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Digital help for WBOP charities

Bryan Winters. Supplied photo.

Charities in the Western Bay of Plenty can get technical help to understand more about their clients – and their supporters.

SociaLink, the Western Bay umbrella group for social service providers and community organisations, has a digital expert to give advice on managing client and supporter information, and it wants to help more organisations.

Managing the details of people who need help from an agency and those who can provide funding and support is a major but essential task for charities, which often don’t have the expertise, or the funds, to do the job well, says Bryan Winters, who heads SociaLink’s digital technology programme.

With charities busy serving people needing help, few charities have given much thought to what they need to manage client and supporter information.

“Knowing who your supporters are is essential to get people to know about what you’re doing and support your work.”

Brian works with groups of all sizes to find out what their digital technology needs are and then works with them to find the best system or software for their needs including assisting them to install and use the technology. 

Often, Brian is able to call on local IT people who can do some pro bono work for community organisations.

He says most organisations need a customer relationship management system to manage client and supporter information.

“I spend about an hour with them and then provide them with a single sheet of information to suit their needs. We don’t recommend one particular CRM as it depends on what they want to do.

“Knowing who you are helping and who can help you is vital to strengthening an organisation. Every charity starts with Excel, but there is so much more that can be done with the right digital help.”

So far, he’s worked with about 50 social service providers and community organisations, but SociaLink wants more groups to take up the help.

“Organisations need to make the community aware of what they do, be visible at events and be able to ask for donations, especially monthly recurring ones.

“They can be advocates for their organisation by telling their stories to others.”

Having a good database system also allows charities to report on all aspects of their work and measure what they are doing, which helps them acquire more supporters, he says.

“Some will need a supporter database, some a client database to help them assess people’s needs, and some will need both.”

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