"What you're supposed to do when you don't like a thing is change it. If you can't change it, change the way you think about it."
Charities often have the worst of both worlds. They have restricted budgets but many operate like enterprises in terms of structure and operations. So, when it comes to making the most out of emerging technology, change is especially difficult.
Since starting my new role at WPNC I've gone deep down the third sector rabbit hole. There's a real appetite for change, especially when it comes to the way digital can enhance what they do. One thing that strikes me is the general sense that technological change will be slow and expensive. Take CRM systems for example. Several charities I've spoken to want a more modern, powerful approach to CRM but the selection and implementation process is estimated at 6-18 months!
That's the glacial speed that enterprises operate at. Our company implemented a modern CRM system in 2 days and halved our running costs. Admittedly, I've had the privilege of building a career out of playing with the latest technologies, so we had a head start when it comes to knowing what's possible.
But knowing what's possible is a really easy thing to share. Just ask someone you trust.
So I've been thinking a lot about "digital transformation". It's sold by the big agencies and consultancies as enterprise-changing, which it certainly can be. It's not as daunting, time-consuming or expensive as they suggest, though. You can start your transformation with a small "t". It doesn't have to affect the daily operation of your entire organisation from day one. Often, a small, bottom-up approach can be more effective than a mandate from on-high. Modern tools are cheap and designed to adapt easily to changing needs. Many are, dare I say it, a pleasure to use.
Here are some things you might find interesting...
Digital inspiration for charities - webinar
I know, webinar fatigue is a thing. I'm doing a short one on Feb 22nd, though. Yes, it'll be recorded because, honestly, we forgot to send out invites and the ones that were sent went out over half term. See why we needed that CRM system? So on this one it'll probably be me speaking to my webcam, all alone. We normally get 100+ attendees on charity-focused webinars so, like with many things, I'm looking to buck that trend and get 5. Join me!
Generative AI for Charities - looking beyond the hype
Um, yes, this is also me. Not a webinar though, this time. I'm speaking at the Be More Digital Conference 2023, organised by Charity Digital. I think I've forgotten how to wear a lanyard so excuse any potential awkwardness.