We highlight 5 digital products that can revolutionise charities’ operations in 2020.
Some software products and services can be a gamechanger for charities, giving them extraordinary new powers to carry out the key functions of raising funds and delivering services to their causes. Here are five vital digital products and services that every charity should consider in 2020.
Data Analysis and visualisation, e.g. Tableau Desktop Professional
A major focus for many charities is a drive to become more data-driven: according to the 2019 Charity Digital Skills Report, 59% of charities want to make more effective use of data and 48% wish to use it to improve service delivery. But what is the best way to achieve this?
A key capability that charities need is a way to analyse the data that they have – wherever it stored – in order to draw valuable insights from it.
A data analysis and visualisation tool like Tableau Desktop Professional makes it relatively easy for staff to draw data from databases, or even spreadsheets, to create dashboards and interactive visualisations. Possible uses include producing interactive visuals which illustrate campaign or service delivery progress and impact, and analysing donor trends to understand the effectiveness of current marketing and fundraising campaigns. Above all, it allows staff to make decisions based on hard evidence rather than guesses or gut feelings.
Tableau Desktop Professional is well suited to charities that want to become more data-driven, and can be used by anyone familiar with the creation and use of spreadsheets. It is available at a discounted rate from the Charity Digital Exchange.
Web-based constituent relationship management (CRM) software e.g. Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud
Charity CRM systems provide charity leaders with features such as donor management, campaign management, email marketing, donation management (including the ability to take payments), donation accounting, and fundraising event management.
Installing and running a CRM system is a daunting prospect for even the largest charities, but a cloud-based system such as Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud gets around this by allowing all charity staff to access the system from a web interface with nothing to install or run onsite.
The impact of a cloud-based CRM system can be huge: charities using CRM software enjoy donor contribution growth of at least 20%, according to UKFundraising, while Salesforce claims it can increase donor retention by 24% and improve constituent engagement by 36%.
A CRM system like Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud also serves as a single database for data relating to many of a charity’s activities. This makes it easier to take advantage of that data using the system’s own analytics capabilities or using separate analytics software such as the one previously mentioned.
Phishing awareness software e.g. Cofense Phishme
Phishing attacks are by the most common form of cyber attacks, according to the government’s 2019 Cyber Security Breaches Survey, and evidence suggests that phishing is used at least in part in up to 90% of all successful data breaches.
The problem for charities is that security software cannot detect and protect against 100% of the fraudulent phishing emails and web sites that staff and volunteers may encounter, and it only takes one person to click on a phishing email or enter their password at a fraudulent website for the security of the whole charity to be compromised.
Phishing awareness software such as Cofense Phishme can help larger charities by sending harmless phishing emails staff to make it easier to recognise them. Staff that fail to recognise them can then be helped with additional training, while a blame-free reporting system allows staff to warn the IT department when they think they may have fallen victim to a phishing email. This means that IT staff can start remedial action as soon as possible.
Web-based security suite e.g. Avast Business Cloudcare
Security needs to be a very high priority for charities, both to comply with regulations such as the GDPR, and also because data breaches can be catastrophic due to the high costs and the loss of trust in the charity that they entail.
But cyber security is a very difficult discipline to master. That means that, aside from the largest charities who may have the resources to hire skilled cyber security staff, charities are well-advised to leave as much as possible to outside specialists.
A web-based security system like Avast Business CloudCare offers a web gateway which analyses, filters and sanitises internet traffic before it enters a charity’s network - so that malware never makes it onto its computer systems. Once anything suspicious such as a phishing site or a virus is detected, that site or virus is then blocked immediately for all customers. That means that they are protected from it immediately, without having to wait for a software or virus signature update.
Perhaps the biggest benefit to charities is that a web-based security system takes up little, if any, staff time because it needs no maintenance or attention from skilled staff in the way that on-premises security software or universal threat management (UTM) appliance does.
Avast Business Cloudcare is available at a discounted rate from the Charity Digital Exchange.
Whiteboard animation software e.g. Sparkol VideoScribe
Charities often need compelling video messages to help them to explain why they are needed, show how they can help, engage supporters, and convince potential donors to give them funds. Since charities financial resources are often limited, it is important that these video messages look professional without costing too much to produce.
VideoScribe by Sparkol is a clever whiteboard animation program which helps charities make explanatory, promotional, or instructional videos themselves at very low cost. They can include text, images and audio, and VideoScribe makes them appear as if they are being drawn on a whiteboard as the message of the video unfolds.
The software is easy to use and could be particularly useful to charities who want to get a message containing large amounts of information across in an easily digestible and comprehensible way.
VideoScribe by Sparkol is available at a discounted rate from the Charity Digital Exchange.