Our society is undergoing a shift to a digital infrastructure. Nonprofit organizations of all kinds need to make the shift as well.
Shifts can be mindful and organic. Or they can be disruptive and damaging. They can redistribute power more equally. Or they can make power more remote and unaccountable.
The shift to digital is not just technological, it’s also social. Digital changes how we work, how we connect, teach and learn. It affords us powerful new ways to tell our story and to create social force behind our ideas, our values and our demands.
It helps to think of digital as an opportunity rather than a burden. Think of it as an invitation to build your capacity while telling your story – and an invitation to tell your story while building your capacity.
We can’t build capacity by contracting out our digital publishing and engagement.
Organizations prosper when we build in and build up. Here’s the opportunity: to foster the digital skills of people across your organization. To create a learning culture where the development of new skills is balanced with human wisdom, connection and heart. And to encourage people to work collaboratively. Digital all but begs us to.
Collaboration. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. Err on the side of inclusion.
Of course, needs, goals and strategies differ from group to group. Whatever your organization’s level of digital development, it is fruitful to have a conversation about digital – an open conversation.
Going digital means more than just going with the times. It’s about being able to teach and share and connect with people in the digital ways in which they are becoming accustomed to learning and engaging and connecting. It’s about being – and remaining – relevant to our members, to the public and to decision-makers.
It’s more than being “on” social media. It’s about your organization being a digital publisher of diverse, useful, informative or entertaining content in an ongoing and fluid way.
In other words, you’re not just an organization anymore. You’re also a publisher. And you’re evolving as both.
Going digital is also about creating organizational cultures that are connected, conversational, collaborative and creative. Where your people learn new skills and new ways to do things. Where they share their gifts, follow their passions and contribute to the telling of your organizational story.
If nothing else, our world today is awash in digital storytelling.
Nonprofits gotta compete.
Where do we start?