The decorations have come down, the last of the turkey has been consumed and it’s time to unwrap those 2018 diaries. Here at Lightful, we’ve been thinking about what the new year holds for charities and social enterprises, and what trends we’ll see coming to the fore in 2018.

Find out what our digital trend predictions for 2018 are:

The robots are coming

Jennifer Rose, Community Manager

With the advances in technology that can be seen with Alexa, Cortana, Siri and Facebook Messenger, I think we can expect to see more widespread use amongst charities of conversational interfaces such as chatbots. When used well, chatbots allow organisations to interact with people more naturally, whether it be providing help and support or even taking donations. Check out UNICEF’s #KidsTakeOver to see it in action.

The technology to create your own chatbot is becoming more mainstream, and so I expect we’re going to see a lot more ‘bots’ popping up to allow charities to reach more people, more quickly, and in more places.

‘Thumb-stopping’ video content

Vinay Nair, CEO & Co-Founder

As newsfeeds and timelines get noisier and more negative, charities and social enterprises will step up to the challenge of getting their message heard by producing ‘thumb-stopping’ video content. Agency-produced content can be great — but user-generated video content, simply shot on a smartphone, is often the most authentic and engaging. Charities will be using video more and more to cut through the negativity and spread their positivity by getting those thumbs to stop scrolling and start watching.

Brands will become more purposeful

Nick Gold, Brand & Communications

In 2018, I think we will see brands becoming more purposeful and living their values. There will be less of the old-fashioned CSR (corporate social responsibility), and more building purpose into the very core of a brand. It will be evident in how they live, breathe and act. We will see lots of brands running similar initiatives to Patagonia’s Black Friday campaign in 2018 as consumers start to take more notice of the actions of a brand.

The future is transparent

Andrew Cross – Data, Insights & Compliance Lead

2018 will be the year that charities will start to make strides in rebuilding public trust through transparency. Some might adopt innovative approaches like Street League’s Impact Dashboard, where they display interactive tools for the public to use to understand how the charity operates whilst others will simply just improve how they communicate where donor’s money goes. With many organisations struggling with traditional fundraising methods and a saturated market, it will be interesting to see what innovative ideas might come about in 2018. Will virtual reality still be “king” for face to face fundraising? Whatever the future holds, it will surely be focused on transparency and impact.

Content will become more visual

Tereza Litsa, Social Media Manager

Visual content will become even more important in social media in 2018. Images, videos, GIFs, infographics can – and should – have a place in your social media strategy. Social platforms are also encouraging this trend with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter coming up with new creative ideas to highlight it. From Instagram Stories to Facebook Live and Twitter’s GIFs, they all seem to prefer the new focus on visualisation across feeds. This leads to numerous ways of creating appealing social campaigns that increase awareness, engagement and even donations.

What makes visual content powerful is the ability to create a memorable impression by providing information in an interesting way. As it becomes harder to grab someone’s attention in a busy social feed, images and videos can help an organisation stand out from the rest. Moreover, it makes it easier for their supporters to promote a message simply by sharing the visual content of a campaign. As for the challenge of available resources? Luckily it’s now easier than ever to create visual content.

So, we predict that 2018 will see a rise in charities using chat bots, creating more ‘thumb-stopping’ video, being more transparent and producing more visual content. Brands will also become more purposeful and really live their values. Do you have any predictions of your own? Tweet us at @Lightful.

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