Five years ago I was a very fit and active 47 year old with a large family and a good career in the NFP sector at Westwood Forster. Then, for no apparent reason, I suffered catastrophic and near fatal heart failure.
I survived but was left with a severely damaged heart with only 30% capacity left - my life changed dramatically. I could no longer do most of the things I took for granted - active family life, sport, work, I could hardly get upstairs – it was devastating.
Westwood Forster supported me, giving me work I could do at home since I could no longer manage the journey to work or anything close to a full working day. I did what I could, it was really important to me to still feel I could contribute and had a purpose in life. As time went on and I adapted to my new way of life, I was able to get more involved testing our latest product alms.NET and helping WF progressing its work on understanding the sector processes and transforming them into new, efficient best practice solutions.
Then last year my life changed incredibly again and for the better this time. I was given stem cell treatment by the Heart Cells Foundation charity on a trial basis and for me the results were incredible – my heart has recovered amazingly and now I have 80% capacity back and still improving. I have been on national TV and in the National press talking about the success of my treatment and the need to support these charities that get very little other funding for this vital research.
Working in the charity sector for so many years and then getting my life given back to me by a charity seems like touch of fate! Now I am a new man – with lots of catching up to do!
To that end I was at the Institute of Fundraising Technology Conference in early May. I had a great day, meeting new and old faces, clients, consultants and companies. Listening to the issues faced by our sector and the choices being offered - I heard about Cloud based products and a myriad of apps that could be developed or integrated. Wonderful technological advances made in my five year absence – so much had changed…
But so much hadn’t - it seemed to me that some of the underlying issues were still unresolved.
Data migration issues seemed prevalent. The responsibility of this complex task appeared to lie largely with the charities. We firmly believed that the crucial task of re-engineering data so that it sits properly in the database has to be a joint responsibility between supplier and the user.
Where were the process improvement metrics - the crucial benchmarks that can demonstrate process efficiency so that more of the hard-earned cash can be spent on the cause and not the technology. How can you adopt new technology without this data?
I was left with the distinct impression that, while so many amazing technological advances had been made, the technology is still being used to herald change without a firm understanding of its benefits.
I’m glad to be back. Whilst technology has moved on the Westwood Forster approach is as valid as ever – and part of my role is to get this message out. Watch this space..