Since March of this year, charities have shown an incredible response to an unprecedented need for digital expertise, forced to adapt to a changing world in a very short period of time. The Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown forced the sector to go remote, which inspired many organisations to find new ways to communicate with donors, raise funds and engage with volunteers.
Yet, the digital skills gap continues to persist, with the latest Charity Digital Skills Report claiming that 51% of charities still don’t have a digital strategy in place and 66% of charity boards rate their digital skills as low. Compare that to the 66% of private businesses who are already using at least one emerging technology to improve their customer experience and it’s painfully obvious that there is still some work to be done.
The truth of the matter is that technologies are vital for charities to stay afloat, which is why the digitalisation of the charity sector is so crucial in the years to come.
Our advice? Invest in technologically savvy people. Just think about how things like machine learning, AI, virtual reality, minimum viable products (MVP) and/or mobile apps can transform your operations. The coronavirus pandemic was just the catalyst that made us face our faults head-on. Now, it’s up to you drive the digital revolution.
Why you should invest in digital savvy
Lockdown caused 58% of charities to cut back on their services, potentially costing the sector 60,000 jobs. And much of that is because charities have always lagged behind other fields when it comes to advanced technologies, innovation and digitalisation. There are a lot of different barriers like cost and, certainly, tech literacy.
Yet, non-profit organisations understand that development and technology are vital to survival and remote work is likely to remain common even after the virus subsides. That’s why the implementation of emerging technologies is a priority for charities. And what’s more, is that it will actually make it easier for you to provide vital services in the years to come.
Still not sure how technology can befit your organisation? Here are just a few of the ways it can help your charity.
1. Keeping things moving in uncertain times
A technically savvy workforce is not just proficient in the latest tools; it’s adaptable. If this year has taught us anything, it’s that things can change in an instant. And the more adaptable your team is, the easier it will be to apply creative approaches, solutions and developments when it really counts. Non-profit organisations with technically savvy staff are better placed to face uncertain challenges and adopt new digital trends, ensuring that day-to-day operations are not interrupted by surprising events. Digitally skilled employees who are well-versed in big data, deep analytics, development, mobile apps and so on add extra value to the charities.
2. Enhancing the level of collaboration and communication
Different tools, apps and solutions available have brought collaboration and communication to the next level. Just think about how quickly you had to adapt to remote working—most technologically adept people already working with tools like Slack, Trello, Microsoft Teams and the like. People with digital skills learn to agile, which means they can accomplish tasks faster and do so in a more secure and efficient way.
3. Finding more effective solutions in work processes
Workers with digital expertise and technological awareness can find better, faster and more effective solutions for different issues, especially if they understand user data. By tapping into their expertise, you can find new ways to improve your workflow and accomplish tasks fast. And if they’re the sort of workers who like to keep track of trends, then they’ll always be able to share new ideas and ways of doing things that can benefit the wider organisation.
4. Increasing productivity
The latest technologies have opened a heap of possibilities at work that can level up the general productivity of your organisation. By empowering digitally skilled staff with sophisticated technologies, you can enhance team performance and individual productivity. In other words, your staff is likely to be more efficient, productive and effective when it comes to problem-solving, volunteer management and even fundraising activity.
5. Investing in the future
Tech-savvy people are completely invested in the newest technologies; it’s an integral part of their lives. That’s why they perform so well when it comes to delivering services and ensuring smooth running operations—they’re always thinking about what will come next. And they can figure out better ways to streamline time-consuming processes, giving you more time to focus on what really matters—your beneficiaries. That’s why investing in digitally skilled employees is a profitable investment for charities in the long run.
Tech predictions for charities to keep an eye on
The current state of things is forcing the charity sector to think hard about adopting technology long-term. Such emerging technologies as virtual events, contactless payments, AI, digital volunteer management and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools are reshaping the industry, becoming a must-have for survival.
That’s why some charities have already started to leverage emerging technology to address dips in fundraising and boost donations. Although, only 14% of charities are currently using contactless payment technologies for these purposes.
Just think about all the amazing things you can do when you invest in tech and digitally savvy people—AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) can boost connections remotely, enabling you to provide audiences with immersive experiences. And live streaming is another way to raise funding and keep events alive. The faster charities adapt to new conditions, the higher their chances are to stay afloat. Yet, digitalisation of the sector is impossible without investing in tech-savvy people. They drive digital transformation and help you move forward rather than get left behind.