The 22nd Charities and Associations Event, CHASE 2014, took place on 11th-12 February at the Business Design Centre in London. Hundreds of charity professionals came together to meet a range of sector specialist suppliers and gain valuable insights from expert speakers.
Charity Digital News was there on Tuesday to find out about how charities can use technology and social media to improve service delivery, engage donors and boost fundraising opportunities.
During his seminar, Naked CRM, Iain Pritchard from Adapta Consulting spoke about the market trends in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems and gave a guide for charities choosing their software. “Platform solutions are here to stay,” he said, referring to suppliers which give charities accessibility and the ability to engage supporters in the field.
He advised that small charities look to the future, and upgrade their CRM databases through their supplier as they grow. He also suggested that charities take an adaptive approach when selecting their CRM system, picking a few suppliers and prototyping for a quality outcome.
Simon Boyle from ICS Business Box discussed the benefits of cloud technology and how, despite some charities having their doubts over issues of security, cloud offers the most robust solution to storing data.
In her insightful seminar, GiveAsYouLive’s Polly Gowers unveiled the results of the Digital Donor Review which found an increase in text giving and a significant decrease in direct debit. She highlighted the idea of a transactional relationship with your donors, as many people like to get something in return for their donation.
The review saw that women engage with charities on Facebook, and men via YouTube. Young people, however, are turning away from Facebook. It is perhaps no longer seen as the ‘cool’ social media channel because parents often have Facebook profiles themselves. Charities should therefore choose wisely to meet their donor’s needs. It was found that 83% of UK charities don’t have a mobile strategy, which, with the abundance of smartphones in the world, is a shocking statistic.
Jon Biedermann, however, thinks that charities are overestimating the power of social media in fundraising. Although he urged charities not to abandon it altogether, he discussed the importance of taking a multichannel approach, particularly reaching out to donors via email. “Email is more effective than posting on Facebook” he said, because Facebook ‘likes’, however many you receive, do not generate income.
Fazal Ahmed spoke about how Humanity First uses social media; to raise awareness, funds, bring like minds together and share best practices. He encouraged charities to create a social intranet where supporters can meet and chat online, boosting awareness of the cause.
So what can charities take from CHASE 2014? Remember your audience and what social channels they are using, don’t put all your energy into one channel and most importantly, stay abreast of upcoming trends in the charity technology sector as it is constantly evolving. It’s sink or swim!
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