The advances in cloud technology have been dramatic in recent years, with businesses and groups across a broad spectrum of industries beginning to grasp the nettle and take advantage of the benefits this can bring. And as we explore the typical business models of third sector organisations specifically, there’s evidence to suggest that this rapidly evolving technology can deliver significant opportunities for growth.
The Third Sector (such as not-for-profit organisations, voluntary groups, charities and non-governmental agencies) has been subject to notable challenges in the years following the 2008 banking crisis and subsequent recession.
With a reduction in jobs (70,000 in 2011 alone) aligned to cuts in funding, the biggest task faced by third sector organisations has been to find ways and means to improve the efficiencies and productivity of those still working in the sector.
One major solution, in the case of those who have adopted it, has been cloud collaboration.
Offering effective solutions when it comes to improving productivity through the speed and versatility with which you can share information, cloud collaboration offers an ideal tool to foster growth.
Collaboration is Fundamental to Third Sector Organisations
For a third sector organisation to thrive and grow, effective collaboration has always been central to their business model. In this respect, the cloud would simply be a new tool to use within their pre-existing structure, rather than a completely new way of working.
Whether raising money or even the awareness of issues, shaping a new policy, or organising teams and volunteers, the need to share information and communicate messages as efficiently as possible has been at the heart of all successful third sector enterprises.
And with organisations ever mindful of their budgets, nothing offers a greater degree of time-efficient and cost-effective collaboration than the cloud.
Providing an online workspace that’s easily accessed through an internet connection, cloud collaboration creates a virtual space to bring together all major stakeholders, staff across multiple locations, volunteers, fundraisers and anyone who plays a role in the organisational strategy.
How This Helps Third Sector Growth
Such traits can demonstrably help third sector organisations grow as it helps meet specific challenges typically inherent within these business models.
- Powerful Project Management Tools – With the ability to make all information readily available and visible to all interested parties, offering transparency of individual responsibilities and allowing close monitoring of progress is a powerful tool for delivering a project on time and within budget.
- Bringing a disparate workforce together – Different people, different skills, different locations. The hallmark of many third sector organisations from administrators to marketers, field workers to temporary staff or volunteers. Cloud collaboration has allowed for an exchange of ideas and the rapid sharing of policy or information to flow between all who require it; cutting costs associated with traditional delivery systems, travel and administration.
- Fundraising Efficiency – Generating revenue is crucial to any business model, the third sector being no exception. The cloud has demonstrated itself as an effective mechanism through its ability to:
- Share new opportunities
- Provide a database of historical information: past bids, campaigns, promotions.
- Compile data lists, email addresses and other documents
- Offers a forum for the sharing of ideas and information.
The JustGiving Model
One of the great third sector success stories of the past decade has been the rise to prominence of JustGiving. Created to help charities raise both their profile and, more importantly, money over the web and away from more traditional avenues, JustGiving has utilised the power of the cloud alongside social media to transform the way we both donate and raise money.
Using cloud-based sales and marketing tools, JustGiving has been able to provide a platform for charities to not only reach out directly to potential donors across the internet to raise awareness, but has also provided a platform for easy and secured donations to be made.
Applications such as the Salesforce Marketing Cloud provided JustGiving a platform for its partner charities to:
- Create effective relationship management
- Have quick sign-up facilities
- Provide analytics to monitor performance
- Track behavioural data for contextualised marketing
- Helped raise money for over 13,000 different charities
- Donations from 164 different countries
- More than $3.3 billion raised
- 30% growth in 2015 – after implementation of new marketing cloud applications
- Servers store 22 million live feeds.
Delivering Efficiency & Growth in a Challenging Environment
The versatility, efficiency and ever improving communication capability of cloud applications is a powerful tool for collaboration in a sector which faces ever tighter budgets and a diminishing workforce. Through increases in productivity and savings on labour, travel and material costs third sector organisations have the tools to maximise their revenue stream. And, as JustGiving demonstrate, by using these tools to engage with their audience it can dramatically enhance opportunities to grow, irrespective of size.