Charities are focusing too much on using digital tools for fundraising instead of how technology can be used to improve services for stakeholders, a digital expert has warned.
Mike Thompson, who is a digital consultant at mySociety the charity behind the MP monitoring service They Work For You, told delegates at this year’s CFG IT conference that there are four main areas where technology can be of use to charities: fundraising, campaigns, data and delivering services.
But he warned that: “In my experience digital teams are focus on the top three areas.” And that: “Using digital can be more than just online donations and marketing.”
He advised organisations that there are four main ways they can use technology to provide services, and pointed to number of examples:
- Information delivery – such as Shelter’s housing data bank
- Feedback – such as Care Connect from the NHS
- Crowdsourcing – such as National Trust’s MyFarm which created an online community to manage the day-to-day activity at one of its farms
- Community activity – such as the Jointly app by Carers UK which allows all the people involved the care of one person to share information easily
Opportunities for international aid charities
Andrew Williams, global chief information officer at Save the Children International told delegates that international aid organisations face becoming “irrelevant” and unable to compete with newer crowdfunding initiatives.
He said: “IT is a massive opportunity for international aid organisations to scale up some of the work they do but if donors don’t see us as the way to do that the international aid organisations will become irrelevant.”
Williams said he hopes to be able to use technology to allow donors to engage more with the cause and that “these sorts of tools is where the sector has to go.”