Charity work is a noble pursuit, and there are many highly successful charities out there, who have made a big impact. As technology has developed, there have been some fascinating applications in the charity sector, and technology continues to influence and shape the way charities work.
There is a misconception with many people, that non-profit organisations operate in an antiquated or low-tech way – perhaps due to the association with street fundraising and collection boxes. However, this is far from the truth. We even spoke with an IT support provider London based charities have been working with for years. The company, TechQuarters, has seen the level of demand in the non-profit sector for cutting edge technology solutions. The simple truth is that leveraging technology enables charities to increase their impact, and fundraise more effectively.
How Have Charities Used Technology Over the Years
Nowadays, it is generally agreed that leveraging technology is an important part of developing a business. With IT becoming crucial across most sectors, and the small business IT support London providers like TechQuarters offer growing in demand, it makes sense that businesses – including charities – should start considering the ways that they can use technology to support – or enhance – their services. As a matter of fact, some of the most successful strategies ever implemented by charities were ones that leveraged technology to raise awareness, or even redefine how the public can engage with and support charities.
A charitable organisation known as TAP London setup a series of contactless payment devices across London, which allowed pedestrians to quickly and easily donate £3 to the London Homelessness Collective – an organisation comprised of 29 different charities. This campaign has raised over £140,000 since it was established.
In the past, cashless donations to charities were mainly associated with monthly donations via direct debit. One-off contactless payment donations – such as TAP London and SnapDonate – allow people to donate in-person and spontaneously, without the need for physical cash (as with traditional public fundraising).
Social Media Marketing
Social media is widely agreed to be an incredibly valuable resource for all businesses, because of the marketing potential that it offers. As a technology that connects millions of people daily, social media is a perfect way to spread information and raise awareness, which is exactly what charities need. In 2014, the ALS & Motor Neurone Association created a viral social media campaign called the Ice Bucket Challenge – where over 17 million people participated, and the campaign raised over £115 million in just 4 weeks.
Virtual Reality is a very valuable technology that has been imagined for many decades, and is just recently being developed into a viable experience. VR is used a lot in gaming, but it is also being implemented in fields such as the military, medicine, and construction – as it allows companies in this field to run training simulations in a safe, controlled environment.
In 2016, the National Autistic Society developed a marketing campaign called Too Much Information. For this campaign, a series of immersive VR videos were created, to simulate the daily situations that autistic people often experience.
How is Technology Shaping the Work of Charities?
Technology for charities is a constantly evolving and growing field, and there are many examples of how technology is becoming more relevant in the charitable sector. As a company that provides IT support for charities, TechQuarters has seen first-hand the types of goals that modern charitable organisations have, and they confirmed that technology – whether it is leveraged internally or for public-facing purposes – is a high priority for many organisations.
From alternative payments methods such as seamless payment (PayPal, Apple Pay, etc,) and contactless payments, to the increased prevalence of mobile applications, which has been leveraged by Oxfam with their My Oxfam app, and even the increasing prevalence of social media, and all the ways that has been (and continues to be) used by charities to raise awareness.