The role of digital technology in the UK charity sector has grown increasingly prominent. It can act as a potent catalyst for social inclusion and sustainability, overcoming many of the challenges that charities have traditionally faced.
This post covers six technologies Waymark has used to help leaders drive digital evolution across their organisations.
The intersection of digital technology, social inclusion and sustainability
“Social inclusion” and “sustainability” have uniquely significant meanings for charities.
Not only are they at the core of most charities’ missions, but they are often directly relevant to the marginalised and underserved groups that they serve. And technological advancements have the potential to drive fast, meaningful and wide-scale changes in both areas. For example, according to data from Ofcom, 7% of UK households still have no internet access. One proposed solution, ideated by Waymark, is the integration of medical and bank databases to enable ATMs to deliver health and social messages to digitally excluded individuals.
1. Enhancing accessibility
Digital platforms increasingly incorporate tools that make services more accessible to excluded groups.
Technological applications that have increased inclusivity for charities include the following:
- Online portals: Charities are creating user-friendly online portals where individuals can easily access information, resources, and support from their homes and through various disability-sensitive formats.
- Mobile apps: Mobile applications offer a convenient way for users to remain connected with charity services, providing instant access to assistance, updates and notifications.
- Remote support: Digital platforms enable charities to offer virtual support, including counselling and advice services, enhancing accessibility for individuals with physical or geographical limitations.
2. Data-driven decision-making and targeting
Data analysis and AI (artificial intelligence) have repeatedly proven valuable for understanding and targeting marginalised communities. Among other methods, insights can be generated by identifying patterns in previously overlooked data sets.
One interesting case study in this area has been reported by McKinsey. It relates to the potential use of generative AI to connect Black consumers in the US with banking services by offering highly personalised products based on untapped data.
3. Digital fundraising and resource management
By laying the foundation for improved connectivity and financial oversight, digital tools are impacting fundraising initiatives and resource allocation.
Here are five popular providers providing next-gen fundraising tools to charities that we at Waymark think represent the vanguard of next-gen services:
- GoFundMe: Offers a smooth digital crowdfunding service.
- Classy: Enhances nonprofit campaigns by unifying fundraising channels.
- Kickstarter: Adapts tech for socially-conscious fundraising.
- DonorsChoose: A niche service that connects educators and teachers with donors through its platform.
- GlobalGiving: An online platform that showcases projects globally, widening fundraising reach for nonprofits.
4. Community engagement through digital storytelling
Digital strategies that build community engagement through the promulgation of stories include the following:
- Omnichannel social media integration: Charities are increasingly taking an omnichannel approach to social media to share impactful stories and connect with a broader audience.
- Interactive multimedia: Incorporating multimedia elements such as videos, user-generated content, and interactive elements in storytelling helps capture attention and convey messages.
- Data analytics: Leveraging data analytics tools enables charities to measure the impact of their digital storytelling efforts, refine strategies, and target specific community needs with customised content more accurately.
There are several examples of charities that have leveraged digital technology successfully. Two well-known examples are Oxfam's use of social media campaigns to raise awareness and funds for global poverty alleviation and Red Cross's mobile app for providing life-saving guidance.
5. Green technologies
Digital tools are being used to monitor and enhance sustainability objectives with increasing accuracy and insight.
There are three in particular where this has had an effect:
- Remote work: Digital technology supports remote work, reducing the need for commuting and office energy consumption, thus lowering carbon emissions.
- Paperless operations: Charities are adopting digital documentation and communication, minimising paper usage and decreasing environmental impact.
- Energy efficiency: Tech solutions help charities monitor and optimise energy usage in their facilities and logistics networks, contributing to sustainability efforts by reducing carbon footprint.
6. Digital partnerships
Digital partnerships have proven immensely useful in increasing reach of charities, and there are a number of tools that can facilitate joint approaches.
Here is an overview of the main technologies:
- Crowdfunding platforms: Leveraging digital crowdfunding platforms enables you to partner with individuals and organisations to raise funds collectively for specific causes.
- Virtual volunteer platforms: Utilising virtual volunteer platforms allows you to partner with remote volunteers, expanding your capacity to engage in diverse initiatives.
- Cloud-based collaboration tools: Digital tools like cloud-based project management and communication platforms enable efficient collaboration between you and your partners, irrespective of location.
Modern digital technologies hold huge transformative potential. And at Waymark we believe that leaders in both the government and non-profit sectors that implement these innovations are much more likely to thrive in the coming years.
What’s more, it’s possible to take advantage of cutting-edge digital tech in a cost-effective way with a minimum of disruption. Laying the foundations for the ongoing digital transformation now is the surest way to future-proof your charity.
Book your free Xploration
Are you eager to see the benefits of the very latest digital technology in your business? Book a free Xploration with Waymark now to learn how your charity can adapt to the digital transformation.