3 challenges of being a charity in the digital age

Over the past two decades, technology has changed the third sector in ways we never would have thought of. Just imagine where your charity was ten years ago. And where you are now. All the changes, progress, and innovation you’ve seen along the way.

 

But tech is always changing. There’s always a new solution to your problems. And the challenge of keeping up is one that’s not going anywhere. For any charity looking to leave their mark, there are going to be key challenges you can count on facing time and time again as a charity in the digital age. Today, we’re going to look at three of these – along with our advice for overcoming them.

 

Challenge #1: The speed of technology

As soon as you get to grips with one system, ten more will come onto the market. All promising to revolutionise your operation and streamline your processes further. It’s a great thing. New tools and innovations are how we will continue to grow as a sector. But it can also feel overwhelming.

 

The pace at which technology evolves can seem impossible to keep up with. With finite budgets, your organisation simply can’t invest in every single charity-related solution. But you also don’t want to be left behind as the industry becomes more digitalised. 

 

The solution

The key is to find a flexible, agile digital infrastructure that grows with you. One that’s going to stand the test of time and coincides with the direction of the sector. This agility is one of the reasons we’re seeing more charities opt for SaaS products.

 

Products like these put the responsibility and weight of future development on the shoulders of your provider. You get a dedicated, expert development team who will ensure your software continues to meet your needs.

 

This means you don’t have to invest in bespoke development to meet the challenges of being a charity in the digital age. You have the peace of mind and confidence that as the industry changes, you’ll be ready to adapt as well.

 

Challenge #2: Staff and volunteer resistance

To fully embrace the power of digital, you’ll need your whole team on the same page. But some people will be more resistant than others. 

 

Volunteers might have anxiety about new technology, doubting their digital skills. They might worry about being replaced or struggling to keep up with changing solutions. There might be some resistance about losing the softer, more human elements of your work. Many of which will have attracted your staff and volunteers in the first place.

 

The solution

The more open and transparent you are about your digital transformation, the easier it’ll be for staff to get on the same page. You want to communicate what your future plans are and why you’re making the changes you are. And always clearly express what these mean for your people. This will all help to ease anxieties and instil confidence.

 

You also want to make your systems as simple as possible. The best tools and solutions will feel accessible to all staff and volunteers. They’ll be easy to learn and use. And they’ll come with enough training to make everyone from head office to volunteers comfortable in their roles.

 

Challenge #3: IT resilience

The more charities rely more on technology, the more exposed they are. Investing in new tools can feel like you’re relinquishing control. That you’ll be more vulnerable to forced downtime or struggle to fix any issues that may occur.

 

To combat this, you want peace of mind that your systems will be stable and reliable long-term. That they’ll make your life easier, not result in even more stress. And that they’ll keep you safe from cyber threats.

 

The solution

Wherever possible, choose a tried-and-tested solution. Something that’s worked for countless other charities just like yours. This way, you know any compatibility issues will have been encountered before. They’ll be unlikely to happen again or will be quickly resolved if they do.

 

Industry-specific solutions know the industry like the back of their hand. Meaning you’re very unlikely to find a unique bug or issue that’s unknown to them. And this helps to provide some much-need reassurance when bringing even more of your operations online. 

 

There’s no telling where the third sector will be in five years time. But by familiarising yourself with some of the key challenges you’ll face as a charity in the digital age, the smoother your journey will be.

 

For a tried-and-test EPoS system that’s been designed with the charity sector in mind, allow us to introduce you to CHARiotWeb. To find out more about our cloud-based, SaaS solution, call us on 01204 706000.