Digital Service Delivery     Patrick Nash, Chief Executive of Connect Assist, a social enterprise.     I’ve been using com...
Digital service delivery is a part of the mix of overall charity service delivery, same as for anyorganisation. In the sam...
are now in the double bind of having more demand for services at a time when funding has been cut   and donations are at b...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

Presentation notes: Digital Service Delivery: While many charities communicate and fundraising digitally, few deliver digital services. Learn how to do this easily and how NCVO’s member helpdesk went from analogue to digital.

1,177 views

Published on

Patrick Nash, CEO, Connect Assist

Megan Griffith Gray, Head of Communications and Information, NCVO

Understand the benefits of digital service delivery

Learn how easy it is to deliver services digitally

Leave with 3 next steps to develop a digital service platform for your charity

Published in: Education, Business, Technology
  • Be the first to comment

Presentation notes: Digital Service Delivery: While many charities communicate and fundraising digitally, few deliver digital services. Learn how to do this easily and how NCVO’s member helpdesk went from analogue to digital.

  1. 1. Digital Service Delivery Patrick Nash, Chief Executive of Connect Assist, a social enterprise. I’ve been using computers for 35 years. My first was an Apple Two E that arrived in a huge box on the back of a tractor. I lived on the Isle of Mull in Scotland and was the proud owner of the Island’s first PC with the local paper coming out to photograph its arrival. Since then I’ve been CEO of a number of charities and set up a number of social enterprises. Ten years ago I ran a charity that started down the route of digital services and today I run a social enterprise that provides digital service platforms and multi-channel helplines for a whole range of largely third sector organisations. What is digital service delivery? Digital service delivery is in its essence pretty simple. We are all used to receiving services online. It is where we receive a service which we can access online (whether from a PC, phone, tablet, kiosk, TV, etc). Online banking is a pretty widespread digital service. A digital service is distinct from a digital purchase (buying a train ticket, making a donation) and a digital communication (tweet, marketing email, etc), although inevitably there is some convergence between these. The fact that this event is taking place at all is an indicator of the success of the use of digital media in the third sector. I’ve enjoyed the great examples we’ve heard of these two days. But my observation is that while many charities are using digital media to communicate and increasing numbers to raise funds, there are far fewer who are delivering services to the people, families and communities they work for on a digital platform. There are all sorts of reasons why charities say that they can’t or don’t do this: Our service users aren’t online They are too old Our services don’t lend themselves to a digital approach We don’t have the money, And my personal favourite: What if too many people found out about us and used more of our services? Now while I don’t believe that any of these are reasons not to provide a digital element of our services, it’s important to take these concerns on board, even though I think it is a bit patronising to think that older people don’t use online services. 1
  2. 2. Digital service delivery is a part of the mix of overall charity service delivery, same as for anyorganisation. In the same way that you can still walk into a bank, call them, write to them and interactonline, charities will still need to keep their services available across as many channels as possible.But the advent of digital services allow you to integrate service delivery – so that your service user hasthe same high quality of experience whether they engage with you online or offline, as well as have theability to move from one channel to another.Some great examples of digital services in the charity sector include: Turn2us online benefits checker. This was used by over a million members of the public last year to check whether they were receiving the correct benefits and large numbers claimed additional benefits. Teacher Support Network. This charity supporting the wellbeing of school teachers won the 2009 Charity Times Best use of the Web Award for its innovative approach to online service delivery and NCVO who have just re-launched their Member Helpdesk on a digital platform, which Megan will tell you more about shortly.What are the benefits of digital service delivery? Empowering your service users. Much of the work of improving people’s lives is about empowerment. We have found digital services are really strong at empowering people. They can allow people to assess their own circumstances and choose the support or intervention that a charity can provide. The self-directed nature of digital services is an empowering act in itself and moves us from the notion of the charity as provider to the charity as enabler or facilitator. Reaching more people. Digital services reach more people. Our experience of a number of charities, plus the experience of a number of local authorities is that for every one person who will walk into an office or drop in centre to ask for support, 10 to 20 will make a telephone and 100 will search online. There is no doubt that digital services reach people that other services do not. Initial anonymity is often a key factor. Targeting human resources at those who most need them. Good ‘channel switching’ allows charities to handle the majority of more straightforward interventions in digital channels, thereby targeting valuable resources at those who really need them. In too many charities well qualified and experienced staff are dealing with relatively simple and transactional enquiries too much of their time – which is not only a waste but de-skills and de-motivates good people. Easier to get good outcomes data. Our digital platforms are set up to stay in touch with service users over a period of time and collect outcome data. We like to find out what was the impact of a particular intervention and that can take some time to emerge. An ongoing relationship with a service user that is partly digital is a really effective way to stay connected over a period of time and collect outcome data one ‘case’ at a time. Cost reducing without service reducing. Often the driver for digital service platforms is cost. In a time of cuts, creating efficiencies is really the only way to keep vital services going. Many charities 2
  3. 3. are now in the double bind of having more demand for services at a time when funding has been cut and donations are at best flat.So what do you need to create a digital service platform?First thing is not to feel you have to do it all at once. There are a number of stages that have worked forthe organisations I have worked for which boiled down are: Commit to creating a digital version of every service you deliver. Get your Chief Executive and/or Trustees to take a lead on this. In 2001 when I was a charity CEO I told everyone we had 9 months to create a digital version of every service that we had – and we did! Digital services helps take digital out of the Communications Team and into the whole organisation. Organise your content into a knowledge base. Much of what charities deliver has an informational, signposting or assessment element to it. This is content that will form a key part of your digital service platform. Most charities already have content all over the place – in hard drives, web pages, reports, publications and mostly in people’s heads! Every organisation we go into is a bit scared of this part of the work – but it is easy. Start small and let it grow. We worked for one organisation last year that started with 30 pieces of content in a knowledge base – and in a short space of time this grew to 300 as they saw the value of getting existing content from across the organisation into an online knowledge base. Make services available on multiple channels. It’s no longer enough to have your digital services on your website. Gartner, the leading global technology consultancy, have said that by 2013 more people will access the internet over a mobile device than a personal computer. Get your services onto a mobile site or application, onto your Facebook pages and anywhere else where your service users are spending time online. Ask your stakeholders to place code on their site that creates a gateway straight into your services. Create user journeys. Many of the journeys that your service users take can be developed as digital user journeys. Integrate your digital service platform with all your other services. The problem many charities have is that digital platforms don’t integrate easily with existing CRM systems and other technology that supports existing service delivery. There is no need for this. Integration matters because today’s non-digital service user is tomorrow’s digital service user, and visa versa. We use digital service platforms to spot risk in people who would not normally walk into a drop in centre or make a call. Once we’ve spotted this risk at the least we want to call them. At Connect Assist we deploy a platform called RightNow which is an integrated digital service platform that operates on websites, Facebook, mobile devices and is used in contact centres and by caseworkers. It incorporates CRM, reporting and social media management.So I hope that has been helpful. Megan will now talk about how NCVO adopted a digital approach andafter that we hope to have a dialogue with you about this whole area. 3

×