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Local Charity and The Web - DAAT Interview

Posted by Dan White on July 7th 2010 in Social Media, Online Marketing

Optix Solutions are starting a series of interviews with our most respected clients for our blog. It’s great to have Devon Air Ambulance Trust on board as a leading local charity. We believe people will be interested in what they have to say about the internet. In particular Optix are interested in how the Charity Sector considers the internet relates to their business. We asked Sarah Burden, PR Manager for DAAT, if she would be so kind as to answer a few questions about the web and DAAT's charity website.

What is the name of your business and what do you do?

We are the Devon Air Ambulance Trust charity. We are a charity that raises funds to keep both of Devon’s two emergency Air Ambulances airborne.

When did you first have a website and what have been the most important developments in websites for you?

We’ve had a charity website for over 10 years. First of all it was very basic, but over the past 5+ years we have realised how essential it is, with the increase of supporters and potential supporters interacting and engaging online.

What have you found to be your biggest challenge in using the Internet?

It’s knowing what our visitors want to know and what they don’t. It’s enabling them to find this information quickly and easily. It’s also trying to keep visitors on your site once they are there. Of course there’s also a challenge with regard to time constraint because you could quite easily put all your eggs in one basket, and communicate just via the internet. Unless you are very careful you could spend a lot of time on social media and the internet, and then you are ignoring everyone else. It’s a very fine line.

What has been your greatest success through using the Internet?

I think this relates not only to the website but also social media. We are working with a website company who are extremely pro active and keep up to date with the latest trends which is really important. It’s essential to communicate with our supporters and potential supporters in the way that they want us to. Contact via social media ie twitter is immediate, meaning that we can build a relationship and engage/talk to as wide an audience as possible. One of the biggest benefits of this is an increase in people we have treated or airlifted getting in touch with us as patient confidentiality means we don’t know who they are unless they come forward.

How relevant is the Internet to your charity? Are there any synergies between your Charity and the Online Industry?

Communication via the internet and social media is a natural fit with the charity sector, its a great way to engage with new and existing audiences, its cost effective and the ideal tool for being accountable to the public who fund us.

What future Internet developments would you like to see?

As more and more people get online we could streamline more of our administration and save more money. eg, by enabling volunteers to do their monthly returns online, access documents, share information and advice.

What advice can you give about the Internet and working the charitable sector?

Research research research – but also give it a go. If you want to try social media set up your own account, before getting started with your business/charity, that way you will have already made the usual mistakes. Talk to others on the net, ask questions. With regard to websites, employing and engaging with a good website company is essential, and one that is up to date with all that is happening now, and the new initiatives in the future.

What do you like/dislike most about the Internet currently?

Fast access to information is a boon but this in turn creates further problems in terms of potential information overload and inaccurate or misleading information. You have to watch out for this.

Many thanks Sarah for taking part in the interview on behalf of DAAT

...and for being so complimentary. It's always good to hear positive feedback and everyone at Optix very much appreciates your comments. Your answers were really useful and informative. We wish you the best of luck for with your website and social media strategy, and we're sure many people will join us in thanking you for all the great work DAAT do.

Visit the Devon Air Ambulance Trust Website

www.daat.org
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