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Technology is the future for Charities

NEWS | November 27th 2020

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. We can all look back and think about what we could change - there have definitely been some positive outcomes. Here are the observations for 2020

Article by Nathan Baranowski



The world is complex, and despite uncertainty and the unease we have felt this year, we have all learned to adapt and change. Adopting technology and picking up new skills along the way, mostly because we had to.

We have been on a change curve since March, and tech has played a significant role in making things easier. The cloud, anywhere access and connectivity have found their way to the centre of our worlds, and it looks set to remain as we embrace digital as part of an on-going blended approach to a better physical and virtual way of life. We should use this as a building block and keep the momentum up.


Being purposeful and agile

We can all innovate, and it has been staggering to see how it’s possible to deliver MVP (Minimum Viable Product) through a more agile approach to deliver solutions at pace and refine and develop through iterative continual improvement thereafter.

The “Why” of it all is still the key whether you see this year as a great pause or incredible accelerator. Purpose driven organisations are fuelling the future and being a charity by name is simply not enough. It’s heartening to see so many leaders in the civil society enabling people to have voices, to be heard and have the freedom to get creative, to make mistakes and learn to celebrate success when teams get there. This is where values and ways of working come into their own, and help the dedicated teams to not only survive, but to thrive.


The power of community

#weareallinthistogether really has been seen, the power of community shone through like a beaming light to ensure the spirit and positivity remained from the outset. The ability of social media to connect those in need and enable real time communication as a way to support or simply ask for help. And to highlight such important milestones as Black Lives Matter to really harness the effect of coming together for good. Doing the right thing – be it virtual fundraising activities, participating in events or volunteering - has pushed many charities to engage, be bold and ask directly.


Using data for good

Data is the new oil. However big data doesn’t always mean big intelligence. Data needs to help us drive our understanding, guide our attention and inform our decisions - but not necessarily make them for us. Specifically, in the charity sector the role of 360 giving, transparency in where my money is being used and how my support is impacting are key questions supporters and donors want to know. The role of blockchain to support this is likely to return. 


Digital is here to stay

We are on a digital roller coaster and should not get complacent. We're in for the long game. We need to recognise some are further ahead than others and we don’t have all the skills to do it all right now. We need to recognise where we need to learn and give time by pacing change to ensure we embed and sustain the future and enjoy the ride.

Digital should be and needs to be centre of your organisational operating model. The basics of IT need to be firmly behind and attention moving to adopting and maturing fast. With 2 years of advancement in 2 months we need to recognise that what was thought to be longer term ambitions will be arriving in the short term.

From leveraging AI and machine learning, maximising cloud and data intelligence and security to consuming and delivering services through platforms as a service and apps we need to think about our charity in a digital 1st world that is virtual first and physical second. Now is the time for us all to leap forward and develop our own digital future.

If COVID has shown us one thing it is that anything is possible. The only limit to our ability to realise our dreams is our own thinking of what is possible.



About the author

Nathan Baranowski

Digital Strategy & Solutions Architect

Chief Wondermaker and Head of Big Thinking, Tech Innovation & Solution Design at the wonderlab of all things digital, Nathan is the lead data scientist and "Super Thinker" in the team - and makes a great cup of coffee (or two).

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