How to overcome digital challenges facing the youth sector

The Mix Staff

The line between digital and IRL (in-real-life) is converging, which has a profound effect on a number of industries, especially the youth sector and their audience of digital natives who don’t acknowledge the difference between online and offline.

That’s why our digital-first service supporting young people with any issue they’re going through is so important in ensuring that under 25s get the information they need to make great choices.

However, there are still many challenges and obstacles to overcome in a digital world. Including issues around fundraising, branding and new GDPR rules altering the landscape of digital marketing. So we spoke to industry-leading professionals across the organisation about the challenges they face in a digital world.

Challenges facing digital charities 

Chris Martin – CEO of The Mix

“One of the main challenges we face is keeping up with pace of change of technology.”

Working in an industry which constantly advances and develops also means a need for regular equipment upgrades to keep up with the everchanging technology required. Staying up to date is financially challenging, especially for a Charity working solely on funding. This puts extra pressure on Business Development and Corporate Partnerships. It’s important to financially plan for changes and necessary updates on tech and resources.

One progression I would like to happen is for funding to be directed towards teams/work forces, rather than projects.

Currently, through corporate partnerships and business development, most charities are funded through certain campaigns that they may be running or planning to implement. This could be set up on a 3-year funding plan from corporate sponsors. However, the issue with this lies in an ever-changing society. Plans for 3 years ahead may be relevant at the time, but 3 years later, the strategies and campaigns that have been funded for may no longer be appropriate.

Instead, gaining funding for a dedicated team of workers, with the relevant skills and attributes would be much more efficient and effective.”

Reaching outside the organisation

Will Mason-Jebb – Business Development Manager at The Mix

“In terms of brand awareness there is huge competition for partnerships with very well recognised and understood Charities. Competing in a staff vote for a Charity of the Year partnership with [Larger Charities] is very difficult. 

There is also an issue when it comes to transparency. Creating a clear understanding on why staff involvement and fundraising needs to be backed up with financial support and resource to drive partnership activities is important. Corporates are often happy to promote our volunteering opportunities but we need financial support to deliver this (and ensure that their volunteering makes a genuine impact).”


Alex Hopley – Digital Marketing Officer at The Mix

“When you think GDPR you immediately think about newsletters when you work in digital marketing but there’s more to it than that. Complying with GDPR comes first but we should go further and ask ourselves how would you want your data to be treated? It’s important to get your house in order. Look at what consent you have, how you’re tracking it, and then analyse whether that consent is appropriate for that particular digital marketing purpose. Even if you think you’re doing the right thing, you still need to analyse what you have and record your processes so that if you weren’t around someone could pick up where you left off, safe in the knowledge that they have all the information they need to make informed choices around the use of data.”

Making brand noise

Zoë Bailie – Director of Brand & Innovation

“Launching The Mix as a new brand over the last two years has been particularly challenging against an increasingly noisy digital environment. An environment which is in competition with The Mix services, and where young people could be vulnerable, and accessing information that might not deliver the accurate information or support that they need.

What we’ve tried to do is encourage The Mix into a unique digital space, where we are creating something useful to young people. Building trust through a brand developed by young people for young people, and a safe place where they feel confident to contribute to The Mix content, to share amongst their peers and to engage with the support services if needed.

The Mix is now moving confidently into being in a digital space that is easily accessible and relevant for young people. We are harnessing existing online social activity, communities and movements that can contribute to our understanding of issues that young people are facing and in turn remain useful and appealing.

However, The Mix will only be successful if it is continually evolving – respecting the swift change of pace that young people demand from digital information, support and their online communities.”


Written by Marketing and Outreach Officer, Michael Wei-Qian.


Published on 20-Mar-2018