Are Charities missing out because of a lack of technology?
Technology is ever changing and the way we use that technology evolves with every new release of a device, software update or new App. For businesses looking to maintain that cutting edge of the market it can become IT intensive, so is this why we see so many charities around the country being left so far behind and with the potential result that they are missing out on donations and volunteers?
A recent report, by Eduserv in partnership with CharityComms, showed that 80% of digital specialists agree that technology requires a fundamental shift in the way charities work, yet only 34% believe their leaders understand this. And, despite the sector’s excitement about social media after viral fundraising hashtags, Lloyds Bank’s 2015 research highlighted that charities have the lowest industry sector score for digital maturity, with an increasing number (58%) reporting a lack of basic digital skills.
So what should a charity be looking for from technology to maintain and grow the people they touch in a digital world?
A website in the digital world is your shop window, it will often be the first place people will look into what you do, how you help, who you support and how they can help you. Do you have a website set up? Does your website reflect your organisation? Is it updated on a regular basis? Can it be viewed on a mobile device? Are your contact details correct?
Any website should be easy to use, have a great call to action and ensure users can easily find out all about the great things your doing.
Internal IT network and web connection are generally an unseen and forgotten part of any organisation. But if they don't connect your computers correctly or are prone to stop working just when you need to print that important document, you, and your Charity suffers. If you rely on the cloud (like Office 365) for web applications and communication with partners they’re critical. It doesn't have to be a costly exercise but it does have to be something you are always aware of and ensure is maintained.
Strong Data Connection
Data connection is like the life blood of any technology and if you are not connected you're not in the digital world and for a lot of people not on their radar. A good, strong and sufficient data connection in today's world is a must and is often becoming more important than having a landline. The number of internet users has increased tenfold from 1999 to 2013. The first billion was reached in 2005. The second in 2010 and the third in 2014. These numbers are ever growing meaning the way people view your Charity will change.
Good Data Storage and Backup
The more any Charity moves in to a digital world they have to start to think about how to store documents and information, and just as importantly, how those details are backup. The old steel filing cabinets in the corner holding thousands of documents are no longer necessary and were never that safe, but keeping that data online in a secure place is just as key.
There are many options out there but be aware of what you need to get and how secure are they? A lot if not all free storage systems out there are not designed for use by Charities or Businesses as they are at a consumer grade, this can mean your valuable files, data and information isn't secure enough. File storage, share and backup systems like AonixWorkplace can offer you a great option to keeping data in one place, with easy access and is built at an Enterprise Grade ensuring that data is safe and secure.
Ways of Communicating
Technology has created many, many ways to communicate with each other and with Charities, and when planning your communication strategy don't forget things like Social media which will have a life of its own – it's been estimated that in 2014 there were 1.82bn social network users around the globe and while everyone's on it, charities want to be on top of it.
Some of the available options include;
Text Messages with an open rate of 98% can be invaluable in getting your message out
Online News and Bloggs
Your website itself
Knowing your beneficiaries. Of course you know them, but do you record this information? Is it kept in a spreadsheet? Or in paper files? A database is an essential tool to help you track involvement with your supporters and record work done – vital for showing outcomes for fundraisers and members.
Key to any Charity is the kindness of others who want to donate time, goods and money which technology can play a key role in.
There are many online and text message services available like Just Giving who allow 100% of all donations to reach your Charity, integrating these methods into the way you advertise and promote can play a big part in driving these campaigns. Add it to your details on how to donate get your message out on as many digital platforms as possible to get the most amount of views and interactions to ensure you thrive in what your Charity does.
Aonix Limited are proud work with many different Charities including the Lions Clubs International British Isles & Ireland supporting their technology from telephony to text messaging allowing them to carry on doing their amazing work around the Country, while keeping up to speed with this ever changing world.
If you and your Charity want to know more get in touch as we are always happy to support you supporting others.