Undoubtedly, technology is advancing at an astonishing pace, surpassing human capabilities in numerous ways. As workloads become more manageable and automated software provides access to real-time data, an increasing number of charitable organisations are recognising the immense potential of integrating digital solutions into their operations.
Surprisingly, a recent study conducted by Tech Trust revealed that a significant majority (58%) of their partner charities lacked a defined digital strategy. However, those charities that did have such strategies displayed a notably more optimistic outlook for their future prospects. A staggering 92% of these forward-thinking charities reported several benefits, including increased confidence in future planning and goal attainment, heightened productivity and efficiency, as well as enhanced risk mitigation.
In light of the expanding array of digital software options available in recent years, selecting the most suitable one for your organisation can indeed be a daunting task. Given the specialised nature of charitable work, most organisations turn to expert companies for guidance in this domain. Nevertheless, choosing the right partner—one who genuinely prioritises your organisation’s unique needs—can be a challenging decision.
Here are several essential factors to consider when seeking a partnership to address your digital requirements:
Understand your Business
Your technology partner must grasp the intricacies of your organisation’s mission and vision. Their decisions and recommendations should align with these principles rather than offering a one-size-fits-all solution. A skilled consultant will delve into the nuances of your business, carefully listening to your requirements and comprehending the long- and short-term implications of their solution on all facets of your organisation.
Define their Expertise
While the longevity of a company is often considered a measure of its expertise, it doesn’t necessarily equate to proficiency. Seasoned consultants should understand how their new technologies interact with your existing systems and devise a realistic plan tailored to your company’s specific needs. Assess their expertise by evaluating their ability to provide references and examples of projects similar to yours, as well as their commitment to staying abreast of technological advancements.
A reputable organisation can be identified through references and interactions with similar entities. While many companies feature testimonials or case studies on their websites, it’s crucial to ensure that these are up-to-date and reflect current client sentiments. Requesting to speak directly with previous clients can provide unfiltered insights into their experiences and help confirm the company’s commitment to a dedicated partnership.
Charitable organisations are understandably budget conscious. A valuable tech partner should be agile and capable of recommending solutions that align with your financial resources. However, it’s important to remember that the cheapest option isn’t always the wisest. In the realm of technology, “cheap” can often mean unreliable or “off-the-shelf” solutions, which may lead to complications in the long run. Clarify whether the cost includes customisability, branding, backups, patching, options to add or remove users, and ongoing support, as these factors are critical for data security and reliability.
Implementation and Aftercare
Efficient project implementation and aftercare are essential for both parties. This requires an experienced team that comprehends the purpose and specifications of the project. A reliable partner should establish realistic timelines, particularly for larger projects, incorporating feedback loops and adaptation strategies to address unforeseen complications. Regular meetings, training, follow-ups, and scheduled reviews with a dedicated account manager should be part of the partnership to ensure that your organisation’s evolving needs are addressed.
Effective communication and proactive engagement define a reputable tech partner. You should be kept informed at every stage, from initial inquiry to implementation and beyond. Transparency and direct communication ensure not only a functional solution but also a lasting partnership focused on tangible value and long-term client relationships.
In conclusion, selecting the right technology partner for your charitable organisation is a significant decision that demands careful consideration of these key factors. By prioritising an understanding of your mission, expertise, reputation, cost considerations, project implementation, and responsive communication, you can pave the way for a fruitful and enduring partnership that will empower your organisation in the digital age.