New cloud development aims to support charities


news Appichar, a technology company that has been working with not-for-profit organisations for over ten years in the UK and three years in Australia, has launched a locally developed system called ‘Supporter360’ that aims to use the latest cloud technologies to help charitable organisations computerise their operations with minimal capital investment.

Traditionally organisations are forced to invest heavily in hardware and software making it difficult for small organisations and charitable organisations to afford the luxury of technology. However, Appichar’s founder and CEO, Ian Ryder said that due to the sea change in the accessibility of technology for everybody, the opportunities to connect and innovate have greatly increased. New technologies and the new cloud approach helps in the creation of an evolving system rather than locking you into a framework that does not change but forces you to work with it.

“This positive approach fundamentally changes the end-user experience and what organisations can expect from their precious investments and we’re really excited to be part of that change,” said Ryder. This breaking of entry barriers is especially crucial for charitable organisations, as they would like to ensure that each donor’s contribution is utilised to the maximum. With no money spent on servers, software, training and support staff, cloud has the potential to become the relevant technology for charitable organisations.

The system is built on top of’s platform and was developed in Australia over the past 18 months. Appichar is now making the platform available globally.

“Disruptive technologies are generally great for everyone apart from the old-fashioned companies who would really rather cling onto the old way of doing things,” said Ryder, noting that large successful billion dollar companies will resist adopting new technologies like cloud computing in order to maintain their revenue flow.

But companies like Appichar are making it necessary for those organisations to change in order to compete with smaller more nimble firms, he added. “It’s happening to much bigger companies in the mobile world and you can even look at Microsoft and wonder what the future holds for them. It doesn’t get much bigger than that!” said Ryder.

Ryder said that his company is very excited about the product and that they have pulled together some of the smartest minds in the not-for-profit and fundraising world. They also have a great relationship with the Salesforce Foundation that makes this product freely available for not-for-profit organisations.

There’s a fair amount of cloud hype contained in this article; but it’s a very slow news week so you have got to expect a few puff pieces ;) Setting that aside, however, it is interesting to see these kind of more specialised applications built on top of the platform, especially when it’s done in Australia. I don’t think the potential of the platform has yet been fully explored, and I’m sure that a number of quite powerful niche products will continue to emerge in this vein over the next few years — especially in areas such as government, where good specialised cloud solutions are desperately needed.

Image credit: Ewen Roberts, Creative Commons. Opinion/analysis by Renai LeMay


  1. This is an interesting concept but I have some reservations.

    1) Security of the donor data base information. Having this hacked or misused isn’t only going to be inconvenient it will cost donors. You lose some control in going to the cloud.

    2) Not pressing the flesh. Successful fund raising is very much based on developing trust with donors and within the community and the most important part of this is person to person contact. People will talk about you with others if they have met you and talked about your efforts with you. They rarely mention the latest mail/email appeal from an organisation. When was the last time you discussed the merits of an unsolicited donation request with a friend?

    3) Not integrated with the accounting software. I think that the good accounting packages such as MYOB already provide the ability to integrate this type of detail and automatically update everything in one operation . Why would you need to split your donors/donations to the cloud as a separate operation.which means double data handling? Is there really a cost benefit for the NFP in adopting this system?

  2. @ Bob.H

    Just to respond to your points in turn:

    1) Salesforce is about as secure as any system on the planet, certainly more secure than your average organisation trying to roll their own systems. Every organisation is connected to the web in some way these days so unless you have the best people and processes, it’s likely to be open in more ways than you’d care to think about. Have a look at to see what hoops Salesforce jump through.

    2) Agreed, when you’ve got thousands of supporters how do you know whose flesh to press first? It’s key to have the right systems to make sure precious resources are pointed at the right places first. Every channel whether it be email, post, TV, face to face, peer to peer etc all rely on human relationships somewhere.

    3) The great thing about the Salesforce platform is it integrates with pretty much anything including MYOB and many other systems out there. supporter360 is all about relationship management and development, certainly not facilities you’ll find in an accounting package.

    Have a look at and you’ll get an idea of some of the things it can do!

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