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Five Insights for Engaging Dads Effectively Through Digital Channels

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Jan 3, 2023

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If you’re like a lot of professionals serving dads, you’ve probably dabbled in or fully embraced the delivery of programs and services through digital engagement (e.g. virtual delivery of a fatherhood program).

To further help your effort in this area, download and read the State of Nonprofit Digital Engagement Report 2022. Published by the nonprofit-serving Twilio.org, the report provides the following insights into the rapid rise in nonprofits’ use of digital channels to engage those they serve, particularly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic:

  1. Nonprofits outpace the private sector in digital engagement. Nonprofits use digital channels to tackle some of world’s largest problems.
  2. Digital communications are key to improving program outcomes. Innovation in digital aspects of programming shows no signs of slowing. Program participants see numerous benefits from digital communication.
  3. Developers are the secret sauce for digital leaders. Unfortunately, nonprofits lack these developers. More are needed to maximize program impact.
  4. Program participants feel the personalization gap. Nonprofits can increase program impact by customizing digital communication to participants’ needs and preferences.
  5. Several segments pull ahead in digital maturity. The human services segment is one of four in the nonprofit space taking a leadership position.

Use these insights—gleaned from Twilio.org’s interviews with 800 nonprofit employees and 1,500 nonprofit program participants—to launch, maintain, and improve your digital engagement effort. (No doubt that Twilio.org would love to help!*)

I was particularly surprised and intrigued by the first insight. More nonprofits use digital channels to engage their program participants than business-to-consumer for profits use such channels to engage their customers (65 percent and 55 percent, respectively). Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised, however. Since the start of the pandemic, many partners of National Fatherhood Initiative® (NFI) have leapt with both feet into the waters of digital engagement. (For examples, read these Championing Fatherhood blog articles.)

How has NFI leveraged these insights?

To help improve the outcomes of fatherhood programs, we’ve come alongside our human-service partners to build their capacity in digital engagement. To learn about effective digital engagement, we’ve researched our partners’ use of digital channels and gathered insights from the research of others in human services. (For an example of this capacity building, download 8 Steps to the Delivery of NFI Programs Virtually…and Successfully.) We’ve also engaged developers to improve our digital resources, such as our online, on-demand Fathering in 15™ program. (Read these blog articles to learn more about how some of our partners use this unique program to scale their impact.) We personalize digital communication for our partners and potential partners so that we send information and content that will best assist them. When someone fills out a form to access one or our free ebooks, for example, we ask for their organization type (e.g. corrections, school, pregnancy center, community action agency, etc.). This request allows us to customize follow-up emails with content that best meets the needs of their organization and the type(s) of dads they serve.  We're also working on a "customer journey map" to better understand the path people take to researching, selecting, and acquiring fatherhood programs and resources. The results will allow us to further personalize digital communication for our partners and potential partners. 

It’s gratifying to know that NFI is leading in the use of digital channels to build capacity in father engagement and that many of our partners are doing the same to engage dads effectively.

Has your organization leapt into the waters of digital engagement? If not, what’s stopped you?

How can your organization use the insights in the report to engage dads more effectively?

* NFI will not receive compensation in any form for highlighting this report. NFI does not partner with Twilio.org in any capacity.

Learn more about the Father Engagement Academy by National Fatherhood Initiative


Topics: Featured, General Fatherhood Program Resources, NFI-Specific Programs & Resources, General Fatherhood Research & Studies

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