How charities can utilise technology to their advantage

Charitable acts are on the increase as the economy returns to stability, and charities stand to gain in both the engagement and giving stakes if they know how to take advantage of the favourable economic conditions.

Late last year it emerged that the world became a more generous place, with increases recorded in the number of people donating money or volunteering their time to help those less fortunate than themselves. According to the World Giving Index 2013, more than three-quarters of the British population donated money to charity in a typical month, while more than a quarter of people gave their time to charitable endeavours.

But sustaining an increased level of engagement and calling onboard a greater number of people is not without its challenges, which is where technology come into play. Many people spend significant portions of their daily lives using computers, smartphones, tablets and the like, presenting countless opportunities for charities to reach out to new audiences, or sustain the interest of those they already have onboard.

There are all sorts of measures charities can take to ensure optimum opportunities for engagement, including:

Social media campaigns

More than a quarter of time spent on the internet is through social media, and charities stand to reach billions of people by utilising the networks. The content produced and shared over social media is vitally important to engagement, and this can be anything from a blog post or infographic to video content or thoughts on a recent piece of legislation.

Images and interactive media like competitions and surveys can be useful in getting people to interact with the charity and become more aware of its brand, while shareability is another important element, helping charities spread their message.

Another growing phenomenon in the social media realm is the use of the hashtag; both Twitter and Facebook use the method to draw interest to a specific word or phrase, and this could be a useful technique with regards to current campaigns.

Going mobile

The advent of smartphones means people are increasingly browsing the internet, checking their social media platforms and sending or receiving email over the phone, driving companies and charities to make mobile-friendly versions of their websites or create apps that people can use on the go.

More than 60 per cent of people go online using their phones, and charities could extend their reach by ensuring their websites and social media can be accessed and used with ease on mobile platforms.

To ensure users have an optimum experience, the website should be attuned to mobile viewing and easy to navigate. It can be useful to optimise the website so it’s easy to find from search engines, while links from social media can also help to drive traffic.

Specialist streamlining software

In order to make it easy for those who cooperate with the charity to know about important dates or events, utilisingspecialist tools like event registration software can help charities keep track of numbers for events, also sending out invitations at specific times and reminders about important events to delegates.

Some firms develop technology that integrates easily into businesses or charities’ own technology frameworks, and it’s possible to find software that is compatible both with PCs and mobile internet.

There’s also scope to develop software that allows interested parties to donate over their phones by simply sending a text message, or by making a payment directly through the charity’s website. These joined-up solutions can make consumers’ experiences feel easy and seamless, inciting them to stay connected with the charity.