When charities partner with technology companies, both parties notice mutual benefits along the way. In a recent article for the Guardian Voluntary Sector, Rosie Nivan rounds up some examples of successful partnerships.
The Royal London Society for the Blind (RLSB) teamed up with tech giants IBM to create the Chatty Web. This technology makes it easier for blind and partially sighted people to browse the web. Rather than use a screen reader, which is time consuming and varies from website to website, the team developed a product which is controlled by the user’s voice.
Another example of a successful collaboration is Reward Your World which is backed by Reading Voluntary Action, Reading Council, Berkshire Community Foundation and a number of local businesses. Volunteers earn points which can be spent shopping online, travelling by bus or donating to charities. Reward Your World co-founder Dan Gipple said: “Charities should be very careful about what they set out to do on their own. It can be an expensive and lengthy process to prototype technology so it is useful to find ways of partnering with others.”
Lyme Regis Development Trust is another charity working with a technology firm. It created an augmented reality app with the Natural History Museum to help visitors to the Jurassic Coast learn about its fossil-rich environment.
Tom Pey at RLSB says: “There’s no point in going to a global company with a narrow problem. You need to come to them with a possible solution that can benefit them too. Otherwise, we would be kidding ourselves and be unfair on them. If you want to be their partner you need to be businesslike. Don’t bring them a problem, bring a business opportunity.”
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