Charity Technology Uses – A Diversifying Marketplace

Technology is now allowing charities to:

– speed up service delivery through intelligent routing of schedules to key staff
– help employees and volunteers embrace mobile apps and the cloud to route data straight into a CRM
– Speed up reporting to funders by linking them directly with clients and their outcomes

Traditionally, due to lack of funds, resources and technical know how the charity sector has been slow to adopt Information Technology as a key tool for delivering its operations. Of course, we all now obviously use Email and probably use a work smart phone. We may also collect “data” in spreadsheets and use different server client software packages for Finance, Fundraising and HR. Unfortunately, sustained and joined up development in these areas has usually been severely limited due to the prohibitive prices of the way traditional IT works.
However, with the development of new areas of IT such as Cloud Computing and Social Media, charities have begun to take advantage of these reduced cost options and exploit their enormous flexibility and scalability. As a result IT is now developing into an innovative and cost affective vehicle for charities to communicate widely and directly with beneficiaries and supporters and prove their effectiveness, efficiency and transparency to all relevant stakeholders.

Salesforce.com offers charities free access to its cutting edge CRM system and the charity sector seems to be embracing this asset with gusto. Increasing we are finding our clients are coming to us with more and more diverse business requirements and the desire to realise their projects using Salesforce.com. Fortunately the great flexibility and scalability of Salesforce is allowing us to make these plans a reality by building bespoke Apps that are allowing our customers to:

• Manage online mentoring schemes where mentoring professionals can logon and manage contact with mentees and advise them on next steps, plus oversee things such as their progress in job applications.

• Manage corporate volunteers so they can be quickly and easily matched with internal projects and their feedback and effectiveness monitored and evaluated.

• Link service delivery outputs and outcomes directly with specific donations so the complete fundraising lifecycle can be tracked from the donor right down to where the money is spent and exactly which individuals it is benefiting.

• Integrate Salesforce with existing charity websites in order to sell services to beneficiaries and use the beneficiaries initial website data inputting to set up beneficiary records and route these records to the correct member of staff in order to commence immediate informed support.

• Manage complex logistical operations such as foodbanks where virtual food vouchers can be issued to community professionals and then passed on to beneficiaries who can cash these vouchers in for corresponding food parcels.

– Moreover thanks to the Salesforce 1 App and the use of smart devices such as Phones and Tablets all of these Apps and functionality are now available to charity staff and volunteers in the field and on the move. One client is taking advantage of mobile technology to allow shift workers to access and update their weekly rotas “in the field” thus making significant time and cost savings in organising staff.

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