Blog – The Good Exchange introduces new research ‘Technology in the Charitable Sector’ at Forum event

On Wednesday 6th March, we announced the results of new research ‘Technology in the Charitable Sector’ which looked at the current charitable grant application and distribution landscape. Conducted by global research company, Vanson Bourne, the survey – in which respondents from 100 UK grant-making organisations and 191 applicant organisations were interviewed throughout January and February 2019 – revealed significant levels of dissatisfaction with current processes and an increased appetite to embrace digital to reduce wasted efforts and enable collaboration to address societal issues, with charities contending with a range of pressures, including ongoing government cuts to funding.

You can read a summary of the key findings here or download a copy of the full report.

We unveiled an exclusive preview of the results of our new report a few days early at a dedicated event for funders and charitable organisations at Greenham Business Park, home to both The Good Exchange and our charity-owner Greenham Trust, at the end of February. The main topics of discussion at the event were the implications of the research, how technology should and could impact the future of the industry and what’s coming in online funding and fundraising.

In a lively panel and audience debate chaired by Chris Boulton, CEO of Greenham Trust, panel members Jayne Woodley, CEO of the Oxfordshire Community Foundation, James Banks, director of London Funders, Mark Jones, director of fundraising and communications at the Ark Cancer Centre Charity and our own Ed Gairdner, COO of The Good Exchange, debated the importance of technology and collaboration in the third sector.

Referring back to our research and the feedback of grant-applicants regarding lengthy and time-consuming forms, Jayne Woodley said the onus is on funders to change the way they do things to ease the process, while Mark Jones said it is worrying how many hours are being wasted on applications. He also talked about how valuable match funding had been to the Ark Cancer Centre Charity’s campaign. There was consensus among the entire panel of the importance of collaborative funding and fundraising, and while speaking about place-based giving, James Banks also highlighted the importance of pooling non-financial assets (buildings, as an example), to support community initiatives. Transparency also featured heavily in the debate, with the panellists calling for an open and honest debate about the costs involved in fundraising.

We’re seeing a clear drive towards collaborative funding, and a real appetite to harness the power of digital – from using online application forms to streamline processes, to embracing contactless donations, in order to adapt to changing requirements of charitable givers.

Ed Gairdner and our head of marketing Marina Stedman closed the session with a sneak preview into some exciting developments to come from The Good Exchange in the coming months. Watch this space!