On Episode 454 of the Waves of Tech, we are joined by Fay Schofield. We are talking about using technology for good and technology in the non-profit sector. Fay shares her experience in the industry and shares her valuable insights into the role social media plays into organizational agendas, how risk is being taken, and whether experimentation is embraced by others in the field. Challenges facing non-profits include incorporating online transacting for fundraising and diversifying communications methods for members. As an experienced social media strategist, Fay has learned over the years how to mobilize supporters, raise money, and move the media, the public, and decision makers to help nonprofits achieve real and lasting change.
Fay Schofield – Special Guest
This week, we are joined by Fay Schofield – an experienced communicator and social media strategist in the non-profit sector. Working in both leading digital agencies and global nonprofits over the past 10 years has allowed her to develop the ability to deliver cutting-edge campaigns, grow loyal online audiences, and raise vital awareness for nonprofits. Her past work includes advocacy and social media specialization for Cruelty Free International and Brooke Action for Working Horses and Donkeys. She was involved with the Tech for Good Live podcast based in the United Kingdom which is all about championing the ethical use of tech through weekly podcasts and events in the UK.
Fay moved to the United States seven months ago and now works at M+R, a communication and advocacy consulting firm who help causes that inspire people to act. M+R works exclusively with nonprofits who are alleviating suffering, fighting for human rights and democracy, dismantling inequality, making art and knowledge accessible to everyone, and fostering a healthier and sustainable world by offering social media, advertising, media relations, digital organizing/fundraising/advocacy. Her role at M+R is social media working with clients to advise them on the best ways they can utilize their social media presence to achieve their goals – whether that’s fundraising, mobilizing their community for a specific cause, or raising awareness for their cause.
Nuances of the non-profit and charitable industry
With the ability to connect across with various agencies and employees via social media and networking, experimentation in the sector is growing and being accepted. Experimentation across various social media platforms is increasing where organizations are tinkering with video, live chat, sponsored content, payment systems, and more. More non-profits are accepting positions at the table alongside major tech giants discussing the use and implementation of technology. Organizations are learning the difference between online organizing and offline mobilization. And organizations are finding out what technology is out there and how it can be adapted to fit their specific needs. Essentially, employees and board members and executives are taking technology solutions that exist but used them in a capacity outside of the norm. As a whole the non-profit sector is taking new risks with and in technology, something that historical has not happened in the past.
Challenges facing charitable and non-profit organizations today
Increasingly diverse means of transacting online. Fay keeps tabs on what’s new and shares insights with clients and the wider industry. It’s all about adapting to various forms of payment and transaction – Apple Pay, Paypal, Venmo, Google Wallet, Bitcoin, Amazon Pay, Facebook Messenger Payments, and more. It’s hard to keep track of these and hard for NGOs to offer all of these options.
Increasingly diverse means of communicating with your audience. There are an incredible number of channels to communicate with people online now – website, email, social media, SMS, smart home devices/speakers, and more. Each one carries different audiences, requires a different approach, and it’s a lot to keep up with! One of the things M+R is doing is using data to find small cohorts of donors within your audience, then using marketing and advertising campaigns to get a message in front of their audience. Machine learning is arming charities with the ability identify audiences which lookalike.
Speaking from her experience of working in house, Facebook groups, Twitter chats, and podcasts for charity professionals can be a godsend because it connects organizations and their employees with people in the same boat and facing the same difficulties.
How technology and organizations are helping the industry
One issue which all non-profits are facing, no matter the size, is capacity – trying to do more with less, reaching their goals in an efficient and economical manner, and finding the specialized workforce to meet organization goals and objectives. This is where artificial intelligence (AI) and automation can come into play. AI and automation can help frees up staff to be able to be more creative and productive. Nonprofits have to be ready to be able to take advantage of this.
One thing technology has done is to make it easier for non-profits to find new audiences. The cost of getting your story in front of a million people is much more accessible now thanks to the lowering costs and expertise of digital marketing. That has also created challenges from a more competitive and crowded arena, of course, but it’s providing an avenue for strong, new, atypical non-profit organizations.