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Digital transformation and the Art of the Possible

Dan Blackwell, Founder & CEO

Lockdown has forced many charities to work differently to find new ways of connecting and engaging their beneficiaries and stakeholders. Necessity is most definitely breeding invention and we’re heartened by the creativity and innovation that charities are using to offer new ways to continue to deliver their services and to keep their donors and supporters engaged – even with facilities closed and so many programmes on hold.

Even as we work remotely and are visibly relying more on technology to keep us connected, it’s still all too easy for charities to think of technology as merely functional, a cost to keep as low as possible, and simply as a means to an end.

This thinking is at best, limited, and at worst, costly. It’s easy to fall into the trap of using a functionality-led approach to technology – identifying which packages tick the most boxes and choosing the one with the closest fit and cheapest price tag. The trouble with this approach is that by reducing technology to a line item cost, you are unlikely to get the most out of your investment and may even end up spending more in the long term.

Looking beyond the confines of the functionality of a single app or piece of software to solve an isolated problem can open doors to a wider, more strategic viewpoint – one where technology can change the way you work for the better. With the right technology strategy in place, charities can overcome obstacles, reach the right people, achieve their desired impacts and ultimately, deliver their core missions more effectively. By exploring what technology can do for your organisation as a whole, you unlock its value and make a business case for investing in it. We call this the Art of the Possible.

Building a business case for change

The Art of the Possible is all about building the business case for what technology can achieve. It starts by focusing on the ‘why’ rather than the ‘how’. Instead of limiting your thinking to a list of functional requirements like tracking donor details, it looks at the mission and values of the organisation as a whole and asks questions like: ‘What are we trying to achieve?’, ‘What is the most important impact we are trying to make?’ and ‘Who benefits from the work we do?’.

Looking beyond basic functions and transactions will allow you to discover how technology can work harder to help your organisation achieve more. Understanding your team’s strengths and limitations, culture and attitudes toward change and governance can help spot gaps in your organisation that technology can fill when it comes to everything from donor engagement to identifying new beneficiaries.

Mapping the results of this work will not only help to clarify the vision and desired impacts of what technology can do for the organisation, but also allow you to set goals and determine the best ways to measure and achieve success. And don’t forget to include your Board of Trustees, whilst they won’t be involved in the day-to-day work, a tech-savvy board member can be a huge asset when it comes to making the case for digital transformation.

Shifting the way you look at technology from a functional cost to that of a strategic investment aligned with your charity’s mission doesn’t happen overnight. It relies on an outcome-focused approach and champions within the organisation to help make the business case and contribute to its success. Exploring the Art of the Possible arms you with the roadmap of information and understanding that you need to invest in the right technology for your organisation. It helps to unlock the value and ability to achieve what you may have never believed possible.

Where to begin?

To learn more about The Art of the Possible and how Cirrico can help develop a technology strategy fit for your organisation, please get in touch.