We examine how Office 365 helped Christ Church Virginia Water to digitised their services when COVID-19 struck
Amidst difficult times, many people turn to religion for succour. But the current pandemic presents unique challenges for religious charities - how do you provide spiritual and pastoral care to dispersed congregations with little or no digital infrastructure in place? Particularly when your service users may lack digital skills and technology themselves?
The answer begins with sound underlying structures. Before a charity (or indeed any organisation) can provide remote digital services to their beneficiaries, they must first ensure that their staff and volunteers are connected.
Christ Church Virginia Water provides religious guidance and support for their local community. Their vision is ‘to see every member of the Church being informed, inspired and engaging in the practical, prayerful and financial needs of local, national and international mission.’
The church offers a wide range of spiritual and theological programmes and provides a base for liturgical study and fellowship in the form of home groups, men and women’s groups and youth ministries.
Like many local charities, their usual methods of service delivery have been disrupted by COVID-19. Fortunately, they were quick to act and have been able to offer a wide range of digital support for their local Christian community.
The religious charity has been providing a number of services and liturgical studies online, through Youtube’s live streaming platform. This includes regular church services, as well as bible study and specialised ministries.
The charity previously used Dropbox for filesharing but found that they did not have enough space for their needs. Expanding their storage with the platform would have been prohibitively expensive and would have added additional obstacles to collaborative remote work.
Christ Church Virginia Water purchased subscriptions to Office 365 Business Premium. Initially, they identified Outlook and Sharepoint as a solution to their file-sharing issues.
Whilst no-one in the sector could have anticipated such a sudden and dramatic departure from the usual way of doing things, charities with sound digital systems have been able to mitigate the fallout from lockdown.
Microsoft Teams is being used throughout the organisation to enable faster and easier communication between staff members, including sharing screens on conference calls, instant messaging and quick and easy file-sharing.
These communication and collaboration tools have been vital in allowing Christ Church Virginia Water to quickly establish a plan of action and roll out digital services. With easy access to conference calls and simple-to-use file sharing, the charity has been able to work together remotely - collaborating on projects in real-time.
Outlook’s integrated calendar and email functionality help to keep teams aligned and provide visibility for internal team members and charity digital leaders alike. Office 365 has enabled Christ Church to respond dynamically to the challenges of the new normal and to provide vital support to the community of Virginia Water when they needed it most.
The Charity Digital Exchange team offer a Cloud Manager Service to help with implementing your charity’s new Office 365 plan, helping you take the hassle out of set up and configuration. Contact our customer service team to find out more.
You can view discounted charity subscriptions to Microsoft Office 365 here.