TECH TALK: BILL MAGEE
Those charities which adopt a digital strategy are attracting new donors
The last thing cash-strapped charities casting about for digital help to meet good governance and social inclusion targets need is a distraction. Certainly not from what’s been labelled a right royal farce. Glaring headlines last month highlighted the surreptitious but not illegal handover, in the middle of a top London store, of a case stuffed with the princely sum of one million pounds in readies.
Reported to be from a former Qatari prime minister and destined for one of future King Charles’s good causes, it prompted a senior trustee of one not-for-profit voluntary body to declare to me: “Boy, could we do with some of that money for our dwindling reserves.”
The event appeared light years away from these modern times where monies can be transferred online at the flick of a digital switch. It also left a bitter after-taste, as the same trustee claimed: “the event threatened to taint the entire charitable sector”.
Charities are undoubtedly having a challenging time amid post-covid global economic uncertainties, heightened by the fallout from the Russian war on Ukraine.
But there’s a smidgeon of good news.
The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations reports those who adopt a digital strategy are rapidly finding a boost in engagement involving those who’ve never shown an interest before in charitable causes.
The SCVO quotes one stakeholder from a community development organisation who reports how “digitally upskilling” their staff has led to a real appetite to engage online, along with more traditional face-to-face services.
It recommends a “digital building block” approach towards defining goals, developing digital habits and adopting a sustainable strategy and plans a series of workshops on 3 August.
Capability Scotland is one success story. The charity delivers high quality care, support and education for disabled children across the country.
However, the organisation found its heavy reliance on manual data collection and collation resulted in staff spending significant amounts of time on repetitive administrative tasks and keeping information up-to-date.
To increase efficiency and productivity of operations all round required a streamlining of processes. Vital towards achieving this was to have in place a reliable, scalable and flexible IT operation.
It is here that Exception was instrumental in helping Capability Scotland become more efficient and productive by ensuring its team had access to the right tools and technology.
A process of what is described as “discovery and requirements gathering” was launched and Office 365 implementation was recommended to re-engineer and fully digitise business processes. A reliance on legacy systems has been eliminated.
For one thing, this reduced precious time that staff members had previously had to spend on admin tasks, and minimised the need for innumerable handwritten tasks and re-entering of data.
The expertise of the cloud solutions and digital transformation company involved managing the programme along with providing advice and support, from initial discovery phase definition, vendor procurement and management towards implementation.
A full roll out is undergoing completion allowing the Capability Scotland team to work from anywhere easily and securely, also making it easier for staff to keep information up-to-date and improving internal systems and processes. Capability Scotland now has more time to focus on providing care to its users.
Exception’s expertise has also supported Young Scot, Help for Heroes, Chron’s and Colitis UK, Social Bite, Children 1st, Children in Need and The Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice.