mature individuals as well who are some of the fastest growing user base for many platforms.
- It defines what is off brand or inappropriate. For example, is the voice meant to make light and stay positive of otherwise heavy content? Or is it unwelcome content to incorporate some dark humor. There is a fine line between self-deprecating and being insensitive.
When should your nonprofit start a Digital Advisory Board? A launch such as a campaign provides the perfect opening, but other growth periods may also offer a welcome moment. Regardless of when you decide to launch this new Digital Advisory Board, your nonprofit should always be sure that it will be staffed appropriately by new staff or that it’s within the current staff member’s bandwidth.
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