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Saturday, 13 July 2024

Technology adoption is key to seamless operations as hybrid roles soar

THE proportion of fundraising jobs that allow staff to work between home and office rose by 900 per cent last year, which is great for the sector as an approach to attracting and retaining talent.

The figures, which the Chartered Institute of Fundraising (CIoF) requested CharityJob to explore, are based on recruitment data comparisons of 2019 versus 2022. They highlight that 52 per cent of all advertised fundraising jobs in 2022 were hybrid, versus just 5 per cent in 2019.  

So while this is a very positive step, charities must also ensure they are adequately geared up to facilitate this hybrid approach, and that operations are not hindered – especially at a time of the rising cost of living impacting fundraising efforts, and building and maintaining donor loyalty reportedly being a bigger challenge with generation Z donors. 

Having the right technology solutions in place to ensure staff can work seamlessly regardless of location, access the right tools to do their jobs, and achieve efficiencies in processes is key. And while the pandemic may have forced many to implement some sort of technology to aid this, with the rise of remote and hybrid working, they should be certain that they are maximising all of the functionality available, or consider implementing elements that may not have been part of the technology implementation’s first phase.

Empowering employees through easy access and automation of tasks

For organisations still managing operations via multiple systems, with information in disparate silos, then there’s no doubt they’re missing out on a whole world of benefits. The time that can be wasted searching for information across spreadsheets and a variety of applications can be colossal; for an operative trying to maximise fundraising results, it’s time that could be spent moving seamlessly between the current and the next potential donor and clinching that all-important support. For hybrid workers that need to access various systems while moving between home and office, the situation can be even more problematic and lack of access might lead to them using old records or not updating records accurately. 

Data accuracy is key for fundraisers – and when data has been entered manually in one system, any required donor record updates across other systems also must be manual. It’s easy to see how in this process mistakes could occur, leading to inaccurate and differing records – and especially with a hybrid worker with sporadic access to the right information. A donor being addressed on a call with incorrect or old information could be detrimental to the charity. Equally, there could be nothing more frustrating for a fundraising operative than having to move between various information sources to gain a view of a supporter while they are trying to provide a personalised approach. 

Being able to access important information such as donation history, transactions and preferred payment methods in one place is crucial for the operative in doing their job effectively, and avoiding frustration on the part of the donor if a fundraising call is drawn out due to having to find this information while they wait. 

Many of the solutions available to facilitate seamless remote or hybrid working – such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 (D365) – can automate time-consuming manual tasks and provide access to records where all required data is accurate, up-to-date and in one place. Much of this is achieved through automation, and operatives can see a single version of the truth on one unified platform. The fact that the solutions are cloud-based means access can be gained anytime, anywhere and on any device – so it’s hybrid worker ready.

At a time when many economic factors are having a real impact on the third sector, jeopardising donors through time wastage or incorrect data could be throwing away vital funds.

Optimising fundraising opportunities through efficient donor management

Donor behaviour has changed significantly in recent years, and research conducted by a creative agency, as part of the Cost of Giving Monitor series, highlighted that a large proportion of generation Z donors are averse to choosing a favourite charity to benefit from their giving and are likely instead to switch support between causes. This is at the opposite end of the scale to donors 70 years old and above, where 80 per cent said they would remain with the charities they already fund in any circumstance.

Baby boomers also were on the loyal end of the scale. It’s clear to see that with a wide range of attitudes to giving, organisations must provide hybrid fundraisers with the right tools for effective and efficient donor management, which is key to maximising all fundraising opportunities among these groups with differing approaches. Additionally, the importance of strengthening relationships through personalisation is high. 

Gaining insights into donor habits enables the effective targeting of donors, and this is greatly aided by technology solutions. Platforms like Microsoft D365 facilitate the monitoring of donor patterns and make insights easily available so that donor opportunities can be maximised. Fundraisers, from wherever they are working, can ensure the most active donors can be kept engaged with personalised communications, which will in turn strengthen loyalty. While those donors that may be sporadic in support can be targeted with effective communications that may persuade them to formalise regular support.

With out-of-the-box capabilities to manage all types of donors and pledges, no donor needs to fall through the cracks and be lost – which is an important challenge in a competitive landscape. Having these capabilities in a cloud-based solution that hybrid workers can access and execute easily can revolutionise fundraising efforts and outcomes.

The cost-of-living crisis is reportedly not hitting existing funds too hard – with many people maintaining their current giving levels – but the issue of expanding funds and securing future income is a real one for the third sector. Technology adoption will assist charities and not-for-profits with the right efficiencies and insights to help achieve this, regardless of where their fundraising operatives are working from.

Technology adoption is key to seamless operations as hybrid roles soar
Ian Robertson.

Ian Robertson is the Sales and Marketing Director of BrightBridge, a UK-based technology consultancy offering Oracle NetSuite and Microsoft Dynamics 365 solutions. Ian has over 30 years of experience in ERP and CRM implementations. Prior to forming BrightBridge, Ian worked for a major US IT corporation, where he acquired a depth of knowledge around time-saving efficiencies through technological integration and automation. 


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