Three Things That Charities can Learn From Business Innovation

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Three Things That Charities can Learn From Business Innovation

Consumers have been transitioning towards more innovative approaches to their daily lives in recent years.

A report published by PwC earlier this year claims that more than 20 per cent of financial service businesses will be at risk to Fintechs by 2020, and a Goldman Sachs research report in 2015 claimed that around 35 per cent of financial services revenues are at risk of being displaced by new technology-enabled entrants.

It’s only a matter of time before charities are forced to take up the innovation mantle en masse, so why not learn from the mistakes and successes of the business world before making a start?

Recently, there was the Strategic, Win-Win Corporate Charity Partnerships Conference, which provided a great chance to establish connections between charities and businesses.

It was held on 11th October, and had speakers from businesses like Tesco and Microsoft, and charities like the NSPCC and Macmillan Cancer Support.

Whether you attended the conference or not, here are three things that charities can learn from business innovation.

1) Ensure you Have an Overall Strategy and Focus:

Many businesses have made the mistake of innovating before thinking about their long-term strategy, or about how it would improve their offering. Some have even overestimated the value of certain innovation models.

Take technology company Motorola. Their Iridium satellite phone was born out of the idea that there would be vast regions without phone coverage, but in reality most regions ended up with coverage.

If your charity has a long-term strategy you will be better placed to innovate in the right way, and in the right areas of your model.

It would be advisable to include your IT vendor at this stage to ensure your strategy and IT capability are aligned.

2) Think About the Kind of Platform you Need:

With innovation it’s easy to spend thousands of pounds on a custom platform.

In the charity sector however the budgets are often even tighter than those in businesses.

There are countless platforms already in existence being used within the charity sector.

Software as a Service (SaaS) is ensuring that innovation doesn’t have to cost the earth, and is allowing charities to use proven platforms as opposed to customised systems.

When your charity is looking at which platforms to use, it’s important to bear in mind the costs of each version – especially because customised platforms come with the need for constant updates, and a reliance on the initial developers.

It is also important to ensure that your chosen platform and vendor has the agility and flexibility to adapt as your business model adapts to future challenges. By ensuring flexibility you enable your platform to become future-proof in addition to being able to absorb any short-term reactive developments.

3) Ensure That Your Top Team is Supportive of Your Innovation:

There are usually a number of different priorities within any organisation, so it’s essential that the important people in your team support the innovation programme.

In any business or charity last minute projects can take priority, so if your trustees and senior management buy into the need for innovation it’s likely that the plan will be kept to, and that it will remain a priority even when those last minute things crop up.

According to an article published by the Telegraph at the end of last year, there are more than 180,000 charities registered with the Charity Commission.

Of these, just 2,100 charities account for more than two thirds of the sector’s income, and 80 per cent of the 180,000 donate less than £10,000 a year each to their good causes.

Knowing these facts, fierce competition in the charity sector will create an increasing need to generate efficiencies, meaning that the uptake of the right technology could define which charities survive the next innovation boom.

Financial technology is at the forefront of this innovation, and here at Trusek our SaaS platform is providing a powerful fintech solution for the charity sector.

Our consultative approach is gaining traction in an industry becoming increasingly crowded, so if you would like to get in touch with us for more information about how we can help with your platform or proposition, email or call 020 7048 0470

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