Being a leader and developing an IT strategy for any organisation is challenging, and when you’re working for a charity or non-profit it gets that bit more difficult. There is an unquestionable need for UK non-profits to respond to the many challenges affecting the sector today, such as changing supporter expectations, data regulations, client service demands, funding restrictions and an unstable socio-economic situation. However, the pressure for non-profits to go digital, get connected and ultimately transform in order to combat some of these challenges can often confuse the strategy to do just that, leaving many non-profits unsure of how or where to start.
"Organisation size, available funds, skilled resources and leadership buy-in all influence how a non-profit can transform digitally, but the flexibility of digital means that these can inform your journey, rather than limit it," explains Charlotte Finn, VP marketing and external relations at Salesforce.org. "To truly grow their impact, organisations need to be able to drive innovation, and this is dramatically slowed down when teams need to focus on the projects that simply ‘keep the lights on'. By digitally transforming their businesses, charitable organisations can follow the lead of today’s most disruptive companies by empowering their teams with the tools for innovation that can, in turn, drive further impact in the community."
A recent Skills Platform report showed that only 9 per cent of UK charities had undertaken a digital transformation and less than half of them had a digital strategy in place. The recent report by the Commission on the Donor Experience provides recommendations for how charities can and should improve engagement with donors – namely, placing them at the heart of fundraising. However, without the introduction of digital platforms, having a complete view of your donors isn’t possible, which, in turn, slows down any quality engagement.
Not many would challenge the fact that digital transformation is necessary to respond to industry challenges. But if non-profits are to be successful in doing this they need to understand that every digital transformation journey will be unique. The non-profit world is a complex one: mission, organisational structure, size, geological spread and technological understanding are just a few aspects that make the needs of each organisation distinctly unique. Stage one of any digital transformation project is to understand your organisation and define a path that’s achievable, maximises your resources, aligns to your mission goals and works to the rhythm of your people, your supporters and your wider stakeholders. Digital should help you reach your mission and goals, not define it.
On 30 November, Salesforce.org will host its annual Connected Non-profit Conference in London, helping non-profits from across the UK realise their "art of the possible". Expect to be inspired by non-profit innovators sharing their lessons learned through digital transformation, and to learn about opportunities and approaches to digital transformation through hands-on workshops and theatre sessions.
The Connected Non-profit Conference will bring together the growing community of non-profit trailblazers from across the UK and give attendees the chance to engage with the wider Salesforce and Salesforce.org eco-system, supporting them on their path to impact and mission success.
The event is free to attend but tickets are limited. Please register early to secure your ticket.