With nearly ten years of social enterprise experience and as a previous manager of a social enterprise digital agency, I know all too well how important it is to deal with limited resources.
The digital budget at a charity or social enterprise can all too often be dropped to the bottom of the list. But having a good digital presence is essential to tell the story to stakeholders about the organisation and engage with audiences to attract volunteers / donations / or indeed new projects.
Since I took a career leap into a private sector agency, I have still been able to apply my skills to the non-profit sectors and see the value created for the third sector with the right approach to digital projects. For me, it’s all about long term sustainable partnerships underpinned by sharing knowledge and shared objectives. If we can up-skill and share knowledge and best practise, everyone will benefit in the long run.
I believe the real digital opportunity created for the third sector has been driven by the dawn and development of Open Source platforms. Open Source refers to a program or software in which the source code is available to the general public from its original design free of charge. Types of Open Source platforms include Drupal, Wordpress or Joomla. Open Source differs to proprietary, or custom software which is owned by the individual or company that commissioned or developed it. In this instance, the source code is kept private and not shared with the customer.
Since working at Ixis I have become a Drupal disciple. Why? Because it takes the notion of collaboration to another level.
With Ixis, I am now working with some very large scale reputable charities and social businesses and it has been fascinating and encouraging to see the third sector embrace Open Source software and the social momentum that comes with it. Recently we’ve worked to re-develop the website of Epilepsy Action – the largest member led epilepsy organisation in Britain- and also helped international charity VSO develop its digital presence. Both charities have made the move to Open Source platform Drupal and can really see the benefits of the flexible system which operates on the core values of community, transparency and accountability. These values stem from the fact that Drupal is built, used and supported by an active community of nearly a million users and developers so, unlike closed, proprietary systems, the community can engage together on the very best website solutions.
It is these core values that sit perfectly with the third sector. At Ixis, we really believe in the power of Drupal and work to up-skill digital staff so they have the best knowledge to control and develop the website themselves, thus helping them maximise digital budgets.
I really hope the third sector can recognise the social values through Drupal and work together in what I believe is the perfect synergy.