It’s not just large charities with big budgets that can benefit from the latest technology. Whether it’s real-time communication with donors using mobile apps, sharing stories via social media or accepting donations through alternative payment methods, even smaller charities can take advantage of innovative tech.
But sadly not every organisation is on board. A lack of tech strategies in the sector means that many charities – and their beneficiaries – are missing out on exciting and potentially transformative opportunities.
You’re not alone
We wouldn’t be surprised if the answer to the question “Does your charity have a tech strategy?” is no. You’re not alone. Most of the charities we know and work with don’t have one. They are simply reactive – when something breaks or doesn’t work they fix or replace it. Even if they do invest in new technology, it’s often shoe-horned into old systems and processes. It’s akin to buying a shiny new car and fitting it with an old engine.
There are though, some fantastic examples of charities being innovative with technology:
- A team of Blue Cross dogs equipped with contactless payment technology in their jackets.
- A CRUK smart bench that provides free wi-fi and charging points, as well as accepting donations.
- The British Heart Foundation uses data around individual cases of heart disease to communicate cause, test, and prevention information to the public.
It’s dangerous to ignore the fact that the possibilities of technology are increasing exponentially. If you want to keep up it’s vital that any decisions your organisation makes about technology are strategic, rather than operational.
Driven by mission
Our fundamental belief is that your tech strategy should always be driven by your charity’s mission. Equally, tech should empower your people to use and capture data and information in the best way possible. All too often we see teams in charities who view tech as a hindrance, rather than an enabler. So before considering further investment, talk to everyone in your team. Find out what they do to contribute to your objectives and what they need to do their best work.
Assess every one of your current systems and processes with a thorough tech audit. Look at how they can be made more efficient because the more efficient the process the more funding can be directed to where it matters most – delivering your projects on the ground.
Consider your customers
Whether they are supporters, donors, volunteers or employees, I believe they are all your customers. And without your customers, you can’t exist. The experience they have of your organisation is vital and you should be thinking about what they want and how tech can help you facilitate this.
When consumers can order groceries online from a voice-activated list, technology needs to make donating as easy as possible. Our society today depends on charities more than ever. Expectations are high, and competition for the donated pound is fierce.
History of innovation
The charity sector has a strong history of innovation and stepping in where there is the most need. For example, entrepreneurs such as Thomas Barnardo were pioneers of mass cheap printing. JustGiving is a more recent example of how innovation and technology can be combined to transform lives. If we work together to harness technology to deliver your charity’s mission, what could we achieve?
For more advice and information on developing your charity’s tech strategy, including practical tips on how to conduct a tech audit and create a distinctive customer experience, download our White Paper: “Does your charity have a tech strategy?”