Get Ready for the Impact Revolution: Key Takeaways from DOT org London
DOT org London reveals how richer data insights, greater collaboration, and smarter fundraising strategies can help nonprofits achieve their goals, faster.
Hundreds of change-makers from the nonprofit sector came together for the first-ever DOT org conference in London to share ideas and experiences that will help increase their impact.
More than 20 sessions featuring Trailblazers, such as WaterAid International, Unicef, and The Salvation Army, explored how nonprofits can develop, optimise and transform their teams, processes, and technologies to accelerate their impact and extend their reach.
The effective and ethical use of data was a big topic of discussion, with speakers agreeing that the data explosion has been overwhelming. A staggering 90% of the world’s data has been generated during the last two years. “Data is powerful but it is only powerful if you use it in the right way,” said Justine Currell, Executive Director at Unseen, which helps to tackle modern slavery.
And this is where the challenge lies for many nonprofits. According to the State of Data in the Nonprofit Sector report, 79% of organisations feel they don’t have enough time or resources to focus on data. As a result, only 6% believe they are making effective use of the data collected.
Demonstrating impact with richer data
DOT org London helped to shine the light on some of the strategies being employed by data pioneers, including National Citizen Service (NCS), a programme that helps 16-17-year-olds build confidence, independence and learn essential life skills. “We’ve completely remodelled how we capture data,” revealed Simon Sharkey Woods, CIO at NCS. “We can now demonstrate the impact of not only our programmes but also other key activities, such as marketing campaigns.”
Demonstrating impact was a common theme throughout the sessions – and a common driver for implementing new data management strategies and solutions. “Our organisation runs on data,” said Julie Dodd, Digital Transformation Director from research and support charity, Parkinson’s UK. “Increasingly savvy supporters want data on how what they do is driving bigger impact.”
Achieving more together
Sharing data with donors is just the tip of the iceberg. Tjipke Bergsma, CEO of War Child in the Netherlands, told DOT org attendees that he hopes data will inspire a new era in collaboration. “There are 400 million children living in countries impacted by conflict. We can never help them all but we can reach more children by sharing our data with other organisations. Collaboration and co-creation are great ways to scale and drive impact,” he said.
Homeless Link – the UK’s national membership charity for homelessness and supported housing services – is already blazing a trail in collaboration. Using its In-Form app, which is built on Salesforce, Homeless Link can gather and share data with policy-makers and stakeholders on overall trends as well as individual journeys.
Unlocking new insights and employing creative strategies is key for the future of fundraising. Attendees at the event heard how the number of people pledging money via donations or sponsorship fell to 65% in 2018. “We’re a generous nation, but support is declining. We need to look at how we bring people back into charitable giving,” said Susan Pinkney, Head of Research at Charities Aid Foundation. Giving Tuesday is one initiative that is growing rapidly in the UK and supports nonprofits in reaching new audiences and raising more funds. Read more about our partnership with Giving Tuesday in Europe.
Engaging with these audiences across new channels is key to opening up new fundraising opportunities. One session explored how gaming and collaborating with streamers can open up a new source of income for nonprofits. War Child UK has been trailblazing this approach since 2016; its gaming ‘Armistice‘ campaign has raised more than £320,000 and been awarded most innovative fundraising campaign by the Institute of Fundraising.
War Child UK gaming expert Wayne Emanuel advised the DOT org audience of the importance of staying true the organisation’s brand and cause – it needs to be relevant for it to be a success. Check out our new podcast on the topic here.
Diversify for greater success
The event brought together inspiring speakers, including The Director of Creative Diversity at BBC, TV presenter and Best-Selling Author, June Sarpong MBE, to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing the sector.
June opened her keynote with a quote; ‘Diversity may be the hardest thing for a society to live with, and perhaps the most dangerous thing for a society to be without.’ by William Sloane Coffin Jr. June stressed the importance of diversity and celebrating differences. Having a diverse workforce is not just about doing what is right, it supports innovation and creativity in the workplace and can even help you reach and connect with a new audience.
June suggests that: “the more diverse your organisation is, the better it performs. Think about it when putting your team together – ask yourself who is not in the room.”
Join the impact revolution
“The impact revolution is being driven by data,” said Andrew Means, Senior Director for Global Impact Data Strategy at Salesforce.org. “We need to work together to understand the risks, develop best practices, and share ideas. We want every nonprofit to have confidence that they are using impact data in a responsible and effective way”
Unable to attend DOT org London? Join us in Amsterdam on December 10th.
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