2.4.3 Design digital engagement strategies that match program goals and existing resources

Youth-serving organizations are increasingly looking to technology to help them engage more young people, especially those who use the Internet on a daily basis. Digital engagement offers significant promise in linking young people to e-mentors, creating global dialogue between youth about enterprise development, and providing forums for young entrepreneurs to express themselves and share learning directly.

Most digital engagement strategies start with big dreams and good intentions yet budget and time constraints may jeopardize their full realization.

Practical Tips: Ashoka on Designing a Digital Engagement Strategy

Ashoka, a global organization that identifies and invests in leading social entrepreneurs, offered the following tips when designing a global digital engagement strategy.

  • Make sure you have organizational buy-in and investment in the success of your digital strategy, just as your organization would with other programs. Make sure at least 10 percent of your budget is allotted towards expanding, building, and/or repairing your digital assets.
  • Make a your digital strategy a long-term priority by appropriately budgeting for the following four items: 1) building the initial digital asset, 2) sustaining the asset (reviewing quarterly), 3) updating the asset (at least 1-2 times a year), and 4) having the appropriate human capital (staff) to manage, implement, and update the project accordingly. In short, the easiest part of building a new digital asset is the initial build; the hard part is making it work and adapting the product to fit what your customers need.
  • Test your initial technology/digital ideas without spending money on technology. The Lean Startup, by Eric Ries, is a great book to learn about how to test early assumptions about your strategy before you spend a lot of money on building a product that might not be well received by the intended audience. See: http://theleanstartup.com/principles
  • Fail forward and start small. Don’t plan, constantly adapt, and evaluate. Test engagement ideas online with new and old digital assets while constantly recording user feedback and suggestions to incorporate into the next version of the product.
  • Gamification! Using gaming elements, such as points, levels, status, and rewards in your digital strategy, is a great way to engage youth online. See: www.gamesforchange.org

For more information about Ashoka, see https://www.ashoka.org/international.