UK-based hosting provider FlintHosts has announced the launch of Flint|Charity, a service which offers free shared hosting and discounted cloud hosting to charities.
The free shared package allows for up to 1GB of storage, one hour of free technical support and a name check from the company, while the cloud package offers the requisite name check, hosting on Flint’s enterprise level platform at a 50% discount with fully managed service.
Paul Hopkinson, FlintHosts managing director, believes having things fully managed will be essential for charities.
“A lot of providers will just give you the server, which is often a headache,” he told CloudTech. “We take that worry out of their hands, manage it all for them, and our systems are as secure as they reasonably can be.”
Hopkinson explained that this philanthropic approach had “always been part of the ethos of the business.”
“We did a SWOT analysis just before Christmas, and one of the things that came up from that was just the way we approach business and life in general,” he added.
The general consensus in the industry appears to be that charities are aware of the potential of cloud computing and want to get them involved, but the expense is holding them back.
“The expense, or perceived expense can override everything because that’s money they’re taking away from whatever good work they’re doing,” said Duncan Casburn, FlintHosts head of business development and marketing. “By offering Flint|Charity as a solution for charities to be able to use…it means they can make the move, they can actually have what is an enterprise-level solution but it’s not going to affect them financially.”
Similarly, inertia from the IT department is holding a lot of charities back. Research from government cloud provider Eduserv last month cited this as a key reason for this lack of ‘digital transformation’; with three quarters (73%) saying it would impact fundraising as a result.
Flint aims to change this. “We’ve had a lot of positive feedback, and people are actually spreading the word out there,” Casburn added.
For the future however, Flint wants this to be a springboard for other hosting firms to provide more corporate responsibility.
“Ultimately we are a small business compared to other competitors, but the mindset of us has always been [of] a big business and wanting to put our name out there and coming up with ideas that we think are good for the industry,” Hopkinson explained.
“There’s a lot of talk these days about corporate responsibility, but that’s more than giving £30 a month to the rainforest in Brazil. That’s an easy thing to do, but actually we want to take a more proactive look at things and do something which is a little bit more meaningful.
“It’s not a money making thing for us, its’ not a competitive thing in that sense – it’s a good deal for charities, and we can support and build long lasting relationships with these people,” he added.
Find out more about Flint Hosts’ options for third sector organisations here.