The charity sector is bouncing back from three years of disruption – and technology is at the heart of the recovery.
The COVID-19 pandemic followed by the cost-of-living crisis saw charities experience a reduction in funding and a simultaneous high service demand. All this, coupled with food shortages, an energy cost crisis, and UK inflation at a 40-year high means charities find themselves under increasing pressure to deliver essential support.
Yet charities are maximising technology to evolve and meet demand in post-pandemic times. From Blockchain to Artificial Intelligence, the charity sector is firmly placed at the tech forefront. Microsoft partner, Pragmatiq are amongst the leaders creating bespoke solutions for charities and businesses to greatly improve backend operations. Their research can now reveal the main charity tech trends we are likely to see in 2023.
Automation has become a vital and cost-effective tool for charities. AI assists charities and non-profit organisations by automating administrative tasks. Using digital assistants and chatbots helps charities address a higher rate of basic online questions and allow for complex queries to be escalated to human workers. It also provides users with 24/7 support and increases staff productivity while AI deals with standard enquiries. The integration of cloud-based IT services also makes it cheaper for charities to adopt AI-based automation.
Blockchain is increasingly prevalent in the charity sector in 2023. It offers full transparency, so donors can monitor how donations are used and track how money is spent. The platform helps build trust between charities/non-profit organisations and donors. In turn, donors are more likely to spend money when they can visibly see where it is being invested. Alice is an example of a digital platform that uses Blockchain to facilitate the charity sector.
Around 82% of charities placed digital at the top of their agenda following the pandemic, and more than 50% offered new online services during 2022. As a result, many charities view website improvements as central to their future success so they can support users through times of need.
The seismic shift towards digital technology means charities must make cybersecurity a key priority. Yet only 19% of UK charities have a formal cybersecurity strategy, and only 26% have carried out a cyber risk assessment. With their finances and resources already stretched, an increasing number of charities are outsourcing to a cybersecurity provider to protect their systems and prevent cyber criminals from stealing sensitive data.
Improving employees’ digital capacity through upskilling is providing the charity sector with a solid tech foundation for 2023 and beyond. Many charities combine in-house training with external digital support to develop an action plan for the delivery of customer portals, digital assistants and more.
Investment in technology and the latest IT systems is powering charities and non-profit organisations in 2023. Research from CAF’s Charity Landscape Report shows that 80% of all charity leaders whose organisation have an income of over £5 million have invested in IT, new technology & online solutions. These investments are not just for the bigger charities, 64% of charities with an income of under £1 million have done the same.
Brighton Therapy Centre is a prime example of the positive difference that investment in IT can make to a charity or non-profit organisation. BTC provide counselling and therapy for those needing mental health and wellbeing support. The centre managed information manually across multiple spreadsheets which meant:
BTC enlisted Pragmatiq, who specialise in bespoke CRM solutions for non-profits and charities, to implement a scalable Custom Business Solution involving Microsoft Dynamics 365 & Microsoft Power Platform to improve visibility, optimise communications, and enhance productivity and efficiency across the organisation to support future growth.