The importance of digitalisation in the non-profit sector

Many organisations within the not-for-profit and charity sectors needed to digitalise to allow their vital work to continue during the Covid-19 pandemic. We explore how this has been crucial in driving the sector forward and how it has exposed new possibilities to reach the most vulnerable communities.

Accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, digital transformation has been propelled to the forefront of every charity’s business strategy, allowing them to remain connected with the communities that they serve while their teams work remotely. And although the process may have happened quicker than anticipated, the positive impacts of digitalising for staff, volunteers, service users, and wider communities are clear, and charities are now reaping the benefits of digital innovation.

Within the non-profit sector, deploying digital systems and processes has removed barriers, empowering users to access crucial – and sometimes life-saving – services from anywhere without the constraints of location, or economical or health-related challenges. This has not only given charities the opportunity to reach those who are most vulnerable, they’ve also been able to improve their services, making them more sustainable and accessible to more people.

North Yorkshire-based charity, Community Counselling has transformed its IT infrastructure, enabling the organisation to reach more of the people that need its help and support its staff working remotely. By digitalising its systems and utilising solutions including Windows 365 and Teams, it has removed the barriers that previously prevented some users from accessing its services, such as transport challenges and caring responsibilities.

The charity’s digital transformation has resulted in:

  • Missed session rates dropping from 16% in 2019/20 to 12% in 2020/21
  • Appointment ‘no shows’ reducing from 9.7% to 7.5%
  • Late cancellations falling from 6.4% to 4.5%.

The organisation directly attributes these results to its clients now accessing 86% of sessions at home.

“Phoenix provided invaluable support by delivering training to our team to get us up and running with Microsoft 365, as part of the Phoenix volunteering scheme to support charities.

“The training helped us to understand – and have confidence in using – Windows 365 tools, which has enabled us to deliver online counselling and EMDR treatment using Teams, create and share policy documents on OneDrive, and devise client evaluation forms via Microsoft Forms.”
Stephen Robling, Chief Officer, Community Counselling

Considering whether Azure Virtual Desktop or Windows 365 is the right hybrid working solution for you? Our infographic, ‘AVD or Windows 365?’ helps you decide.   

Going digital has also made it possible for non-profit and charity organisations to widen their talent pool. With the ability to hire employees and volunteers from anywhere across the whole of the UK and even abroad, they can attract more diverse talent, improve employee and volunteer retention, and support the wellbeing of their teams with a healthier work/ life balance through flexible and remote working schemes. With teams and volunteers able to successfully do their jobs in a variety of locations, more existing and new users now have access to support close by rather than in one central location.

Remote working set-ups have also supported charities to reduce the costs associated with running an organisation, such as office space and travel expenses, freeing up budget to put back into fundraising and activities that will directly support their service users.

The rapid acceleration of digitisation within the sector has highlighted how important it is for charity and non-profit organisations to have the correct infrastructure in place to support its end-users with technology in a variety of different scenarios and settings. Even with the recent lifting of restrictions, the benefits of modernisation have led to the adoption of hybrid working infrastructures for many charities who have not only recognised the need to future-proof their IT strategy for any eventuality, but also the advantages of digital transformation for the communities they support.

Modernise your charity to change lives

Our extensive experience supporting charities and non-for-profit organisations like yours to modernise has led to us being recognised by Microsoft as UK Partner of The Year 2021. Talk to our digital transformation specialists today to discover how to future-proof your charity’s IT infrastructure with Microsoft solutions that promote collaborative, supportive, and secure digital services.

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Naomi Busuttil
Naomi Busuttil

Naomi is Phoenix's Content Strategist with more than ten years' experience creating a variety of content for web, print, social media, and email marketing. With a background spanning all marketing disciplines gained notably within the housing, sustainability, and not-for-profit industries, Naomi is familiar with the challenges the public sector faces and is passionate about producing content with accessibility in mind.

See all posts by Naomi Busuttil