Our recently published Annual Trends Survey Report revealed some surprises regarding the perceptions about current levels of innovation. A significant number (72 per cent) of respondents said they consider their organisation to be in the ‘early adopter’ or ‘early majority’ category when it comes to introducing new technologies. They appear to believe they are moving forward very quickly, but is this actually the case?
Our survey found that, on average, UK organisations only review their IT infrastructure every 17 months. Less than half of respondents (47 per cent) said their company’s technology provides them with the right tools to do their job effectively. And only 31 per cent reported that they are able to get a connected view of their business or access to real-time information.
The contradiction in these numbers is puzzling. In the digital era, with both technology and consumer expectations moving very quickly, organisations need to embrace these changes. Too many still lack the innovative tools they need to work in the most effective way, and without a real-time view of information, decisions are being made while lacking critical insight.
Supporters are moving online
The 2019 CAF UK Giving Report reveals that over the last three years fewer people are participating in charitable or social activities. It also shows that greater numbers of those who do give are using digital channels to find information and donate - websites, apps, social media or text.
The discrepancy in our survey responses seems especially relevant to the third sector. Operating in a relatively difficult and fast-changing landscape, ongoing success depends on the ability to read the motivations and behaviours of this audience and to react immediately. Unless Not-for-Profit (NFP) organisations can provide the communication and response channels that supporters demand; through not-for-profit management software for example, they cannot raise the funds they need to meet the requirements of their stakeholders.
A digital success story
At a recent event, one of our customers gave a perfect example of the potential that digital technology holds for the third sector. Joe Trigg, Senior Online Acquisition Manager for WWF UK, spoke about a recent fundraising event that had been hugely successful for them. Joe explained that last August, the Amazon was burning at an alarming rate. As the lungs of the world, the Amazon forest is critical to the health of every one of us. It is home to more indigenous people than anywhere else and a habitat for 10 per cent of all known species. The Amazon fires were an environmental disaster of global proportions.
WWF formed an emergency fund to drive critical resources to the people at the front lines of the fire. However, they were frustrated by a lack of awareness and response. So they released a tweet that read ‘There was worldwide outcry when the Notre Dame cathedral was on fire. Why is there not the same level of outrage for the fires destroying the #AmazonRainforest.’ Reinforced by a video which showed the destruction being caused, it triggered a maelstrom of response and donations.
From kick-off to shut down, this campaign lasted little more than a week. The campaign progressed very quickly and teams worked hard to maintain the focus and momentum. They knew they needed to understand what was happening in any given moment, and were agile enough to adapt and respond immediately to maximize the impact of their work.
To grow, the third sector needs data-driven results
Access to real-time data allowed WWF to react rapidly and strategically, making their Amazon campaign one of the most successful digital acquisition campaigns they’ve ever undertaken. This illustrates the importance of integrated, efficient technologies for NFPs, enabling them to make vital decisions quickly based on an up-to-date view of the fundraising response.
Cloud technology, like our fundraising software, is key to this. Our Trends Survey results indicate that more than 50 per cent of us now rely on Cloud technology in our daily working lives- in addition to the many devices in our personal lives that are connected to the Cloud. Previously the preserve of large commercial enterprises, the low cost of entry has made Cloud technology an efficient and cost-effective way to work. For the third sector, digital is an ideal all-in-one solution for the management of data, administration, communications and progress measurement.
Cloud’s scalability means you only pay for what you need, with the assurance that the system can easily expand to meet future requirements as an organisation grows. It allows staff and volunteers to work securely from any location, and future-proofs an organisation by meeting the expectations of new generations of supporters.
There’s no longer a good argument for continuing to struggle with multiple, non-integrated applications that don’t offer electronic communication channels or a real-time view of activity. Consider what tools you really need and think about the ways others are already using them successfully. Ensure your organisation truly is leading the way when it comes to innovative approaches to streamlining your processes and engaging with supporters.