The digital premium

Editorial Type: Case Study Date: 2018-05-01 Views: 1,807 Tags: Networking, Cloud, Digital Tranformation, The Good Exchange PDF Version:
Digital transformation is underway for most organisations, but it's not optional. Ed Gairdner, COO of not-for-profit cloud platform The Good Exchange explains why collaboration and embracing digital is the key for the third sector

The charitable sector is currently operating between five and ten years behind the commercial sector when it comes to digital transformation. In fact, according to a recent report, less than a third of CEOs agree that charities are using new technology effectively to help increase giving. Those that fail to prioritise digital technology are holding back their organisation from reaping the benefits of what digital has to offer.

As with the public and private sectors, the third sector is both challenged by and has benefitted from the rise of digital, especially in the way in which it has empowered consumers - in this instance, enabling them to fundraise and donate to worthy causes far more quickly. The rise of platforms can drive real change in the industry in the same way that organisations such as Spotify and GoCompare have transformed the music and insurance industries respectively.

In our view, collaboration is the key to unlocking the vast potential that technology can offer to the charitable sector, yet only 32 per cent of charities have done, or are doing so, and 76 per cent of small and medium charities have done no digital resource or data collaboration with any other charitable organisations.

There must be a strategic drive from all sides, and commercial organisations, trusts, foundations, community groups and others, must come together to drive and support not-for-profit charitable technology initiatives to help streamline and revolutionise their fundraising and grant giving processes.

These days, the solutions that can help are readily available. All that charitable organisations need to do is to take that first step and start using technology to open and streamline the grant application process.

The well-established yet inefficient process of requiring fundraisers to apply for grants one-at-a-time, and the subsequent allocation of grants to those with the resources and time to submit applications tailored to each individual grant-maker's criterion, may have worked adequately in the past, but today's era of web-platforms has created an opportunity to successfully challenge the status quo. As most grant-makers rarely cover 100 per cent of any project's costs on their own, technology-enabled collaborative networks can ensure that projects are fully funded without the need for multiple applications, sharing funding information easily and transparently. This can make the difference between a small charity continually struggling to pay the bills and ultimately facing closure, to being able to deliver its core service well into the future.

Making use of a digital platform and single application process significantly reduces administrative overheads and helps to level the playing field. For applicant organisations, an online platform providing access to grants, donations and fundraising, all in one place, helps to redress the balance when it comes to smaller charities - which often operate with part-time or voluntary staff - who lose out to larger charities with professional fundraising teams who can complete numerous, lengthy and often paper-based grant applicants more easily.

Technology can also enable match-funding grants, where each pound raised for charity is matched by an organisation, effectively doubling the amount going to good causes and encouraging more giving. Think of a reverse-crowdfund where a business or community of businesses, their employees, grant makers and donors, work together to close the funding gap around a social cause or local need.

Technology has transformed the private sector and the way in which we all live and work. Those responsible for managing charitable funding must think strategically and embrace digital to take advantage of efficiency gains, greater transparency and improved collaboration. This will help to level the funding and engagement playing field for charities of all sizes and types, and ultimately, it will encourage more charitable giving into the bargain.