The assignment focuses on IFN702 Project 2 – Project Plan- for a development project &determine digital channel strategy

Home, - IFN702 Project 2 – Project Plan

IFN702 Project 2 – Project Plan

Digital channel strategy in community and not-for-profit organisations

1              Introduction


This document is a proposal for a development project. The project will study digital channels which are currently used in the community and not-for-profit organisations and determine effective digital channel strategies. Based on the finding, a checklist will be generated for the community and non-profit sector more generally to assess their current state of their digital channel strategy. This checklist will be employed to the project industry partner: Forester Group to conduct a situation analysis and then provide a set of recommendations for identifying how to establish an effective digital channel strategy.



Project Background


With the development of new technologies, such as social media and mobile Internet, most organisations are facing a revolution in the way of customer interaction. These technology-based communication methods are labelled as digital channels. Digital channels provide customers with a handy way to express their opinions, which brings benefits for companies. Firms can understand their customer needs and promote their products or service efficiently through digital channels (Straker, Wrigley, & Rosemann, 2015). In other words, the importance of digital channels is not only providing transactions which automate and substitute physical resources for digital, but allowing closely interaction between organisation and its customers (McDonald, 2012). As the result of this, using digital channels successfully can enhance the customer satisfaction and improve the business efficiency. Hence, it is essential for organisations to understand how to use digital channels effectively. However, scholars as well as practitioners are still unsure and are seeking how to apply digital channels to engage customers (Straker et al., 2015). In order to utilise digital channels successfully, organisations need to have digital channel strategy.



Digital channel strategy in this context is a direction, sequencing of resources and commitment to utilise digital channels, which not only focuses on automating and substituting physical resources into digital transactions but emphasises communication and interaction with their customers through multiple channels. In other words, it looks specifically at how the organisation can build its online presence and communicate effectively with its customers. Digital channel strategy provides clear operational guidelines


for individual channels and also ensures that the individual channels are also consistent and align with broader organisational aims and objectives ("DEVELOPING A COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY," 2016; McDonald, 2012, 2015; Rowley & Edmundson-Bird, 2013; Straker et al., 2015).



As mentioned previously, digital channel strategy is essential for organisations, not only for commercial sector but also the community and not for profit sector. Since digital technology has transformed the commercial world and has also changed the business model in community and non-for-profit organisations. According to the President and Founder of hjc ( an organisation in Canada, which has been helping charities and non-profits maximize their fundraising potential), Johnston (2016, p. 5), “The digital environment is key to the success of all non-profit organizations in the 21st century. Digital is expected to find and engage supporters cheaply; nurture them more efficiently; and deliver mission more effectively.” Hence, digital channel strategy also plays a vital role for community organisations.



Problem Statement


Most community organisations have insufficient resources, budget and time. According to a report by NTEN, an organisation of non-profit technology professionals, most on-profit organisations do not have any staff dedicated to digital channel strategy due to budget and capacity constraints (2015 Digital Outlook Report, 2015). Hence, with limited resources, how to efficiently leverage the power of the digital channels to make the world a better place is a significant challenge for community or non-profit organisations. They have the needs to understand how to utilise individual channels and also the needs to ensure that the individual channels are also consistent with each other and aligned the business aims and objectives.



Project Context


This project will investigate current digital channels used through a literature review and determine what constitutes the digital strategy that provides effective results for community and non-profit organisations. Against the findings, this project will analyse the current digital channel strategy state of the industry partner: Foresters Group. Based on the findings and analysis, this project will provide a series of


recommendations that will assist in the formation of strategy for Foresters Group.




The outcomes of this project will be a framework of effective digital channel strategy establishment for community organisations and a series of recommendations for how to establish an effective digital channel strategy, along with other elements that need to be taken into consideration. It is expected that this project result will be of interest to organisations in the non-government and community sector.



Industry Partner: Foresters Group


Foresters Group is a not for profit social business. They provide microfinance to the financially excluded and also manage funds for impact investors that lend out to social enterprises for a community, cultural or environmental benefit ("Foresters Group," 2016). Like most community organisations and non-profit organisations, they lack awareness and have insufficient marketing resources. They understand the importance of digital channels and believe digital channels are an effective way to increase awareness and engage customers. Hence, they require a proper strategy to utilise digital channels.



The rest of this document is structured as follows. Section 2 demonstrates project overview which includes purpose, objectives and target deliverables. The subsequent section, section 3, provides the significance of the project. Then details of the research methodology and project approach are thoroughly illustrated in Section 4 and Section 5. In Section 6, we provide the result of risk assessment. Finally, the Ethics section states the ethical considerations of this project.




2              Project Overview


This section defines the project statement, key aims and outlines the intended deliverables throughout the project execution.


