Expanding Our Online Presence
The science surrounding online communication is rich and complex - and can often appear at odds with the urgency and simplicity of the message we want to share. Terms such as ‘engagement’ and ‘reach’ may seem far removed from the reality of humanitarian work - but the online media sphere is of critical importance to War Child’s mission.
The 2019 Global NGO Technology Report - produced by non-profit organisation Tech for Good - confirmed just how vitally important the digital sphere is for humanitarian organisations such as War Child. The report found that 94 per cent of international NGOs agree that social networking platforms are effective for creating online brand awareness - and increased support for their work.
And as the nature of our work grows in scale and density - and we face challenges in everything from access to communication issues - the way we use our online platforms is more important than ever. 2019 saw us carry this thinking forward - and make significant steps towards harnessing the full potential of the digital domain.
Three New and Improved Websites
The year was marked by the roll-out of three new and improved websites - targeted at both our Dutch and international audiences. In line with our wider organisational strategy, our key goal was to use our channels to strengthen War Child’s positioning as the international networked expert in psychosocial support - and, by doing so, expand our professional network.
The launch of our revised English language www.warchildholland.org website saw our total number of unique visitors increase by nearly 20 per cent from 75,000 in 2018 to 85,500 by the end of 2019. By adopting a mobile-first SEO-driven approach - steered by a complete overhaul of everything from website navigation features to our News section content - we welcomed 213,000 page views by the close of the year and significantly transformed our ability to showcase our expertise.
The year also saw us take the decision to separate our Dutch website into two platforms - to improve usability and relevance for our Dutch audiences on www.warchild.nl, and better manage all fundraising actions for War Child in the Netherlands on www.voorwarchild.nl. This supported the launch of both new and returning fundraising activities over the course of 2019 and saw our income from these activities sour to €9.9 million. Overall traffic on our fundraising platform nearly doubled in the first half of the year to reach over 102,000 page views by September. You can learn more about this in the Where our Funds Come From chapter of this report.
Tailored Content on Social Media
We also developed our presence on the four leading social media platforms - Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram - by tailoring our content on each platform to specific audiences.
LinkedIn was our leading vehicle in this. And - by sharing latest work through vivid testimonies and in-depth research articles and increasing the regularity of our posts - War Child’s international follower-base grew by 3,000 to reach a total of 13,800 by the end of the year.
Twitter also played a leading role. The year saw us work proactively to join the public debate and engage with the Dutch market - spanning press, media and government policymakers. This saw us dramatically increase our global following - and led to the decision to transfer both our Twitter and LinkedIn accounts to English.
Every day, we witness the immense strength of children - their ability to fight back against adversity never ceases to amaze us. But do these stories - the faces and places - always make it to the world? The year saw us renew our efforts to see the voices of children and youth take centre stage across our websites and social media platforms. Video content was a key driver of these efforts.
On Instagram we led with our emotions - letting the children we work with share their stories. And we went to the heart of the story to bring these narratives home - strengthening our collaboration with freelance photographers and videographers as well as staff on the ground to gather meaningful digital content.
Facebook was our main channel for sharing and inspiring fundraising actions by our Dutch follower-base.
Humanitarian work focuses on responding to emergency situations in the immediate aftermath of a crisis - and making that work instantly available to audiences back home. In 2020 - with the fresh challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic and the global NGO sector under increased scrutiny - digital will play a heightened role in everything we do. Our digital strategy will evolve to meet these demands.