People. Process. Systems.

Lee Ann Healy
13th May 2020

The header image for the article what digital transformation can do for fundraising in the charity sector

Digital transformation is all the rage within the charity sector at this minute and rightfully so with the many benefits it is set to bring to the sector. Not only will digital transformation improve the delivery of services, but it will also improve how charities operate internally by making mundane everyday tasks easier to do.


One area of importance will be the ability to better handle the flow of funds through a charity. In this article we will look at digital transformation for fundraising in charities and what that means for expanding revenue streams, better tracking of funds internally, and the potential for increased returning donations.


Expanding Revenue Streams

The use of cash has long been in decline, but this is now expected to be accelerated due to the problem of the Coronavirus. This is likely to have a knock-on effect for charities who rely heavily on donations through charity tins or loose change donations on the street. By having the option to use contactless, it opens up the ability to sidestep the need for cash. While this may come with a small processing fee, it is worth paying due to the increased ability to reach a wider range of potential donors.


While there is an increasing number of charities who are now able to take donations via card payments it is still low across the industry. Many charities still see the cost of implementing a contactless system as a barrier, however, now is the time to seriously consider how this would open new revenue streams.


The great thing about accepting contactless payments as it can be as simple or as complex as you would like. You may just have small hand held terminal that lets you punch in a donation amount and allows the customer to tap or you can have elaborate, branded, stand-alone boxes that have a recommended donation and when donors tap on it takes the money straight from their account and reads out a thank you message.

Image from Barclaycard


Better Tracking of Funds

As there has been increased scrutiny on how charities are using their funds over the last decade, it has become clear that old ways of working are not up to the task of providing accountability. Using manual processes and spreadsheets leads to errors and can lead to confusion when multiple versions end up being circulated.


This is where an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system can really help out. Having a central ERP system allows information from around your business to be contained within one easy to access area. This helps to eliminate working in silos and, more importantly, ensures everyone is working off of the same data set. Having access to real-time data helps provide oversight across the business but this is especially helpful for building reports on funds. With the proper set up, money flowing into your charity can be seen and tracked as it supports service delivery, staff payroll, or any other part of the business.


While this has real benefit now, over the coming decade this functionality will be vital to support funding and grant applications where charities need to prove they are handling their money as efficiently as possible.


Increased Returning Donations

All organisations have access to more data than ever before and understanding how to use this is what really sets companies apart. For the charity sector this means using insights into donations to increase the value in returning donors.


Online donations are increasing in popularity due to the convenience they offer but they also allow charities to build a database on some of their most engaged members of the public. By using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, it is possible to store and track donation and interaction records to build useful insight into what drives donations.


The first benefit this provides is that you can see what campaign messages are driving people to donate. Depending on the contact medium, there are a variety of ways to track how people have reached making a donation to your charity and you can use this to double down on the most effective messaging. Not only does this make your marketing teams life easier, but you satisfy the wants of the general public by giving them the type of content they want to see, encouraging further donations.


The second benefit is the ability to reengage with donors who have dropped off. Automatic emails can be sent out once a certain amount of time has passed that would look to remind previous donors of the work you do and encourage them to donate again. The great thing here is that these people have already donated before, meaning they connect with your charity at some level so it is possible they would want to donate again once reminded of your presence.



While we have covered a small number of the benefits of digital transformation in this article, it would be impossible to cover everything. We recommend taking these ideas as a starter and seriously consider how your charity organisation could benefit from embracing these new, digital trends.

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