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3 signs it’s time for your charity to embrace change

Authors: Louise Lai and Anna Naylor

3 Signs It’S Time For Your Charity To Embrace Change
  • Service Digital experience
  • Sector Not for profit
  • Date 10 October 2022

Is your organisation missing out on opportunities to evolve?

Our recent article on how charities can respond to the cost of living crisis explored how trying times call for organisations to reassess how they operate. 

We’re all familiar with the saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” When the context in which we work is always changing, the way we work must evolve with it — doing what we’ve always done won’t help us move forward.

As we experience further turbulence and unpredictability, the need to adapt continues to be a priority. So how can charities identify what changes to make or if they need to change at all?

Realigning your transformation strategy 

To answer these questions, we collaborated with Third Sector to explore how not for profits can refocus their transformation efforts. Our research found that, while many charities are on the right track, others aren’t adapting to the current climate. 11% of charities felt they were digitally immature, just over one fifth felt their organisation wasn’t effective, and one third only had “elements of” or no clear roadmap for digital change.

The ability to adapt quickly is now a key business differentiator. We’re seeing organisations look to adapt where possible, to increase digital and technological maturity and set themselves up to be responsive organisations. And understanding how our sector continues on this trajectory is vital to its success.

Where is your organisation on its transformation journey? Do you have an action plan for change and, if not, what are the signs you should?

Key signs it’s time for change:

1) You’re plateauing or not meeting your targets

A dip or plateau in fundraising is to be expected during our current economic crisis, but that’s not to say an organisation’s performance is completely out of its control. However, strategies that worked in the past aren’t guaranteed to be effective today. The not for profits who are doing well — given the circumstances — have wasted no time in reassessing their strategies in order to respond. 

If your organisation is struggling, it might be a sign there are stones left unturned when it comes to your fundraising efforts. 

A good place to begin is by assessing your organisation’s figures. Make allowances for the decline in donations but, if you haven’t already changed your fundraising strategy to accommodate the declining economy and are falling behind your targets, now is the time to make changes — especially with end of year fundraising campaigns on the horizon.

Our article on how charities can respond to the cost of living crisis offers some practical pointers to get you started.

2) Talent recruitment is a struggle or turnover is high

What has recruitment and retainment looked like for your organisation recently? This is another area of potential struggle if you haven’t adjusted your strategy. You might be losing the right people to the charities who have risen to the challenge and restructured what they have to offer.

Consider any feedback you’ve received from current employees and leavers. Have they felt able to provide honest feedback and, if so, are there any common themes to explore? Assess how you’re actively enticing new talent and investing in your people. Are you clearly communicating your organisational values to find a good cultural fit in your team?

If you’ve spotted some gaps, it’s not too late to make constructive changes. Read our report with Third Sector to find out more about attracting and upskilling your people and draw inspiration from how The Children’s Society is empowering its staff.

3) You’re not harnessing tech to advance processes

Despite living in a digital age, nearly a quarter of respondents in our report said that technology isn’t considered or is only somewhat considered in their organisational strategy. Can you relate?

Although it can feel daunting to keep up with the fast pace of technological advancements, investing in automation has many benefits: time and cost savings, redirecting efforts and allowing your people to do meaningful work. If your organisation is frequently getting tripped up by inefficiencies, it’s time to refine your processes and embrace the beauty of digital transformation. 

Learn how we helped the British Red Cross to use robotic process automation (RPA) to innovate and streamline their processes.

Our report with Third Sector also explores elevating technology into organisational strategy and thinking to help you explore this idea further. 

Moving forward

Now that you’re aware of three reasons to consider change within your organisation, you may be feeling fired up to take the next steps! We’re here to continue guiding you through the process. Read our article on three things to avoid in your charity’s transformation strategy to ensure your new plan is solid.

Our joint report with Third Sector explores organisational transformation in even more depth and accompanies the recent webinar on approaching transformation to deliver lasting impact.


Louise Lai's avatar

Louise Lai

Chief Client and Transformation Officer



Anna Naylor's avatar

Anna Naylor

Content Writer


Download our free report on how to focus your charity's transformation efforts