Finance News: The failure to get to grips with IT is costing charities millions

Mathew Little

Charities waste millions of pounds a year on botched IT projects, according to the Charity Finance Directors' Group's IT adviser.

John Tate said that IT was "badly dealt with by charities" with far too many examples of IT projects going wrong and managers not getting the benefits they expected.

He said mistakes were frequently made in developing fundraising websites or membership and administration systems. Organisations were often hit by computer viruses because they don't have the infrastructure to deal with them.

"Tens of millions, even hundreds of millions are wasted across the sector," he said. But he added that IT had the potential to "transform the way charities work".

His comments come on the back of a survey by the group that found that less than a third of charities have an "IT champion" at board level and less than half have senior management with IT expertise.

Tate said: "The problem starts at the top - chief executives and senior managers need to get stuck into IT and undertake a strategic approach.

Some chief executives don't want an IT champion at board level because they fear they having the wool pulled over their eyes."

But Tate said charities could also reap enormous benefits from IT.

"As a result of developments in the web, there is now an unrivalled opportunity to link people to organisations and achieve huge efficiency gains," he said.

CFDG is organising a series of workshops to enable charities to make the most of IT and is encouraging private sector support.

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