2.1          Project Purpose


The purpose of this project is to investigate current initiatives and practice of digital channels strategy in the field and find out an effective practice strategy for digital channels that is suited to organisations in the non-government and community sector more generally. In addition, this project will analyse the current situation of a community financial services company, Foresters Group. Based on the analysis and the findings, the recommendation of the future digital channels strategy development that fits the needs of Foresters Group will be provided.



2.2          Project Objectives


The project objectives are developed based on two research questions listed as below:


?             What forms of digital channel strategy are effective for community and non-profit organisations?


?             How can Foresters Group use these insights to formulate an online strategy?




More specifically the aim of this project is to examine the practical field and existing research to determine:


1.            What kinds of digital channels are currently being used by community organisations;


2.            How these channels are being utilized, managed and governed, which is not only to provide clear operational guidelines for individual channels and also to ensure that the individual channels are consistent with broader organisational aims and objectives , such as consistent voice across the various channels ;

3.            For Foresters Group, how to establish a suitable digital channel strategy and what considerations there are in terms of its content, roles and staffing, policies, resources, implementation.




2.3          Target Deliverables


The final deliverables are described as below:


?             A literature review of effective digital channel strategies used in the community and not-for-profit sectors. This would be a generalised framework of digital channel strategy which is suited to


organisations in the non-government and community sector. In addition, the finding will be further employed to develop the checklist for situation analysis.

?             A checklist, which is developed from literature review, enabling a community organisation to benchmark or assess the current state of their digital channel strategy against those strategies considered / demonstrated to provide effective results for other community and not-for profit organisations. In other word, this will enable to conduct the situation analysis in this project and can be used repeatedly in future research. Based on this, the project student can make a series of recommendations for Foresters group.

?             A set of recommendations for Foresters Group, identifying how to establish an effective digital channel strategy. This may be a roadmap of building a digital channel strategy.


3              Significance


This project has considerable implications toward general community organisations and may also be relevant to non-profit organisations and charity groups.



The literature review and checklist would be useful to all community organisations. Since the literature review will broadly explore existing initiatives used in the community and not-for-profit sectors and identify an effective digital strategy, the findings will be relevant for organisations in the non-government and community sector more generally. In addition, the checklist will be used to assess the current state of digital channel strategy in the organisation; this is also useful for any community organisations for self-assessment to further digital strategy establishment.



The recommendations will be particularly useful to Foresters Group, because this is based on the situation analysis of them.


4              Project Approach


4.1          Research Methodology


5              In order to answer the research question and provide the recommendation for the industry partner, this project will conduct two research approaches: literature review and situation analysis. From the literature review, the project student will survey the existing research articles and practical reports and then identify what forms of digital channel strategy are effective for community and non-profit organisations. In addition, through the literature review, we will also develop a checklist for following situation analysis. The purpose of situation analysis is gaining the understanding of current situation of research target, including examining the internal and external environments of the organisation to get the insight of the organisation’s capabilities, customers and competitors. The situation analysis is an important step to provide the information for marketing planning (Ramsaran-Fowdar, Radel, & Wong, 2011). This project will use the checklist as the basis for assessing Foresters Group. On the basis of these findings, a series of recommendation on how to establish a strategy will be provided to Foresters Group, along with other variables that were taken into consideration. Project Plan


5.1          Project Management Approach


The project will be managed by Atern DSDM Agile project management method. Atern employs interactive development, frequent delivery and closely engaging project team and stakeholders, these approaches can optimise the solution and control risk. The incremental development enables change during the developing processes and will provide a fit for purpose solution by continuous communication and constructive feedback (Agile project management, 2014). The selected method is suitable for this project, since it meets the following requirement:

?             Limited time: target deliverables need to be delivered in remaining 8 weeks. Agile adopts a timebox method to ensure the product being delivered in time by keeping the time variable locked down.

?             Quality control: in order to deliver the product in time without compromising the quality, the project student needs to receive feedback frequently.

5.2          Project Timeline


The feasibility & foundation phase have already been completed in Weeks 1-4.. In these phases, the project team has been setup, including project student, academic supervisor and industry supervisor. A baseline of the high-level requirements for the project has also been established. The following project timetable (weeks 5-13) will be divided in to 2 increments, each having a duration of 4 weeks. Each increment will include 3 timebox (TB) and 1 deploy, the remaining 2 weeks will be devoted to the final report.


1              Ethics

There are no ethical issues relating to this project. As the project will not conduct any human research, which will only analyse the current situation of Foresters Group, no application for ethics clearance needs to be made. However, we still lodged the project to QUT Office of Research Ethics and Integrity to get the ethic exemption. This exemption was granted on 9 August, 2016.

Leave a comment


Related :-