People. Process. Systems.

Ryan Feely
20th July 2020

Header image for article on improving your charity's efficiency


The pressure on charities to improve their efficiency has been apparent for some time now. People expect more when it comes to service delivery and keeping informed on what your charity does. Funding bodies expect to see how you are providing value for money and the scrutiny of fund spending is higher than ever.


Therefore, it is important to ensure you are continuously improving your charity’s efficiency to meet these demands. However, it can sometimes be hard to know where to start or even what problems you are looking for.


Here are a few simple mistakes you should look to address when it comes to improving your charity’s efficiency. Along with a few helpful tips to get you going.


Mistake 1 – Manual Ways of Working

Handwritten notes. Not file sharing. Manually compiling reports. These are all time killers that are grinding operations to a halt. Sadly, they are the reality of many charity organisations across the country.


If you are looking at improving your charity’s efficiency, then you will need to address these problems. Usually this means looking at your IT systems and considering how new, modern technology can help you deliver services in smarter ways.


Tip 1 – Implement Easy Wins

While the goal should be to work towards a full end-to-end digital transformation, most charities are not prepared for this. The 2020 Charity Digital Skills Report found that lack of staff skills is the second biggest barrier to embracing digital ways of working.


Therefore, it is sensible to start off with easy to implement changes that don’t require lots of knowledge to use. Setting up simple file sharing mechanics can go a long way in reducing the time it takes emailing back and forth. It also allows for much easier collaboration on files and ensures people have the most updated document, a key part of any IT system improvement project.


Mistake 2 – No Clear Processes in Place

It can be hard to appreciate the difference that having clear, defined processes in place can make. If things are working now, then why implement processes that could jeopardise this?


Well, having clear processes in place help to reduce the chance of having to rely on one person for a particular job within your charity. If that person leaves or is off sick, then things can no longer run smoothly as they were the only person who could do the job.


Tip 2 – Start with New Team Members

An easy way to start building in processes is looking at how you onboard new team members. This is an area that will often be carried out by different people, meaning many new starts receive different training from each other. By building out the steps that new starts should go through, you can ensure that everyone delivers and receives the same start. This ensures all key areas are covered and working practices and expectations can be set early.


Mistake 3 – Lack of Joined Up IT Systems

A common problem across all industries and sectors, but very prevalent within charities, is not having IT systems talking to each other. Key systems are working in silos, not sharing information that make everyday tasks easier. This leads to problems, such as repetition of data entry and slows down the decision-making process.


Tip 3 – Map Out the Bottlenecks

If you want to get a better understanding of where you can improve your charity’s efficiency, then start mapping out what systems you are using that aren’t sharing information. This will help you build an overview of problem areas and allow you to take control of the situation. Understanding how much time or money is being lost in each area allows you to make informed decisions about what area to tackle first.


Ready to Tackle your Problems?

Hopefully seeing these mistakes have made you think about your own charity. And the tips have inspired you to refine how you use IT systems. But if you need more help then contact us to see how we can help improve your charity’s efficiency.

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