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How charities can embrace technology


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The missions of charities are as wide ranging as the number of issues that different societies face across the world, however any cause can benefit from embracing the advances in technology that are taking place all around us.

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How charities can embrace technology

  1. 1. How Charities CanEmbraceTechnology© STUART MITCHELL 2013
  2. 2. Introduction  Charities face issues as wide ranging as those faced by all societies across the world  Any cause, however, can benefit from embracing advances in technology. For example:  communicating causes to the general public  increasing funding and volunteer recruitment  carrying out work to help the disadvantaged  Technology can help charities become more:  efficient  effective  dynamic
  3. 3. Publicity and Fundraising:The Internet Pt1  Big challenges facing charities are:  publicising their causes and the work that they do  raising the funding that they fundamentally rely upon  The internet allows charities to:  inform the general public and potential donors what they do and why  obtain their funding or services directly from their donors  recruit volunteers through social networks  It‟s never been easier to create a web presence through:  standalone web sites  incorporating engaging rich content including videos, games, blogs and infographics  social networking sites  Charities can integrate off-the-shelf e-commerce systems, such as PayPal or WorldPay, to  receive donations  operate online charity shops
  4. 4. Publicity and Fundraising:The Internet Pt2  A simple web site or blog can be created by a computer literate charity worker  However, digital development or web design agencies can provide a rich online presence  Some agencies will specialise in working with charities  using flexible „agile‟ practices  possibly offering special concessions (e.g., discounts, free resource etc)  It is important for each charity to:  find the right agency for them  form a strong relationship with the agency to achieve best results
  5. 5. Publicity and Fundraising:Social Networking Pt1  There has been a boom in social networking such as Facebook or Twitter  Social Networks give charities a way to:  reach the communities that form on these networks  communicate directly with them  The premise of sharing means that:  a charity‟s message can be easily shared and recommended across the communities (and sometimes the general public too)  the message can spread in a way and at a speed previously not possible  …if they can engage effectively with users of these sites
  6. 6. Publicity and Fundraising:Social Networking Pt2  A charity‟s reach can be greatest when it combines its own website channel with social media channels to:  promote information and updates from their own website through social media  organise fundraising events  participants can buy into the cause and actively share it with their communities to raise awareness, sponsorship and encourage other participants to volunteer  Blogs/social media updates integrated with online donation facilities can provide running feedback on:  the success of fundraising activities  the effectiveness of the work that is being carried out with those funds  Donors are able to see exactly where and how their money is being used  increasing motivation to provide further funding
  7. 7. Publicity and Fundraising:Mobile Internet/Apps Pt1  The twin benefits of mobile technology:  Charities can provide updates whilst working „in the field‟  The public can access information and donate from wherever they are  For example, a charity worker providing aid in the wake of a natural disaster can:  tweet from their mobile device as they are on the scene  record an on-location video diary  …to bring the extent of the crisis to the attention of the public  Can be the only information outlet when operating in difficult scenarios
  8. 8. Publicity and Fundraising:Mobile Internet/Apps Pt2  Mobile donations can be made via:  mobile apps  mobile browsers  text messages (with money taken from the mobile bill)  Chance of more donations when the urge/motivation occurs on-the-go  no need to wait until back home or at the nearest bank  Chance of greater generosity with money being transferred in a digital „virtual‟ medium
  9. 9. Working With Tech:Intro Pt1  Aforementioned technologies can have more direct applications  can assist the work that charities carry out  Charities can benefit from technologies such as:  extensive wide area networks (WAN)  secure communication between fixed remote locations  virtual private networks (VPN)  secure communication between any remote locations  the connectivity of wireless technology and 3G connections  portable smartphones and tablets
  10. 10. Working With Tech:Intro Pt2  …by improving:  the speed with which data can be shared  communication between fixed and roaming locations  …to become more  responsive  effective  efficient  Charities can take their work to those who need it most  What‟s more, technology can be promoted to help the vulnerable become:  self sufficient  empowered  integrated into society
  11. 11. Working With Tech:Efficiencies in Health Care Pt1  Healthcare technology often at the forefront of technological advances  e.g., scanners and robotic surgical devices  revolutionising the effectiveness of both diagnosis and treatment  can be very costly  inspiration for other areas  Mobile technology can overcome obstacles faced by healthcare workers on location
