Embracing technology for your charity; how can it be done?

Third Sector > Charity.
noun: an organization set up to provide help and raise money for those in need.

The third sector of volunteering and charity companies is something that has been really intriguing to us as Distract. From inspiring those who never even thought to help out a charity through their profession, to volunteering at a charity shop when they have some time free, the perception of the third sector has changed dramatically in the last five years.

The sector has turned to technology even more in the last decade, especially with certain situations occurring around the world in 2020. Through watch-parties on a communication-app like Zoom, to charity-marathons of game-streams to be held over a weekly-period. It’s inspiring to see and can show others how technology can be a shining-light through certain times.

But it wasn’t always like this. Before the advent of the world wide web, you could see a booklet, usually covered in a plastic cover, posted at your home, encouraging you to fill out a form to send back to the charity in question.

Another, more recent approach, were representatives of a charity coming up to you on the high street, wanting you to sign up right there and then. It would interrupt the plans you had for even being in town, and it would annoy a majority rather than inspire them to help.

This is why technology in the last 10 years has significantly helped the third sector in being less obtrusive, and more inspiring through the media that has sprouted from social media, smartphones, and apps.

The ‘Future Charity’ is a paper that raised great points about increasing the confidence in the workplace of the third sector and to better embrace a world where everyone is using a smart device to take in the news around them. It also made a great point about rebuilding trust again; to use technology to better help people understand how certain changes in their routine could help people with certain ailments. This could be done through a YouTube series, or even as a podcast. 

With that, here’s some ideas that could help your charity to embrace technology in some way.

YouTube Video-Series

By having a fortnightly-series, this can be created with a minimal budget but with easy-access to an insight into who runs certain parts of the business, while also having a ‘day in the life’ of a store, to better give a volunteer an idea of how others run their part of the charity. Perhaps by inviting guests on from the third sector, whether its managers of stores or charity shops or volunteers, it can be a show where the listener won’t feel as if they’re listening to this because ‘its a charity’. They’re listening because they want to make the world a better place and to better inspire others out there.

Interview-Series Podcast

Podcasts such as ‘Streets Sessions’ have had an impact into how an interview-led podcast could take on financial topics to appeal to a wider audience, and the same could be done for a charity. It could better enable others to download a show from their desired-podcast app to gain a greater understanding of staff in certain departments, especially in certain circumstances such as COVID-19.

Zoom-Meetings; one-to-one with the team

This could be better placed for a team at a store, rather than having it as an outlet for customers. Here, communication can be opened up with volunteers of a shop, to perhaps set out tasks to help the social media side, or to even brainstorm ways of keeping their store in the town centre, to still be in the public-consciousness.

Livestream Marathons on Twitch

A left-field idea, but we mentioned this towards the start of this post; hosting marathons or streams that go into supporting the charity, could better raise awareness, while also making it interactive. There is a chat function, so anyone with an account can come in and ask a question to the streamer about the charity if they were encouraged to.

In Summary

There are plenty of amazing opportunities of how technology can be implemented, and if even half of the above examples are implemented, the awareness of your charity could grow exponentially if done right.

The British Heart Foundation is a great example here, they’re a charity that helps fund research into heart-related diseases such as strokes and heart disease. They have been using social media to promote videos that have been on their YouTube channel for a few years but are re-focusing it to benefit those who are working from home due to COVID-19, by encouraging exercise at break times. Just by using this form of engagement, it can help others discover their social media feeds, their website, and in turn, a visit to a British Heart Foundation store instead of taking a trip to a more well-known company that specialises in clothing and furniture.

At Distract, we want to help businesses thrive in whatever their focus is, and that extends to charities as well. To help inspire others through volunteering and charitable causes through campaigns that we can help businesses with. It’s an innovative time throughout the third-sector, especially with the ‘Google Grant’ allowing other charities to thrive.

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Peter Watson | Managing Director

Peter Watson is the Managing Director and co-founder of Distract as well as Featured Group, which seeks to found and develop innovative brands and businesses.

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