How to speed up digital transformation in your charity

How to speed up digital transformation in your charity

8th February 2022

By Janaya Bailey

Over the last two years, the digital transformation of the charity sector has been given a real kick-start, to say the least. 

But if your charity is still stuck in the technological dark ages, what can you do to get up to speed? We’ve put together seven tips based on our extensive experience of helping charities embrace digital in a way that works for them. 

1. Focus on your goals

It’s easy to get bogged down in the process of introducing new IT. You can find yourself lost in a sea of acronyms such as CRM (that’s customer relationship management) or ERP (enterprise resource planning). The techies in your charity might love it – but the rest of the organisation will be more sceptical. 

So don’t start by looking at new software, then working out how to cram it into your organisation. Instead, look at what you want to achieve, build a business case, then find the tech that makes it happen. This is where a great digital partner comes in handy!

2. Get everyone on board from the start

As a charity leader, it’s your job to set goals and achieve them. But if you try to go it alone, you’ll miss essential input in the design process, and won’t have buy-in when it comes to implementation.

So who are your stakeholders? They’re your staff, at all levels of the organisation. Your service users. Your volunteers. Your trustees. Your partners. Think about how to involve them all in any digital design and implementation process. 

Prior to the pandemic, there used to be something of a divide in many charities between head office and everywhere else – particularly for international organisations. Remote working has its drawbacks, but it’s great in allowing more voices to be heard. Make the most of it!

3. Choose systems that work for everyone

Your systems should be bringing your teams and your customers together, not driving a wedge between you all. 

At Connect Assist, we’re an Oracle Gold Partner, and we love working with charities to configure Cloud-based CRM and contact centre systems to suit your organisation and its goals. 

4. Upskill your people

When people drag their heels over digital transformation, it’s often because they fear they won’t be up to it. While most IT packages should be pretty user-friendly, they can still feel off-putting to some people. 

So provide training, regular refreshers, and, if at all possible, the chance for your staff and volunteers to gain digital qualifications. If you invest in your people, they’ll be more eager to invest their own effort into their work. 

5. Be inclusive

Absolutely key, this one – yet so often forgotten. Make sure your system is accessible to people from all sorts of backgrounds, and with all sorts of disabilities. Get guidance from external disability experts to help you put the groundwork in place.

6. Don’t be scared of automation

The robots aren’t coming – they’re already here. And they can work for you! 

Artificial intelligence can do so much for charities. It can power chatbots, help your customers self-serve, analyse your data, and enable you to improve the service you offer to others. 

7. Never stop!

If you’re in the midst of a huge digital transformation at your charity, you might be desperate for an end date. But there isn’t one!

Sure, you’ll implement a new system, and it will transform the way you operate and the services you provide for the better. But you always need to be alert to new issues that arise, and new tech developments that could address them. 

So when you hear about new developments such as non-fungible tokens or the metaverse, you’ll automatically be wondering how they could work for your charity.

It’s really all about changing your charity culture, and adopting a digital mindset. At Connect Assist, we love helping charities on this exciting journey, so contact us today to find out about our consultancy solutions


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