Three quarters of charities say IT not up to scratch, survey reveals

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Research from Eduserv has revealed that for three in four UK charities, inertia from the IT department is stunting growth and putting doubt into future fundraising activities.

The research, of 100 digital and IT leaders in UK charities including Oxfam, Macmillan and Unicef, found concern from heads of digital over moving with the times. Survey respondents argued this lack of ‘digital transformation’ would impact fundraising (73%), reputation (71%), and the ability to deliver the right services (59%).

For 75% of charities there was no clear IT strategy in place to move into a digital world, while more than half (52%) reported discord between IT and digital teams which added time to project deadlines.

There are three issues of responsibility that IT and digital need to address, according to Eduserv. These are mobile strategy, digital application strategy and ownership of the CRM system.

And according to respondents, for heads of digital the CRM system is the biggest priority to get their hands on. As Jacqui O’Beirne, head of digital marketing at Dogs Trust puts it: “Currently IT do our CRM and it’s a big problem; they don’t understand how important it is to us.”

Worryingly, more than half (58%) of respondents believe they are “working against a culture that is averse to changing the current ways of working.”

This forms part of the overall consensus – charities are yet to realise the full extent of ‘digital transformation’, and are missing out as a result, with two thirds of charities (66%) being described by respondents as ‘digitally illiterate’.

The research also sheds light on relationship issues – 57% of digital leads described their relationship with IT as “average or poor.”

John Simcock, charities director at Eduserv, said there was “a long way to go” before charities got fully up to speed with IT innovation.

“Digital transformation provides immense opportunities for charities to provide better services, reduce the cost of fundraising, and operate more effectively,” he said, adding: “What is clear is that charities will not realise these benefits unless they address the critical issue of how IT and digital teams work together.

“IT and digital teams must recognise that their ability to collaborate effectively will be critical to the health of their organisations in the future,” he added.

In August a report from exponential-e came to a similar conclusion regarding cloud computing use in the third sector. The research found that 39% of charities had not considered cloud as a solution, with budgetary constraints the primary reason behind lack of deployment.

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