For organisations in the third sector, online presence is critical to its reputation and credibility. It’s a means of communicating with stakeholders, partners and crucially, those whom the charity serves. It’s also a valuable means through which to raise awareness and funds.

If you’re facing constant issues with your website – crashing, slow to respond, error messages – then it could be perceived as outdated or unprofessional, which can be off putting to potential donors and those who need your services.

More often than not, those issues are a sign that your IT isn’t up to scratch and that they could be about to cause more damage to your reputation than a wonky website. Getting your house in order could save you in the long run…

Data privacy and security

Yeah, we know it’s an obvious one. But bad IT leads to data loss and breaches which is bad enough for any organisation but especially bad for charities because they hold a lot of sensitive personal and financial information, not to mention intellectual property.

Good IT will safeguard your data by putting place sound security measures such as firewalls, encryption, multi-factor authentication, and regular data backups helps prevent data breaches and unauthorised access. Protecting sensitive data enhances customer trust and protects the organisation’s reputation from being tarnished by security incidents.

Smooth Online Transactions

Charities are obviously reliant of donations, so having a smooth online transaction process is necessary for fundraising. It’s also important for a security perspective; having a payment gateway that is secure and easy to use not only protects donors’ financial data.

As charity fundraising and services increasingly move online, charities are more susceptible than ever to cyber attacks and it’s vital they’re aware of how to stay safe and mitigate against risks. In January this year, GCHQ issued a report into cyber threats in the third sector, warning that crimes targeting charities were on the rise –  especially as fundraising was now largely online. The report said:

“All charities ultimately rely on public trust and continued public generosity. So the impact of any cyber attack on a charity can therefore be devastating, not just for the organisation and those who rely on its services, but also in undermining public confidence and support. Taking steps to stay secure online is not an optional extra.”


Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity

When things go wrong – and let’s face it they do – having a plan of action in place can mitigate the worst of it and get you back up and running asap.

Given the variety of problems you could face, knowing how to react in each situation could be the difference between operational within two hours or two days.

Take ransomware for example. That has the potential to shut down your files and systems for an indefinite period. Knowing how to proceed if your systems have been taken over by ransomware can prevent you having too much down time and reduce the impact of any disruptions. The same applies to things like hardware failures and even natural disaster.

At the very least, it means that your communications can stay open – which for charities that provide online or voice support to their patrons is a vital part of their service that can’t be compromised. Having a plan in place goes a long way to keeping you operational and maintaining your reputation as a reliable operation.

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