Five ways charities and not for profit organisations can benefit from digital collaboration
The work of the charity and non-profit industry is more in demand than ever thanks to the globally challenging conditions including the ongoing recovery from covid-19, mass conflict and numerous natural disasters. However, rising pressures on budgets for both households and businesses alike have led to a downturn in funding, donations and volunteering hours.
As a result of this, charities must continually seek innovative ways to make the best use of resources, retain top talent and maximise the external partnerships which help them to deliver their missions. One way of doing this is through the use of online collaboration tools – software which helps people across the organisation to work together simply and efficiently.
We examine five benefits charities and not for profit organisations can expect when they use digital collaboration.
1. Knowledge sharing
Siloed data across organisations is not a new thing. However, the phenomenal shift towards home-working over the last few years means it can be more difficult than ever to encourage open communication across different teams.
It’s not all bad news though. What’s been lost from informal conversations in the office has been replaced opportunities for better digital adoption whereby organisations can look towards a single source of truth for their information. When everything is stored digitally, a knowledge epicentre can be created. Everyone can work together in unison, confident they’re using the same, most up-to-date information, and important updates don’t stay trapped outside the network on someone’s C: drive.
2. Data security
It’s a common misconception that data stored in the cloud is more vulnerable than when stored under more traditional measures – when this isn’t actually the case. Using a system which has globally recognised credentials such as ISO/IEC 27001:2013, FedRAMP and SAS 70 Type II and SSAE 16 data centre accreditation for example, can give you peace of mind that all information is as secure as a bank vault would be.
Not only this – when access to files and folders is digitally tracked, you’ll be able to control who has access to which areas and full transparency over when, where and how they’ve used it – so you’ll be confident it’s not fallen into the wrong hands at any point.
3. Working with external partners
Whether it’s with other charitable organisations, government departments or delivery partners, not for profit organisations have regular dealings with stakeholders that lie outside of their organisation. This can quickly become difficult, especially if many partners are involved in the each project, each with their own IT systems, firewalls and software to negotiate.
By using a platform designed specifically for external collaboration, everyone can work together seamlessly – and new projects can be up and running in seconds without delays or bottlenecks caused by complex IT sign-off processes.
4. Team inclusivity
Similar to knowledge sharing, a challenge faced by many charities as a result of the shift to home-working, is how to make people feel like part of a team when they’re not based together in the same location. It can be difficult for project conversation to flow as freely and feedback can easily get lost as a result of email overload.
Using a specialist collaboration tool, everyone can have their say in an open and transparent workspace. Naturally, every organisation will have some people who are more happy to speak up than others, so bringing the process online can boost engagement from employees and volunteers who are more comfortable in a virtual workspace. And for charities that have teams spread across the world, digital collaboration tools remove the complicated time-zone management burden by allowing everyone to access the project when it’s convenient to them, without worrying that their opinions won’t be heard.
5. Better resource efficiency
As charities increasingly need to balance the twin challenges of greater needs for their services with reduced income, all resources need to be managed as efficiently as possible. Using online collaboration tools helps with this.
By reducing the frustrating admin bottlenecks often experienced with tasks such as searching for files, working together on documents and setting up projects, employees and volunteers alike can spend more time working the delivery of important projects. Not only this, but when everything is in one secure and accessible place, an organisation’s leaders can be confident they have the data the need to make quick decisions.
Digitals tools also help to reduce travel, rent and other operational overheads because teams don’t need to rely on physical meeting or working locations to get work done and achieve goals – which also helps charities to reach their sustainability targets, too.
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 Charity donations halved to £4.3bn last year amid cost-of-living pressures, says research (civilsociety.co.uk)