1. Tailored support whoever and wherever you are
By embracing digital tools and methods, you’re no longer bound by location. Rather than matching users with a support worker based on their proximity, you assign users to the best individual for them, regardless of where they are in the world.
For example, a caseworker who’s part of the LGBTQ+ community might forge a more empathic connection and bring more expertise to support a homeless LGBTQ+ person. This caseworker might live 30 miles away and ordinarily be out of range. But by embracing tech, this no longer matters.
2. Bite-sized engagement over time
We all know the struggles of hour-long, face-to-face Zoom meetings, so it’s no surprise that these could be off-putting for some people in times of stress. Digital methods make it possible to have bite-sized engagement over time.
It may be easier for some users to open up by talking to somebody over text or by swapping audio messages than face-to-face, receiving slower, more long-term support. Alternatives like this also allow support workers to help even more people and benefit from greater flexibility across their schedules, too.
3. Bringing new peer-to-peer groups together
Support groups have the potential to be even more valuable by bringing together a greater number of people. These people with similar experiences, who could benefit from opening up and sharing with one another, might not have attended a face-to-face group together. This might have been down to their working hours, conflicting schedules, or location. With more flexibility in who they can meet with, there’s a greater chance of people finding a valuable fit with the people they’re talking to.
4. Immediacy of feedback
No matter the industry, a regular feedback loop encourages improvement and allows us to gauge the true impact of what we’re doing. Without this, we’re left hoping we’ve made a difference but with no concrete evidence to prove it.
An example of this within a charity would be with a listening helpline. A helper might take a crisis call, provide support, but then never hear from the caller again. With digital services, you can automate an anonymous feedback process through a messaging service or Google Form. This allows you to get a handle on the impact of your service and how it’s being felt and understood by the people who use it. It encourages reflection on how to improve and do better next time.