What do digital solutions look like for charities with limited budget?

What do digital solutions look like for charities with limited budgets and no IT departments we talked to the talented guys at Endeavour to see what day to day solutions they use and what tech challenges /changes they are facing.

Developing your presence now has a digital implication -

at Endeavour they knew they wanted to increase their presence but that it would also take an investment they have:

  • invested in smart phones for staff – so that they could help with  social media campaigns by taking photos
  • Developing social media presence for Endeavour – focusing on Twitter and Facebook 
finding digital solutions
In terms of social media, our goal was to increase our online presence, but in particular from my perspective as a way of engaging with corporates. We want them to support us and in return, we can give their brand a bit of boost by mentioning them and saying thank you on social media. It also encourages others to get involved and gives us credibility.
 Also for if/when we have online campaigns or things we need to promote – there’s an audience there for us on social media........ it’s free advertising!

So, what does that look like in practice - it's a stream of images and connections that work really well to  illustrate the work that Endeavour does and maximises it's relationships with corporates  - providing visual impact for those who support them currently and in the future.  Having access to smart phones means that Endeavour team are able to produce great photos that provide authenticity to their social media output.


Cloud based solutions

These are often talked about for charities, we at the Third Sector Cafe use quite a few cloud based solutions - from our email systems to our internal communications - but they are often suggested as a perfect solution - however for organisations there are often challenges and potential issues - because if they don't work then the implications both cost and time are huge: 

At Endeavour they have been suggested to move to a couple of different cloud based solutions, for both their accounting and office 365 - so what challenges does that cause -  
"The issue for me with cloud based solutions is primarily one of timing but also cost & culture."
 
"I am always sceptical/cautious of new initiatives until they are proven in terms of reliability & compatibility. It is not helpful to us moving to a new 'cheap' system if it is unreliable due to broadband connectivity or indeed if it puts us at odds with partners we regularly work with.
It seems to me that new products are launched and endorsed on the basis of perfect working scenarios. We however do not benefit from upload and download speeds of 10mbps or have a fleet of the latest PC’s so our system/infrastructure has to be able to cope.
 
Occasionally there are some no-brainers and you can undertake the journey. There is then the taking the staff team with you the culture shift to adopt new practice and making the time to embed it.
 
I admit to being wary of tech upgrades, recommendations from companies can have a vested interest in promoting their new partner product.
 
Fundamentally as a charity we need cost effective reliability, we cannot afford to be at the forefront of product development. Do we need to? Depending on your sector will technology make or save you critical sums? "

This brings a number of really interesting questions - and the skills needed to understand the theory and then apply it to your individual scenario - particularly when you are not an IT expert. How do you ensure you are making the right decisions? "


Digitally understanding impact

Finally Endeavour are looking at using software to understand their impact they have Invested in Views, the impact software created by Substance to help youth work charities (and others) track their impact. It is still early days and they are at the early stages of inputting data. But we look forward to hearing how this works out. 

Thank you so much to Endeavour for their input into this - we know that each charity has it's own challenges and that each organisation is different - there is not a one size fits all approach that works - but in talking through and learning from each other we get a really good sense of how as a sector we can navigate these questions, challenges and opportunities.

 

efficientSophy Hallam