Charities have to manage lots of information about their internal projects, supporters, and other stakeholders. However, many small charities don't have the tools to effectively organise the amount of data they need - which can complicate internal and external project management.
Hannah Snowdon found this problem while working as Clubs & Groups Project Worker for Dorset Youth. The charity is responsible for supporting numerous local youth clubs and collaborates with other charities. With so much vital information to keep track of, the charity was struggling.
"We knew that we needed some sort of system to file and keep track of it because spreadsheets and Word documents just weren't cutting it," Hannah says.
Hannah had already taken advantage of the Digital Candle service for another area of her work and knew it was the right place to go for advice from someone skilled in digital solutions.
After submitting her question online, Hannah was quickly introduced to her expert via email. In this case, her expert was someone with expertise in information management challenges and CRM software.
They booked a one-hour video call. Hannah was able to talk through her challenge in detail and get insights on how to approach evaluating different CRM tools.
"We spoke through the possibilities of different CRM systems and the benefits and disadvantages of an off-the-shelf system or one that may be designed," Hannah explains.
Instead of pushing Hannah towards a particular CRM, her expert gave her the tools necessary to independently explore the charity's needs and decide which tool would be best
"It was less about giving us the solution and more about thinking, 'this is what you need to consider when you're designing a CRM or looking to commission a CRM,'" she says.
All of Digital Candle's experts will offer completely unbiased advice on your charity's problem, allowing you complete control over the solution you choose.
Charities can submit a second question if, like Hannah, they have more than one problem they need help with or want a second opinion.
Hannah says she never felt pushed to choose one tool over another. "He stated his preference and would say that this tool fit his situation in this instance, but it wasn't, 'you have to do this,'" she says.
"It was just such a simple process, and the people donating their time are really knowledgeable - they seem really willing to share their knowledge to benefit others," Hannah concludes.
Even though the charity didn't decide on a new CRM immediately because of a change in senior management, Hannah says that getting advice from an expert was invaluable.
"The call framed the thinking enough to know when the new CEO came in that we needed something more bespoke," she explains.
As a result, Dorset Youth commissioned a purpose-built CRM for the charity. Hannah says that the process wouldn't have been so easy without that expert advice.
"I don't think we would have been able to do that without knowing what the different CRM systems could do for us," she asserts.
"That helped us have the confidence to say 'this solution isn't right,'" Hannah adds. "If we didn't have the information beforehand, it might have been tempting to say, 'well, this isn't quite what we want, but we'll go with it because it is a solution."