Towards a definition of a technology charity

I wonder if we’ll ever have ‘technology charities’ like we have technology companies?

Well, there doesn’t seem to be an agreed definition for tech companies to use as a basis for a definition of a tech charity so I’ll have to do a bit of creative thinking.

To give myself a frame to work within, I’ll start with three criteria, and I’ll make each criteria on a four point scale. So, a charity that is

The criteria are:

  • How they approach developing software to deliver value (including using data as part of the value)
  • How they approach using software to interact with beneficiaries
  • How they approach technical capabilities within the organisation
Low-tech charityTech-enabled charityTech-first charityTechnology charity
SoftwareUses COTS platforms in isolation and doesn’t collect data from them.Uses multiple COTS platforms to deliver value and connects some of them to allow data exchange.Develops software on top of COTS platforms to deliver some core value and collects and uses some data to add value.Creates proprietary software to deliver the core value of the organisation and collects and uses data as part of the value.
InteractionInteracts with beneficiaries over separate channels with no single view of the interactions.Interacts with beneficiaries via multiple channels and records interactions in separate platforms.Interacts with beneficiaries via multiple channels and has an incomplete view of the interactions in a single platform.Uses proprietary software as the primary means of interacting with beneficiaries and creates a single view of all interactions.
CapabilitiesNo internal or outsourced capabilities.Very limited internal or some outsourced capabilities.Internal capabilities across general skill sets.Full internal capabilities for managing proprietary software, data, etc.

Next step is going to be to test these definitions against some real charities.