A new report published by The Social Investment Consultancy revealed that, contrary to popular belief, charities recognise the value of innovation, and would love to be able to innovate in all sorts of ways – if only they had the time, capacity or resources.
“There is an urgent need for faster, cheaper and better innovation for charities,” says Bonnie Chiu, Managing Director at TSIC. “Whilst access to funding is becoming more difficult, the needs of beneficiaries are not lessening (and in many cases are increasing); charity services are more crucial than ever.”
The report showed that a heightened need for generating revenue has stifled organisations’ ability to think beyond the next calendar year. Intermediaries must support charities to develop their own solutions, in an uncomplicated, cost-effective way: the potential for digital technologies to be harnessed in this respect is huge. Charities are open to the possibilities for innovation that technology and digital tools offer, but the report found that the technology would need to be cheap and simple to use.
A recent article by CAST (Centre for Acceleration of Social Technology) noted that the potential of digital technology ‘still remains largely untapped by established charities.’ TSIC’s research builds on this finding, with charities indicating that the top reason for not using technology was a lack of expertise, while uncertainty about the best option to use came a close second. Whilst this suggests that charities lack knowledge about technology and how to use it, the research also found that 70% of charities thought technology has made their jobs easier, and almost 90% said that technology is useful in their work.
These findings demonstrate that there is great desire from charities to harness technology, but that more effort needs to be made by intermediaries and funders to ensure that charities have the tools, expertise and networks to implement innovative solutions to income generation problems.The full report can be viewed here.