How-to for charities: 2022 digital roadmap

How-to for charities: 2022 digital roadmap

26th August 2022

By Connect Assist

So much tech, so little time – or money! That’s how it feels for many charities when they hear of exciting new IT developments.

But rather than being led by tech, start by thinking about what you want to achieve. Only then can you work out how you’ll get there – without being distracted by shiny new apps along the way.

At Connect Assist, we love helping charities discover what tech can do for them, so we’ve put together a guide to drawing up a digital roadmap. It’s based on this brilliant document from social consultancy NPC, drawing on other research and our own expertise in offering tech consultancy for charities too. Read on to learn more…

What’s new and emerging in tech for good?

It’s a hugely exciting time to be in “tech for good”. Here are just a few of the developments that tech leaders see emerging:

  • The Toucan app: a fintech solution to reinvent charitable giving for the tech-savvy generation.
  • Health apps for people with long-term conditions
  • Better targeted and greener advertising
  • AI for better audience segmentation
  • Tech to enable global connections and collaborations, boosting equality and diversity

But as we said above, it’s important not to get sidetracked – you must focus on what your charity needs.

Your roadmap to success

So what is a roadmap? We’re not talking about the dog-eared A5 atlas that’s under your passenger seat with all the old crisp packets (just us?). In business terms, it’s a plan for reaching your goals. 

Here’s how you go about drawing your own.

Stage 1. Preparation

Think of this bit as getting your ducks in a row.

Who do you need on board? It’s likely to include: leadership, trustees, other stakeholders (including people you support) and staff.

Stage 2. Developing strategy

Start off with a quickfire review of your existing organisational strategy with leaders and trustees. Pick out any points which affect the development of your digital roadmap.

Take a look at your charity’s vision, mission and goals, your resources: staff/ budget and external factors like the market and socio-political issues.

Stage 3. Prioritising and planning

Now, this is where we really get stuck in…

Set digital priorities. Digital can help you achieve your organisational strategy – and more. But you need to stick to your core principles, and find ways to complement the best of what you already do.

Understand your users. This involves identifying key groups, such as service users and partners, developing personas for each, and using these to develop user journeys. There’s more on these processes below.

Build digital culture. Provide training for your trustees and senior management in what digital can do, and how to lead digital transformation. Assess your organisation against a Digital Maturity Matrix, and carry out a skills audit to identify training needs.

Allocate resources. You’ll need to invest upfront, so how do you plan your priorities?

Digital service delivery: core to your mission, but requires ongoing maintenance costs. 

Digital internal operations: will improve efficiencies and make savings, but only after some time. 

Digital fundraising: will increase revenues, but again, you’ll see the savings only further down the line.

Stage 4. Implementing

While you’re drawing up your roadmap, you can start planning how you’ll put it into practice. 

What can be done in-house? Is it core to the mission? Do you have the skills in your workforce already? If not, should you develop them, or outsource the task?

Core tasks should be done in-house: eg staff could develop personas and user journeys, while a consultancy could bring design experience.

Digital development can be outsourced, with an agency designing and building tech solutions, working with an in-house team. 

Building your business case

Your roadmap is a great basis for a robust business case. That’s what you’ll need to get buy-in – and budget – from your leaders and trustees. 

Consider your audience. If you’re addressing trustees, tie in your case to the vision and mission of your charity.

Assess risks and mitigation by carrying out a RAID analysis – see box-out.

Make sure it’s affordable and beneficial. Consider who will benefit, and what the costs will be. 

Our recent how-to guide to building a business case for charities explains this process in more detail.

Download a RAID template here.

Case study: Versus Arthritis

Versus Arthritis used to be mainly a research charity, but decided it wanted to launch a new service for people living with this condition, leveraging digital assistant technologies.

Connect Assist consultants revisited the vision for the service, then interviewed staff to assess skills, resources, and organisational attributes. Working closely with the communications team, we evaluated the impact of an interactive digital assistant on customer support operations. 

We then drew up a range of scenarios and costed recommendations on staffing, telephony and CRM technologies, security and workflow planning for both in-house and outsourced options. 

Versus Arthritis now has a multi-channel helpline providing quality information and advice to thousands of people every year. 

Contact Connect Assist today

Connect Assist’s team of consultants can help you figure out how to leverage digital to reach your goals. Contact us today.


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