Did you know that CTXchange is the only channel in the UK for software donations from Microsoft, as well as a number of other technology providers?
While CTXchange is primarily used by charities, many housing providers may also meet eligibility criteria and start receiving significant savings on software such as Windows 8, Microsoft Office, Norton Antivirus and many other titles.
Many housing providers have already saved tens of thousands from their IT budget, as a small admin fee is all that each eligible organisation needs to pay. CTT provides the CTXchange programme in partnership with TechSoup who manage the relationship with the donors on a global basis. The programme is funded by administration fees that are around three per cent of the commercial rate of the software.
For example, Melin Homes has been registered with CTX for over three years and has made savings of nearly 96 per cent on their IT budget. It has received over £117,000 worth of software, at a fraction of the cost. The housing provider is responsible for over 3,000 homes and has been able to make remote desktops available for staff, transforming working methods and saving time for the IT team.
The process is simple. Register online, provide a copy of an HMRC exemption form, together with an FSA registration form and we can let you know what donations you could be eligible for. Licensing guidelines are set by the individual partner; for example, Microsoft states that, within a two-year period, each eligible organisation can request products from up to ten of the title groups, with a 50-licence maximum for desktop and operating systems or licence-only title groups.
And what else does CTT do? We began life in 2001 with a mission to demonstrate how the effective use of technology can improve the efficiency of third sector organisations. Today, we provide online payments systems and email marketing services in addition to CTXchange.
However, we are also open to new ideas and programmes to help organisations across the third sector make the most of their investments in technology.
At one end of the scale, small voluntary organisations can improve efficiency and take the pressure off stretched resources through the use of technology. However, with limited resources and often very challenging goals, technology is often an understandably low priority. At the other end of the scale, we hope to enable more sharing and learning between the very largest organisations and also with those further down the scale in size.
Having recently conducted a survey of around 150 charities in partnership with The Worshipful Company of Information Technologists, LASA, IT4Communities and Adapta Consulting, we have found that two-thirds employ no IT staff and around 50 per cent had no IT skills in-house, whether paid or voluntary. The cost of IT products, services and advice is also a significant barrier.
Unlike their third sector ‘cousins’ in the housing sector (who even have their own dedicated conference and publication!), many charities fail to think strategically about technology and the benefits it could bring.
CTT is increasingly working to enable more organisations to engage strategically and effectively with technology. We’re seeing a real need for more CEOs and trustees to understand the opportunities presented by technology so that it can be considered at a more strategic level.
And we also see the need for better ways of engaging technology providers – those who have an understanding of (and a heart for) the sector, as well as those who are willing to volunteer ‘pro bono’ support and/or donate or discount their products and services to make them affordable.
The sorts of statements we hear include: “I’m a charity CEO. Technology could help us be more efficient and effective, but I have no idea what my first step should be”. And many technology providers say things like: “I want to help charities in the UK. I really am genuine in my desire to do real CSR and give something back, but who can help me with this?”
Here at CTT, we believe we are in a good position, together with other partners, sharing common goals, to start addressing these issues.
Providing clearer sign-posts to thought leadership (online content, training or consultancy), together with a well-publicised marketplace (enabling the tech sector providers to engage with third sector needs) and communities (self-support networks) are all ideas that could start to make a difference. The third sector can be strengthened by better planning, procurement and deployment of exciting new technologies.
If you would like to know more about any of this, and are possibly interested in joining CTT and our partners on this journey, then we would be delighted to hear from you.
Jon Brewer is the development director of CTT.