Charity tech update: April 2018

 In news, updates

Our monthly round-up of the latest technology developments and partnerships affecting the charity sector.  

In case you missed it: News highlights

One in five charities suffered a cyber security breach or attack in the last 12 months, according to a government survey. DCMS’ Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2018 found that 19 per cent of the 555 charities that responded had suffered a cyber breach or attack in the past year, compared to 43 per cent of businesses. Read the full story. 

Oxfam has been investigated by the Information Commissioner’s Office after it circulated a copy of its 2011 report about sexual misconduct in Haiti that was “not securely redacted”. The charity reported the mistake to the ICO and the Charity Commission and has apologised for the error. The information regulator is now considering its options.  Read the full story. 

RNLI and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency are testing the use of drones to help with search and rescue activity this week.  A selection of drones are being used along a stretch of coastline at St Athan, Wales, in a range of scenarios to find out how they could be used to help save lives by helping to locate people more quickly. Read the full story. 

Latest partnerships

British Red Cross and Rufus Leonard

The British Red Cross has launched a new website to make it easier for people to find what they are looking for and access support. It has been nearly seven years since the charity last had a major refresh of its website, although it successfully launched a new donation platform last year before starting work on the rest of the site.

It appointed design agency Rufus Leonard last summer and launched the first iteration of the new site on schedule earlier this month. Slater-Carr attributes the success to working very closely with agency. People from the charity’s IT team were seconded into the agency to work as a “joint team”, and have “come back having learned brilliant skills”. The plan now is to do “fortnightly releases of smaller improvements” and beginning adding digital elements to its services, such as making it easier for people to do things like borrow a wheelchair. Read the full story.

Barnardo’s and Cybertill 

Barnardo’s has begun using CharityStore retail software from Cybertill in 51 of its charity shops. It will be used for back office reporting, customer communications and engagement and to raise Gift Aid capture, amongst other functions. The cloud-based retail system automates processes, relieving volunteers and staff of excessive administrative duties. Roy Clark, director of retail and trading at the charity, said: “Converting to the new system will save our store teams considerable time on manual tasks and will inevitably generate more income through added insight, simplification of the Gift Aid process and enhanced experience in-store.” Since installing the software it has been able to capture 11 per cent more Gift Aid and now plans to roll out the electronic-point-of-sale (EPoS) software to the rest of its shops.

Sport Relief and Pivotal

Pivotal hosted the donation platform for this year’s Sport Relief fundraising drive. Ahead of the event Pivotal carried out capacity tests to ensure that the platform would cope with processing between two and three hundred donations every second. “With such a small window of time, collaborating with Pivotal has allowed us to manage the huge spikes in demand we experience,” said Zenon Hannick, chief technology officer at Comic Relief.

World Vision and Contrast VR

World Vision has launched a virtual reality film in a bid to find new ways to highlight the plight faced by their beneficiaries. The film is part of its Stories After Syria project, which marks the seventh anniversary of the conflict in Syria. The aid charity partnered with Contrast VR, Al Jazeera’s virtual reality arm, to produce the five-minute film. Seven children from the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan were given cameras to capture aspects of their lives. The film was narrated by World Vision ambassador and Game of Thrones star Liam Cunningham.

Time & Talents and BookingsPlus

London-based charity Time & Talents, which supports and brings together isolated and vulnerable people in our society, has signed up with Kajima Community, which specialises in marketing and managing the community use of centres and schools across the UK. As a result of the partnership, Time & Talents will use BookingsPlus, its unique online booking and marketing system, which will make it easy for local community groups such as clubs, social groups, charities and other organisations to hire Time & Talents’ facilities in Rotherhithe and Surrey Quays for their own use.


Battle lines have been drawn between GoFundMe and JustGiving, after the former attacked the latter in a statement today over its fees. Hugh Radojev says that while GoFundMe may live to regret this move, neither have come out of this episode well.

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