3 trends to look out for when future-proofing your charity’s digital strategy

May 28, 2015 bentannahill

Almost half of senior decision-makers in UK charities do not have an IT strategy that will support their future business needs.

Four in ten say they are unhappy with the priority IT gets in their organisation and that their trustees do not understand the importance of IT [1].

In a digital-first world, these statistics should be very concerning for charities that are looking to keep up with how their donors are using technology.

There are several reasons for this.

1) Donations are changing

55% of not-for-profit professionals reported an increase in the proportion of online donations they received in 2014 as compared to 2013 [2]. Debit card donations also now generate more income than any other form of giving.

In short, digital is changing the way that people donate.

Some charities are already making changes.

Cancer Research recently installed contactless payment nodes in several branch windows. Donors can simply tap their card to make a fixed £2 donation.

Similarly, the Penny for London scheme allows commuters to easily give ‘micro-donations’ of between 1p and 10p every time they swipe their contactless payment card to travel.

After all, would you rather donate by filling out your account number and sort code (which you know by heart, of course) on paper with a scratchy biro in the middle of the street, or by beeping your contactless card once?

Charities that don’t change how they attract and accept donations will simply be throwing away potential income.

Retail is a prime example of an industry that is reaping the rewards of embracing the digital world – they were the first to have advertising based on the browsing habits of individuals, websites that are optimised for mobile and tablet, and the ability to pay with a single click.

They make it as easy as possible for customers to make a digital cash transaction.

Charities that are able to harness the retail mindset are the ones that will make headway soonest.

2) Highly-fluctuating website traffic

Think about the #nomakeupselfie or the Ice Bucket Challenge. Millions took part in these viral social media campaigns, creating huge fluctuations in web traffic to charity sites.

As social media and online resources become increasingly popular channels for engaging with donors, charities not equipped to manage these bursts of high traffic risk dissatisfying their supporter base, compromising their network quality and losing income.

Would you enjoy the irony of your website crashing because too many people were trying to donate at once?

By using a hosted cloud platform – with no upfront capital expenditure outlay – this pain is taken away as the service automatically flexes to meet your needs and saves you costly hardware upgrades.

3) Your IT department is now a source of innovation

To give your IT department the time to focus on delivering the most appropriate donation systems and supporting online campaigns, they need to be relieved from necessary, but non-productive, IT tasks, such as managing applications.

Amnesty International used Claranet’s managed application hosting platform to set up a self-service website function that allowed users to sign up and set up direct debits. This both generates income and frees up staff members to concentrate on other important tasks.

Amnesty commented: “Claranet has helped us to simplify our back-end processes and to automate fulfillment, so that our staff can get on with more important things like building additional functionality to support our next campaign.”

Embrace the Digital World

Charities need to change how they operate to remain competitive in the digital world.

Make it as easy as possible for potential donors to find out about your campaigns, visit your (reliably hosted) website and donate by ensuring your applications are available, secure and reliable.

Find out more about how Claranet can ensure the availability, security and reliability of your applications with a range of bespoke managed hosting services here.

References

[1] http://cloudservices-world.info/news_full.php?id=37864&title=Charities-m...
[2] https://www.cafonline.org/pdf/CAF%20UK%20Giving-FINAL%20-%20web%20enable...

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