Public trust is a major issue, whatever sector you are in. The 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer shows that globally only 57% of people trust NGOs to do what is right – only slightly more than business at 56%. This is worrying for a sector that exists to care for some of the world’s most vulnerable people, as well as demoralising for the teams who are working hard to make a difference. The good news is that the Barometer also reveals a real opportunity for charities to build trust.
While levels of trust are low across the board, the Barometer demonstrates an urgent desire for change, engagement, and action. High profile cases of charities breaking the rules inevitably lead to scrutiny from both the public and regulators, but this scrutiny should be seen as an opportunity to demonstrate transparency and accountability.
You must be able to track exactly where funds have come from and precisely how they are being used. We strongly believe that’s a perfectly reasonable demand for any donor, funding body or public authority to make when they have trusted you with their hard earned and limited resources.
In our previous blog, we talked about the increased expectations that your customers will have as a result of more accessible technology. This not only extends to delivering a great customer experience but also to the data and information that is made available. Online banking gives real-time updates about how our personal finances are shaping up and when we order online it’s possible to see exactly where the delivery van is with our parcel. So registering and tracking a donation and the impact it has made is very achievable.
Having a centralised platform and unified data will help you to accomplish this by bringing data and information into every interaction you have – with all of your internal and external customers. Through apps and online tools that have previously only been available to those with big budgets, it’s now possible to give your customers real-time feedback about where the money is coming from and how it is being spent.
Storing all your data in one place is also a way to ensure that it is kept safe and secure. In May 2018, data protection rules in Europe underwent the biggest change we have seen for decades. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) sets out requirements for how all organisations must handle personal data. The regulations outline how you should collect, store and use personal data within your organisation and charities need to comply with GDPR regardless of their size.
Much like your tech strategy, GDPR is an issue for your whole organisation, and our White Paper covers the key points you need to consider in more detail. And don’t forget to consider your people when it comes to protecting your organisation, as they can be just as important as your tech. In the rush to embrace new technologies, it is easy to overlook cybersecurity. Government figures show that more than a fifth of charities have suffered cyber breaches or attacks in the past twelve months. Providing your team with information and adequate training will protect you from data breaches as well as potential cyber attacks.
In 2018 the WannaCry computer virus left the NHS with a £73million IT bill. As well as the huge cost, the attack seriously affected the ability of many healthcare organisations to provide care for their patients. The National Audit Office conducted an investigation, concluding that the effects of this “relatively unsophisticated” ransomware could have been avoided. The report goes on to strongly advise NHS organisations to put plans in place to migrate away from old software and fix bugs in Windows computers that allow viruses to spread.
By holding accurate information in one place and using up to date hardware and software, you will be far less likely to break the rules. But we all know it’s not just about regulation. It’s about doing the right thing. Increased security and better use of tech is a great way to increase engagement, as well as a real opportunity to improve the negative view that many people currently have of the charity sector.
For more advice and information on developing your charity’s tech strategy, including advice and information on building trust and staying compliant, download our White Paper: Does your charity have a tech strategy?