On Friday 8th May we headed down to the Institute of Fundraising’s Technology conference in London, which saw a number of industry experts come together to discuss topics ranging from data and CRM to what makes a great digital experience.
Brychan Watkins, CIO of the Royal British Legion, opened the conference with his keynote speech, ‘Bad guys, magic and myths,’ which highlighted the main challenges facing nonprofit CIOs today.
The bad guys are cyber criminals, he said: “hackers are a particular threat to the charity sector as there is always someone who doesn’t believe in what you are doing.” Cyber-attacks are becoming more sophisticated, targeting organisations from the outside and the inside. Staff can easily lose information, whether that be a stack of notes or a USP stick. What charities need to do is to make sure staff understand the consequences of losing this information and give staff the tools they need to stay secure.
In terms of magic, Watkins spoke of the technology changes which are giving people more and more freedom to do things on the move. He spoke of wearable tech, visors, and screens: how will these new emerging technologies impact the sector in the coming years?
Watkins went on to highlight some myths prevalent in the sector; one being the fear and uncertainty surrounding big data and analytics. He said: “In reality, big data techniques are simple, cheap and can be run on small devices.”
Raising IT’s Laila Takeh suggested that charities look beyond technology and focus on the humans behind it. She urged charities to think about how people will be accessing and engaging with their digital services and learn from mistakes.
“Don’t be precious when it comes to website redesign,” she advised. “You can’t include everything on the landing page. Focus on your outcomes; if you have three goals on your main page you are probably failing.” Don’t assume you know everything; carry on testing whether that’s changing the headline, pictures or colours, to see if you gain a better response.
On data, she said: “Data can help you overcome internal politics and move forward. Use it in an informed way. On its own, it means nothing.” Finally, don’t ignore the basics. One badly designed email can have a major impact and is hard to overcome.
Laura Hannan, global head of charities at POWA, opened her speech with the fact 93% of people in the UK have a smartphone and people would rather give up chocolate, alcohol and sex over broadband. Charities are exploring new donation tactics, including contactless shop windows and buckets. POWA’s innovative PowaTag app recognised the need for instantaneous donations; people act on impulse and charities need to target people while that impulse is strongest.
Christian Aid is the first charity to pioneer this technology, which allows people to donate whilst watching one of the charity’s TV ad campaigns, simply by scanning the barcode with their smartphone.
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