Is paperless a reality for charities?

It is, according to Owen Balloch, Marketing Manager at Kodak Alaris.

For all charities, there’s a constant need to achieve more with less. That means resources have to be stretched and efficiencies maximised, which could lead to a great embracing of digital solutions for charities and community organisations alike.

The digital workplace comes in many forms, but one of the most easily achievable and easy to manage methods of streamlining workflows and boosting efficiency is to reduce physical paper consumption through digital workflows. Here are some benefits to such an approach:

  • 45% of the paper printed in offices ends up in a waster bin: This daily lifespan occurs for over a trillion sheets of paper per year.
  • A typical employee spends 30-40% of their time looking for information locked in E-Mail and filing cabinets.
  • The average document is copied 9 to 11 times, and every 12 filing cabinets require an additional employee to maintain.
  • Each four-drawer file cabinet holds an average of 10,000 to 12,000 documents, and takes up to nine square feet of floor space, a massive expense when budgets are tight and under pressure.
  • Large organisations lose a document every 12 seconds.
  • Paper in the average organisation grows by 22% a year.

The benefits of transitioning into the digital world are far-reaching and can include:

Efficiency: Digital documents are much easier to manage, store and retrieve than paper ones. Having documents available to access and share regardless of the location improves team productivity and brings a better customer experience.

Faster communication: Paper documents will take at least a day to transfer from Point A to Point B. Even then there may be delays, misplacement, or complete loss. Once digitised, a document is available where it is needed, instantly. It’s also more secure.

Document back-up and recovery: With the paperless office documents are stored electronically for simple and easy back-ups to a remote server or the cloud. This protects information should disaster strike. Paper documents lost in a fire or flood are irreplaceable.

Cost savings: Print, paper and storage are costly. Charities need to demonstrate that they are using as much of a donor’s contribution on its projects as possible: Reducing outlay on storage, archiving, ink, paper and printing is a tangible saving worth making.

Here are some hints and tips on making that move to paperless:

  1. Assess paper-driven bottlenecks:

Detail the most critical business processes, such as the ones that stop or ‘harm’ operations if they are delayed. Review existing documentation or establish a quick step-by-step overview noting where paper is used in each process or task. Assess the number of paper business inputs required for the chosen processes in a typical day, week or month and the time involved in the manual handling of the paper document.

  1. Establish paperless processes where feasible:

Identify tasks that rely on paper-based inputs but can easily be shifted to a digital implementation: Ensure that digital and conventional processes can be handled in parallel and are fully integrated.

  1. Scanning and back-file conversion:

Any documents that arrive in paper form should be scanned and converted to electronic format as quickly as possible upon receipt. The chances are that paper documents and files coming from external sources will likely be a part of your operations for some time. The key is to digitise those files as soon as they arrive so they can be acted on immediately. There may also be value in converting existing archives to digital, but this requires high retrieval rates and some resource.

  1. Update stakeholders

Once you have implemented the shift to digitalisation, you should inform all stakeholders about the changes and how it affects them. You may want to issue an email notice highlighting the advantages and also cover any concerns that may exist about security and privacy.


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