By their very nature, charities must rely on the hard work, kindness and dedication of volunteers who care about their causes. But for smaller charities, finding support can be difficult, simply because fewer people know about them. Fortunately, technology is changing how small charities operate, and it’s allowing more of them to gain visibility and traction. Here, the Tej Kohli Foundation looks at how technology is transforming small charities, enabling them to make a big impact despite their size.
Technology has helped small charities spread awareness of their causes in new ways. Many small charities now have websites, which allow people to see what they stand for and learn how to help them. Websites give charities their very own platform to explain their mission and plan of action.
Similarly, charities have also started taking advantage of social media to teach about what they do. Through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, charities can share live updates about their progress, let people know about their events and show their behind-the-scenes activities. Through these platforms, people can also learn about volunteering opportunities and share information with their friends, increasing the charity’s reach.
Technology also aids charities in their fundraising. Digital systems have made it easier than ever to donate to small charities online. With just a credit card and a few clicks, you can give money to the cause of your choice. Online payments are fast, efficient and can essentially be made anywhere, giving more people the opportunity to donate securely, even if they live far from the charity in question.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is a major example of the influence of social media and digital systems on charitable giving. In 2014, The ALS Association asked people to show their support for motor neurone disease research. They challenged people to dump buckets of ice water on their heads on video and make donations to the cause. Many of the videos went viral on different social platforms, and the organisation raised £87.7m for their research.
Of course, some small charities find it difficult to adapt to the new technologies changing the world of giving. Often, larger charities are able to afford social media specialists and other professionals who are well-versed in tech, while smaller charities are not. In other instances, small charities may be hesitant to adopt new technology because it seems too trendy or risky.
However, for many small organisations, technology has levelled the playing field. The Tej Kohli Foundation endeavours to keep up with the latest in tech. We are privately funded by Wendy and Tej Kohli, but we still use technology each and every day to raise awareness about our causes and let other people know how they can help.
We believe that it is crucial for small charities to keep up with ever-evolving technology. Harnessing the power of digital can help put charities of all sizes on an equal footing. We look forward to seeing how technology will continue to impact small charities as they strive to better our world.
This article is based on ‘Stronger charities for a stronger society’, the House of Lords Select Committee on Charities Report of Session 2016-17.