According to the latest Charity Digital Skills Report, 45 per cent of charities don’t have a strategy to embed technology across all sectors of their organisation. Although many not-for-profits are keen to engage, it seems that they are taking baby steps and have a way to go before they reach maturity. Digital transformation is an on-going process, so if you think you’ve achieved this, the chances are that there’s further work to be done. Read on to find out how your charity measures up.
Are you on the lookout for new trends?
When we say trends, we don’t just mean new technologies. Charities should pay attention to innovation – developments in AI, mobile apps, contactless payments and gamification are rapidly revolutionising the relationship between organisations and their stakeholders – however, more fundamentally, it’s about changes in ways of working. As an example, 64 per cent of not-for-profits saw an increased demand for transparency of funds in the last year. Now that we have software which makes it possible to log and track spending in real-time, charity donors want to see this information. To keep abreast of new trends, from technology to thought processes, make sure to benchmark yourself against other organisations, or even work with them to implement shared learning.
Is digital change part of your business strategy?
As the Charity Digital Skills Report shows, leadership is needed to truly embed new technologies within charities. In fact, 63 per cent of not-for-profits surveyed said managers must be able to understand trends and how they affect their charities. Making digital transformation part of your business strategy will ensure that change is cross-departmental and considers the whole organisation. Do senior leaders and trustees have a clear vision for digital? And, more importantly, is this approach engrained within your way of working? Kay Boycott, CEO of Asthma UK, believes that ‘having a digital strategy will soon seem as ridiculous as having an electricity strategy’. In other words, digital is not something to aspire to, it should be your default.
Are you flexible enough to respond to change?
For some charities, there is a lack of awareness and confidence which stops leaders from implementing digital transformation. In a report from the House of Lords Select Committee on Charities, risk aversion and a lack of organisational flexibility were mentioned as challenges blocking change. Funding can be one of the biggest issues for organisations, however, one of the joys of technology is that it can make things more efficient and cost-effective. As Matthew Moor, from Tech Trust explains, you can use digital innovation to your advantage – instead of having fixed IT costs, you can choose cloud-based platforms which ‘make it cheaper, freeing up budget to spend more on other areas’.
Are you recruiting a strong digital skillset?
To future-proof your team, you should think about roles that will be needed in the future, as well as those which will benefit you immediately. Experts in the charity sector, including Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive of the Big Lottery Fund, have warned that not-for-profits could be left behind if they don’t improve technological and data driven skills. Your aim should be to have digital champions in each department, so it’s worth reflecting on this before you make your next hire. It might be a simple case of tweaking a job description, or you may decide to alter your course and recruit for a different position entirely.
Have you completed the Charity Digital Code assessment?
The Charity Digital Code, which was launched last year, aims to give practical and insightful advice on the topic of technological transformation. Created after a survey of 171 professionals working in the third sector, the code contains plenty of useful information, including seven principles for digital success and a quick assessment tool. If you’re re-thinking your digital strategy, this will provide plenty of food for thought.
Contact the Xledger team to discuss how you can modernise your charity with our innovative cloud-based ERP system. With proven expertise in the charity sector, we help you gain valuable insights so that you can better understand your cashflow when it comes to grants, donations and trust funds.