  12. 12. Working With Tech:Efficiencies in Health Care Pt2  Example of creative use of existing tech:  robots on which tablet computers are attached, providing video conferencing facilities  mobile face to face communication tools  can be used at the patients bedside  allows consultations to occur between patient and doctor even when the two parties are in different hospitals  ensures that the patient receives the most appropriate consultation and in good time  makes the hospital efficient (the cost is not small but is less than employing extra staff)  better use of resources for all its patients
  13. 13. Working With Tech:Mobile Devices in the Field Pt1  Mobile devices can provide a commentary in the field on:  charity work being done  and the conditions being faced by charity workers  Also invaluable in sharing information between charity workers,  instantaneously  on the go  The demands of the in-need can be responded to more effectively and expeditiously
  14. 14. Working With Tech:Mobile Devices in the Field Pt2  For example:  International charity workers who are treating patients in the field can communicate symptoms to colleagues based in a central location, using mobile phones, text messaging, instant messaging email and even video, so that the diagnoses and treatments can be determined remotely but then implemented on location, straight away  Alternatively workers can use these mobile technologies to arrange and change logistical planning whilst in the field, to respond dynamically where the need is greatest by communicating and researching the information they need as they go
  15. 15. Working With Tech:Corporate Giving  Charities employing any technology should always:  approach the original provider (or any other big business that has charitable links)  …to see whether there are any cost savings to be had due to their charitable status  Providers may offer concessions and discounts  Some may provide services gratis as part of their corporate giving schemes, e.g.:  staff time and expertise  digital services  computing resource (e.g., cloud hosting)
  16. 16. Tools for the Disadvantaged:Intro  Many technologies can be employed by the people themselves who the charities are supporting  They can be used to solve some of the obstacles that they face in their everyday lives  Charities are vital in:  increasing the awareness of these technologies and their benefits  rolling them out to those who will make use of them
  17. 17. Tools for the Disadvantaged:Accessible Tools Pt1  There is a growing awareness in technological circles of the concept of accessibility:  making technology usable for those with disabilities  More websites, mobile phones and computers are becoming usable by such groups  These individuals are gaining a rich medium through which to access the world around them  Examples of accessible technologies include:  the use of screen readers with compatible websites to provide content to the visually impaired  large button/display mobile phones  intelligent zoom functions on any type of device  voice activated controls
  18. 18. Tools for the Disadvantaged:Accessible Tools Pt2  Accessible technologies can allow individuals to:  communicate with friends and family where they may have struggled in the past  become more self sufficient (e.g., maintaining jobs or simply doing their own online shopping)  reach the support they need more readily, whether it be:  their carer/charity worker contacts  valuable online support groups and communities which they can use to share and received advice and counsel
  19. 19. Tools for the Disadvantaged:Mobile Tools Pt1  Cutting edge technology can therefore help disadvantaged individuals improve their own quality of life, through:  charities finding ways to utilise the technology that the individual already owns  introducing new solutions that can also be of benefit  Accessible digital technology can be used for:  self monitoring  e.g., events, symptoms or medication  either in cloud based calendars or specially built applications  for accessing advice and support on tap (as above)  for interactive, accessible, intuitive and engaging learning and education or for mobility
  20. 20. Tools for the Disadvantaged:Mobile Tools Pt2  In particular the burgeoning smart mobile phone market with its:  internet capabilities (using WiFi, 3G and soon 4G)  plethora of apps  built in cameras and video recorders  touch screens  …has delivered a pocket sized solution  combining so many of the latest technologies  making them available in an accessible medium and free of location ties  in a format which can therefore be taken to those who most need it wherever they are  More specific examples of how these possibilities have been realised include:  mobile apps which use in-built cameras to read QR (quick response) barcodes on packets of medication to take the user to a web page with all the information and guidelines that they require,  one touch mobile devices which can be used by victims of domestic abuse to alert the authorities when they are being abused and record the event as evidence (e.g., Vodafone‟s TecSOS service).
  21. 21. Summary  It has never been more affordable for charities to:  make use of such integrated high technology themselves  promote the adoption of that technology amongst individuals in-need  Thanks in part to the mass market adoption of mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets  The market moves forward at such a pace it is just a question of “watch this space” for the possibilities that lie ahead in the next few years
  22. 22. Useful Resources  The Charity Commission  Vodafone‟s Mobile for Good Foundation Videos  Web Design Agency Specialising in Not For Profit Sectors  Law Firm Specialising in Charity Law  Cloud Based Hosting Services for Organisations  The Charity Technology Trust for Advice and Services  Charity Technology News from Suppliers and Charities