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Embracing technology in the charity sector – adapt and flourish

There’s no getting around the fact that we’re living in a digital age. No sector or organisation is excepted, and none can afford to ignore modern developments. Yet sadly, one field where technology stands to make a world of difference is struggling to keep up: there is an unfortunate lack of technology in the charity sector. Non-profit organisations appear to have a difficult time adopting and implementing new technologies, even though they (and the causes they help) could gain so much.

A study from TechTrust found 58% of charities don’t have a digital strategy. That’s despite the fact that charities who are harnessing technology are outwardly optimistic about its impact, with 92% of them predicting that their digital strategy will have made a measurable difference over the following year.

Are these charitable innovators right? Will having more technology in the charity sector help organisations flourish?

Charities can save money using technology

Free conference calls for charities

One way to free up more of your budget for the wonderful work you’re doing is to save on the charity’s running costs. And there are loads of great technologies which can help you do just that!

For example, free conference calling saves organisations a lot of money. By choosing WHYPAY?, which offers the option of genuinely free conference calls, lots of groups have been able to dedicate more of their budget and their time to saving the world, be it through medical care (with NHS conference calls freeing up over £1.7million in unnecessary call charges), uniting in the face of famine (like the Anglican Alliance did using conference calls), or working to save the bees – and the planet! – like in our case study of BIBBA.

Making use of genuinely free conference calls won’t only save your organisation money that’s being spent on more expensive teleconferencing services. It can also mean that you have fewer face to face meetings, which cuts out all associated expenses. Think things like travel costs, renting meeting space, or even having to pay for attendees to stay in hotels. With remote working increasing in popularity all the time as it allows organisations to work with the best of the best even if they live far away, creates a better work-life balance, and saves organisations money, there’s a good chance you will find that teleconferences can replace many meetings.

Other internal communication technology for the charity sector

Of course, sometimes an audio meeting isn’t necessary. You’re probably communicating with your colleagues constantly throughout the day, sometimes with just little reminders or quick questions. Whether you’re in a traditional office, a shared workspace, or working remotely, good communication is key. There are great technologies that can make this easier, quicker, more efficient and cheaper, too.

There are so many cheap communication tools out there. Trello, for example, helps you manage projects better – and it’s free! Evernote will revolutionise the way you take and use your notes, and Slack makes internal communication a dream.

Online fundraising

It’s no secret that a huge amount of financial transactions have moved online over the past decade. In fact, we’re moving (slowly) towards becoming an entirely cashless society. Sweden is planning to abandon paper money in four years! And this trend has been especially noticeable in fundraising, making this a really important technology in the charity sector.

Contactless donation is becoming really common even in person. But using fundraising platforms to spread your reach, and that of your fundraisers, is no new innovation.

The problem is that not all fundraising charities are the same, so charities need to be sure they understand the terms and conditions of the platform they choose. Some have associated fees and charges, whether to have a membership, or per transaction.

If you want to be absolutely confident that every penny raised is being passed directly to you, the charity, you should choose Wonderful, the truly fee-free fundraising platform. Especially given the fact that around 64% of non-profits have reported an increased demand for transparency. Understandably, donors want to be sure that their money is reaching their chosen cause. Give them peace of mind by choosing Wonderful!

Creative fundraising

Lots of people associate fundraising with gruelling physical activities, like races or cross-country bike rides. But there are a lot of interesting, innovative and fun ways for fundraisers to make money.

There are some people who might be keener to do a gaming marathon than a running one, and there’s no reason it can’t be sponsored in the same way.

In fact, there’s loads of activities that you can live stream, engaging donors who can pledge money in real-time from all over the world. And considering that video content will boost your page’s visibility, it’s a great way to reach new people.

There are also plenty of examples of tags and viral content with great charitable use. Just cast your mind back to all those chilly ice bucket challenges

Use popular technology in the charity sector to show people your work

Given the growing importance of transparency, technology can be a great way to directly showcase the amazing work your charity is doing. Letting donors see projects with their own eyes leaves no room for doubt that you’re delivering on your promises.

Another great option if you have the budget and expertise is to make your own app. This can be a good way of keeping in touch with donors. You can use the app to give updates on projects, or ask for donations in crises.

A good example of a charitable app is the MyOxfam App, which lets users see how ongoing projects are developing, and the impact they’re having. Donors can even see the exact time and place that donated items reach their recipient. They can also read stories about Oxfam’s impact all over the world.

Cancer Research has also used Virtual Reality to let donors see inside their labs, letting them explore how their money is being used.

 

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