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Tips & guides 4,384 views Jan 28, 2016
Talking to Supporters in a Digital Age

Corrine Heaney loves all things digital. Currently completing her masters in Digital Media Communications at Ulster University. Media and Communications Manager for Save the Children Northern Ireland  |

Technology has changed how we communicate. As it continues to evolve, how do we keep track of where are supporters are and what they are using?

If you have big budgets you can pay for analysis of market trends and even employ an agency to pick out the very statistics you need but for smaller organisations, especially charities there just isn’t the money to pay for it.

So how do you keep up to date with what media your supporters are using and find the most effective ways of communicating to them?

The Communications Market Report is one useful FREE tool produced by OFCOM annually across the UK, with breakdowns for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

It gives you the headline figures with useful summaries alongside the detailed report and analysis. So what does it tell us for the year ahead?

‘The UK is now a “smartphone society”.

Something that probably doesn’t come as a surprise, but did you know our mobile phones have now become more popular than our laptop when it comes to getting online? This means your organisation needs to think about the information you are putting online.

It looks different on a mobile or tablet compared to desktop, you need to focus on content with a smaller screen in mind. Whether that is on your website or on social media and the tailored apps they use. Be clear and consistent across the platforms and use relevant images as this increases engagement.

The OFCOM Communications Market Report also covers TV, radio, telecoms and post which you can use to compare with online use. Adults spent on average nearly two hours online using a smartphone each day, but TV still takes up most of our time with 3 hours and 40 minutes a day.

National differences

  • In terms of the nations, the report tells us Scotland is becoming ‘more connected.’ 2014 saw the Scots “taking up smartphones at a faster rate than any other UK nation.” And by 2015 they are the most popular device for getting online and Scots have a higher than UK average for use of 4G service so they are using their phones on the move.
  • Wales is leading the way in broadband connection. With significant investment, through government partnership, Wales now has the highest availability of superfast broadband of any of the devolved nations.
  • In Northern Ireland, people spend the most time online, “up from 13.8 hours a week to 21.6 hours a week. This is above the UK average and highest of the four UK nations.”


Linking together information from this report alongside your organisation's statistics on supporters and engagements it can help provide a clearer picture on where and how you should be communicating with your supporters.


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