Big data, the large volumes of data collected by organisations from multiple sources, is ‘levelling the playing field’ for charities by allowing them to gain similar insights into their supporters as international businesses get into their customers, a Microsoft conference has heard.


Tech4GoodMicrosoft’s first digital conference in Scotland, took place in March at Microsoft’s Scottish headquarters in Edinburgh, in partnership with the SCVO, and the Technology Trust. It included talks on current trends in the technology sector with a focus on digital transformation and cyber security.


Speaking at the event, Microsoft’s head of technology in the UK, Steven Grier said:

“One of the features of technology that I find most exciting for the third sector is how it’s helping to level the playing field. The power of data, for example, in providing valuable insight about who and where your donors are and when they are likely to donate, is amazingly exciting for charities.”


Microsoft referenced Lloyd’s Bank UK Digital Business Index 2016, at the event, which revealed that almost half of UK charities lack digital skills, while those that are more digitally experienced are 28% more likely to attract additional funding.


Eve Joseph, Microsoft’s UK Responsibility Manager and Tech4Good Lead, said: “I believe technology can be a powerful force that opens exciting opportunities for charities to achieve their missions and accelerate their impact. But for this to happen, it is fundamental for charity leaders to have a basic understanding of technology and to embed digital in their strategic planning.”


The conference is a key Microsoft philanthropies initiative run by Microsoft interns from across the UK, aimed at tackling the lack of technology skills among UK charities through free learning workshops.