Reaching Out To Stakeholders
Organisations seeking to reach out to stakeholders are at a crossroads. While 7.7 million household, or around 83% of all households have access to the internet, there remains 1.3 million households choosing to not have access. Around 50% of those surveyed without access to the internet indicating they didn't see a need to do so. If we assume an average of three people per household, these figures suggest around 4 million or almost 20% of the Australian population do not have access to the internet in their home.
People with lower education and those that are unemployed at less likely to access the internet.
With around 20% of Australia's population not accessing the internet on a regular basis you cannot assume those messages within your website, blog and social media are being read. Would you be concerned if you discovered 20% of stakeholders weren't able to receive your messages?
Not-for-profit organisations have a responsibility to understand both the needs of stakeholders, along with those limiting factors. In this way you can tailor both the message and the channel to reach the highest number of stakeholders. It may not be enough to understand the demographics. You may need to engage with stakeholders, explain how they may benefit from their use of online tools; even helping them engage online.
There has been a general feeling in the past that having your online communications managed by someone in admin or a volunteer was sufficient. This may not be appropriate any longer. There is a significant difference between utilising digital tools to foster personal friendships and using them to develop professional business relationships. The sheer variety of digital channels, their pros and cons and effectiveness must be understood to help with informed decisions. We are rapidly moving past the point where ad hoc online communications are acceptable. Increasingly there is a a call for organisations to develop and implement a digital strategy that is aligned to their overall business goals. Often this requires external advice.
Equally as importantly, if 20% of stakeholders are not online, then your digital strategy must align with your offline marketing and communications to ensure you reach your entire audience.
Don't be fooled into thinking this just a communication issue. Digital media is gaining strength as a marketing tool, for stakeholder communications, for sharing your stories and for gaining donations. If you are responsible for effective operations in your organisation then you need to either have a good understanding of the digital environment or be able to access that understanding and knowledge as you need it.