How to increase the digital capacity of charity employees

While technology is developing rapidly, not all users find it easy to learn digital systems built on more advanced processes.  

When considering that personnel are often volunteers who may not have been heavily involved with digital technology throughout their career, the transition to increasing digital capacity within a charity can be challenging.

But while increasing the digital capacity of charity employees may not always be straightforward, it shouldn’t be abandoned completely. Once you have digitally proficient staff, it makes a significant difference to what your charity can achieve.

In our experience working closely with non-profits to improve fundraising outcomes, the following can be used as a guideline to help increase the digital capacity of charity employees.

Choose easy-to-use systems

When implementing new systems such as a CRM, accounting platform or marketing tools, opt for those that are easy to use to give new users the confidence to learn.

Choosing complex systems can easily lead to overwhelm that stops users from seeing the benefits of learning new skills. The easier a program is to use, the more likely staff are to want to try.

Training is vital

Rather than leaving employees to learn and understand systems on their own, create a comprehensive training schedule that starts with the basics before moving onto more complex processes.

Build user confidence by choosing systems with external support options that can provide one-on-one training away from the team.

Keep communication open

Staff who may not grasp skills can be reticent to come forward and admit they are struggling with an aspect of the system. Instead, they may complete a task through trial and error, which can be time-consuming to rectify. Whether paid or unpaid, labour is precious, and you want charity employees to make each moment they devote to your organisation count.

Follow up regularly with employees and ask if they need help with a particular aspect. Better yet, as some may be too proud to admit they are struggling, arrange for short mandatory training sessions in various aspects of the system and see how people do so you can identify employees who may need more support.

Choose systems with a free trial

An investment in a new system that can manage databases, email hosting, website content, and other projects can be costly.

Rather than committing to a significant outlay on the spot, choose systems with a free trial to help staff become familiar with systems before they are implemented. Not only do free trials provide the perfect opportunity to decide if the platform is user-friendly and meets the needs of the charity, but it can also build the confidence of users to help them hit the ground running once it’s implemented.  

Focus on integrated systems

An integrated system will be able to handle the majority of the day-to-day activities of a 

charity, which means employees are not required to swap from platform to platform to complete tasks and only have one set of processes to learn.

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