We looked at the impact that improvements in this area can have on an organisation’s overall development and growth and saw significant correlation between those adopting a new system and an increase in their annual turnover. Here is our research along with the four main takeaways.
We calculated the mean the turnover of 205 charities (England & Wales) in the years before and after they enquired about, or signed up, for Lamplight case management software. We looked at how this changed. Well over half of organisations saw an increase of over 10%, with median increases of 33% for Lamplight customers and 29% for those that enquired. Full details of the methodology and results can be seen here:Read the paper
1. Successful charities invest in their systems
We know that ‘not prioritising digital whilst being extremely busy and ad-hoc spending on IT’ are key challenges for small charities in particular. The decision to spend time and money on a new case management system is not always easy, even when it’s a gap that an organisation has identified as important.
There’s the question of resources being better spent on their services and we often hear outrage in the news about the high overheads at charities, and how money should go to “the cause”. But it turns out that growing, successful charities invest in their systems and processes.
2. Increased turnover for charities who invested in a new system
We took a closer look at the impact of implementing new database software on charities and found that on average charities looking to do so increased their turnover by about 30%. And the smallest organisations doubled or trebled their income. Strikingly, 89% of our customers saw increased income after signing up for Lamplight.
In context, the sector overall has been pretty stagnant, with income increasing by just 1 or 2% a year over the period we looked at.
3. Commitment to change is vital!
Those in the sector are aware of the need to use their data more effectively. In fact, 51% see using data and insights more effectively to improve services and operations as a priority, which is 21% more than last year but this ambition is not easily reached.
For trustees and charity leaders, investments in systems can seem hard to justify when you want to focus on service delivery. But tailored systems ultimately support your services – and with relatively small investments, this can pay significant dividends in enhancing your service delivery.
Getting a case management system isn’t the only factor which increases turnover, but we do think that strong organisations need good quality systems to facilitate this growth. A willingness and to invest in those systems, and to encourage buy in from the whole team to commit to these new processes is a key characteristic of growing charities.
4. How can you be part of this growth?
40% of charities are in need of funding for devices, software and infrastructure. Dedicated support and funding is clearly needed to help close what looks like a growing digital skills gap between large and small charities. It’s excellent to see The Funder’s Pledge reflecting the now clear need for funding to include core costs in light of the 2022 Charity Digital Skills Report.
‘We had felt for a while that we’d really outgrown the systems we were using. Lamplight is definitely a much better fit with the size of organisation we are now, and allows us to be more responsive and flexible with our monitoring, which supports managing several income streams whose funders all want slightly different things!’
– Read here about the difference Lamplight made to the team at Home-Start HOST