Sep 10 - 3min readCharity Apps: Making Digital Products a Key Part of Your StrategyBy Jennifer Green
With the pressures that have come to the surface owing to COVID-19, many charities and charitable organisations have had to pivot to online service delivery which we discussed a few months ago to continue to provide their vital services. Now that we are still seeking out a ‘new normal’ amongst the chaos, charity leaders are examining how they can develop their online and digital presence to progress and thrive through the pandemic.
A digital product can be an effective to connect your charity’s services to its users, build communities and make services more readily available to your users. They can act as part of online charity campaigns, driving growth and engagement. An app can provide detailed insights into the key needs of your beneficiaries and create an online service that responds to them directly. An app can be an amazing way to connect with your charity’s service users and build strong communities. However, this is not to suggest that an app is a quick fix solution to the needs of your service users. A considerable amount of time, planning and research is needed if you want to create accessibility that is both impactful and useful.
So,What Makes a Successful Charity Digital Product?
The most successful charity products are identifying a need and building around this in a way that is convenient and engaging for their service users. These apps often answer more than simply the primary need. They need to provide a space where users can obtain information, connect with the organisation and feel they have gained value from the interaction.
Finding out what your service users need and how they want to receive it is key to developing a successful charity app. You want the user to feel that this product is empowering, enriching, and easy to use.
It’s crucial to never lose sight of who your targeted users are. If you are targeting a younger demographic, you want your product’s user interface to reflect the expectations that come along with the demographic. However, if your user demographic is among the digitally excluded, it’s important to factor in functionality and accessibility into the design. Ensuring the product meets the accessibility standards of your users is crucial, as is considering factors such as data poverty and the level of digital literacy of your user’s base.
An example of a product that we can look at is our work with The London Village Network (LVN). The London Village Network is a charity dedicated to tackling network poverty and social inequality. We partnered with LVN to deliver a mobile application, connecting 16-24 year olds to volunteers and a world of opportunities. LVN was set up with the aim of asking professionals to offer one hour of their time to inspire young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and living in deprived communities. The charity’s mentorship programme features a diverse community of volunteers committed to providing all support available.
At Borne, we worked with LVN to develop a mobile app, aiming to tackle the product strategy alongside business-critical objectives. Our key insights found that youth groups had strong interests in specific industries but felt overwhelmed by the number of industries available. In contrast, volunteers were concerned they may not have the expertise or suitability to mentor young people. Their mentorship programme features 300+ volunteers that young people have access to from various sectors and industries. They also needed to create engagement and attendance within events, opportunities and apprenticeships that the LVN community had to offer. The app’s core functions provided a supportive tool for youth, volunteer and youth worker registration. We developed a lean product flow, tailoring content and search features to match young people with the right opportunities and professionals in their local area.
Another great example is the BrainWalk. BrainWalk was originally created as part of a World Encephalitis Day campaign. The app aims to create a community of people who have suffered or are still suffering from Encephalitis, a life-threatening brain condition. It encourages users to complete brain-stimulating games and activities on the app, go for step-counted walks monitored by the app and connect with one another via a social media-style newsfeed. Incorporating digital products into your charity’s strategy is the way forward to get through this pandemic by building communities and making services readily available to your users. Integrating digital products into your online charity campaigns that promotes accessibility and channelling growth and engagement for your charity will result in cementing a stable future moving forward through the digital transformation.
Got an idea you would like to discuss with us on a digital product for your charity?
Get in touch with our team and we’ll be in touch to make it happen.