It is a well-known fact within the consumer market that consumers have different kinds of habits when it comes to adapting new products and services.
Some are enthusiasts and early adaptors who are always willing to find the latest things and embrace innovation. Others might wait a bit to see whether the latest thing is a fad or fabulous.
To some, the process of changing behaviour is a slow process and for others, their preferences will never change. In the organisational world, we’d call this habitual mindset a ‘culture’. The ability to adapt and change is very much the result of a mindset of the organisation and the individuals working within it. In the era of digital revolution, this mindset can make or break an organisation – and this applies to the charity sector and to each charity within it.
Digitalisation – software, hardware, gadgets, platforms etc. – is changing the landscape of every industry. The public is used to using all kind of real-time services, getting information and being able to communicate instantly when an idea crosses their minds. When this ‘consumer’ becomes a potential donor or volunteer, the expectations are many times not much different than they would be when operating with a commercial service provider. The world is very much seeking instant, real-time engagement – whether we want it or not.
At whatCharity, we are very much embracing digital and looking to bring positive disruption to the charity sector in the same way that hotel booking sites or TripAdvisor did for the hospitality sector. The birth of hotel and restaurant platforms totally changed the landscape, where previously big hotel and restaurant chains used to rule the market and got most of the trade. When these platforms put every service provider on a map, helped them to be found and gave customers a voice, fantastic things started to happen.
We believe that this is exactly what needs to happen within the charity sector. All of the fantastic small and local charities need to have equal opportunity to be found.
The charity sector spends approximately £3 billion on fundraising annually. We know that small charities only count for a fraction of this vast sum as their budgets are small. Embracing digital will help to even the playing field for small charities. The efficiency, reach and instant engagement that digital can provide is clearly something the sector should embrace to benefit beneficiaries and society as a whole.
Individuals and companies have a huge desire to help and to do something meaningful through supporting charities, but many find it extremely difficult to FIND charities to collaborate with.
1 in 3 people cannot name a local charity, although local charities represent 97% of the sector.
1 in 2 say they would give more to a local charity if they had a way to find them (TSB, 2016).
The challenge, in addition to first finding charities, is MATCHING with charities. Aside from donating money, matching with skills-based volunteering, gifts in kind and more services and products that a company could offer is currently very difficult. Many of these resources are called ‘perishable’ e.g. time set aside for volunteering or when clearing company storage or home cupboards, – if they do not find a home swiftly, they are not available anymore.
But, we know that now there’s no need to dwell on these challenges, as technology can help. Digital is the answer to match the charities to their perfect donors and funders – in just the same way that dating sites match people!
whatCharity has launched an advanced search engine for the sector TODAY (on 21th May 2019) and bring the matchmaking of charities and the public to the totally new level. We have 15 months of experience and knowledge from running our original site and have collaborated with hundreds of charities and companies. We also now have over 40,000 unique users on our site.
Our new service is within reach of every charity. All sizes and types of charities can match with potential donors and volunteers based on their preferences and resources requests. We show all shops, offices, operational units and areas of outreach on a map and have cross-referenced that with several filters. Yes, the ‘Tripadvisor’ of the charity sector is here!
Now it just comes down to mindset – are you an early adaptor or a slowpoke? Digital solutions are only vehicles to reach the public, but engagement is built by charities showing up, sharing your wonderful work and presenting the opportunity to the public to make a difference with you. Therefore, we call all charities to join us with enthusiasm, because ‘Doing Good Shouldn´t Be Complicated’!
whatCharity.com is for charities who embrace transparency and donor and volunteer engagement. Premium profiles start from just £4 a month for asking for money, goods, services, skills and trustees https://about.whatcharity.com/forcharities
Thank you to all The FSI members who took part in the Big Volunteer Survey 2019. Read here about the challenges, good news and tips for more engaging volunteering and how digitalisation can help https://goodreads.whatcharity.com/amazing-volunteering-insights-to-mark-volunteers-week/
Out of all survey responses, we picked a charity who received £200 donation for staff and volunteer recreation. See who the winner is and check out their fully completed profile on whatCharity https://goodreads.whatcharity.com/dementia-adventure/