It’s been a strange 12 months for the Not-for-Profit sector. On the one hand, many charities connected to the NHS or fighting against COVID are flush with short-term cash, with donations and emergency funding channelled into organisations at the pandemic’s frontline.
On the other, thousands of smaller charities with no link to COVID are in danger of disappearing altogether. The Charity Finance Group predicted a £10bn loss of income across the sector in 2020.
Like all brick-and-mortar retail spaces, charity shops had to close for much of the year and many remain closed. Consider too that corporate donations plummeted after a summer’s worth of fundraising activities were delayed or abandoned, while face-to-face charity collections ground to a halt.
The unfortunate irony is that the pandemic has created a perfect storm for the sector; as income has dropped, demand has spiralled. A poll by the Small Charities Coalition found that 70% of third sector respondents experienced a drop in income as a result of the pandemic. Nearly the same number (68%) experienced an increase in demand.
The charity sector turns to digital solutions
Still, charities have shown great resourcefulness during COVID, adopting new ways of working and learning new digital skills. Many charities are trying to meet client demand by offering online services and some are making up at least some of their income shortfall by digital means.
Face-to-face meetings with clients and donors have been replaced by Zoom or Teams calls. Online chat services have been implemented to offer support to service users, while some smaller charities are looking at online fundraising for the very first time.
At the same time, the administration of charities has also transferred online. Staff and volunteers are meeting and working together via video conferencing and other communication and collaboration tools, such as Microsoft Teams.
This all means that charity IT infrastructure is in the same position as the sector as a whole. There is more demand for digital services, with no more money in the pot to pay for them.
Digital services may offer significant savings for the charity sector
Stretched charities will have to look at their cost bases carefully over the next year, as the squeeze on charity funding continues and emergency COVID-related cash starts to dry up. Charities will all be asking the same question: how can savings be made without compromising essential services?
Despite greater demand, IT and telecoms infrastructure is one major candidate. Charities often rely on ageing on-premise technology, and in many cases will be paying more for the upkeep, maintenance and hosting of hardware than required. Modern cloud-based communications can connect staff and service users more efficiently, without any upfront CapEx costs and with low monthly tariffs. Even a simple Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solution can significantly reduce telecoms expenditure.
Similarly, charities who are struggling with new demands on their connectivity might not be aware that better connectivity options are now available at very little – if any – extra cost. Plus, bundling services together can reduce outlay even further.
To put it simply, it’s often the case that replacing obsolete telephony and communications technology not only gives organisations a far better service, but also saves them money. It’s never been so important for charities to have a communications platform that keeps staff, service users and donors all connected without placing an unnecessary burden on already stretched resources.
At Everything Voice, we can appraise your current communications setup and suggest ways to improve it that will meet your new requirements without breaking your budget.
We already support a number of charities with affordable VoIP, connectivity and communications solutions. Charities and not-for-profit organisations who want better and more cost-effective communications and connectivity should book a call, fill in an enquiry form, or chat with us now online. We’ll be happy to talk you through our products and services and what they can do for you.