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Action Bequia Case Study
- Infrastructure can be difficult and expensive to maintain;
- Funds are lacking for community organisations;
- Environmental awareness and stewardship are essential;
- Sustainable water supplies are challenging, particularly among the island’s poorer residents;
Action Bequia is a small UK registered charity staffed entirely by volunteers. Over the last ten years, it has raised millions of dollars to work with delivery partners and fund grants to community organisations to tackle these challenges.
One of the charity’s key goals is to ensure it keeps running costs as low as possible (less than 2% of funds raised) to maximise funds disbursed to benefit the island community.
Led by a retired technology executive, David Harper, the charity has always been keen to embrace technology to enable it to reach its supporters worldwide. However, as Action Bequia grew, the process of receiving and processing donations was growing increasingly burdensome.
Donations can be made either to Action Bequia, dedicated to a specific project or to community organisations via the charity. Donations could be one-off or a monthly commitment made via Paypal or bank transfer. This process meant their website needed a branching workflow of options, information gathering, and guidance—the process required to be updated regularly and efficiently as community projects changed. Finally, there was an additional but welcome complication. The UK government allows UK taxpayers to opt into Gift Aid on donations to UK charities. The charity can make a Gift aid claim to the UK government, which will top up the donation by 25% to reflect the tax paid on the income when the donor earned it.
What was worse was the admin that then needed to be happening behind the scenes to process the donations. Information gathered in the forms had to be matched manually with the Payment report from Paypal to determine if a Gift Aid claim was available and then file the claim. On top of maintaining the records required by the Charity Commission, the UK’s charity regulator. The administration was taking a full working day every month.
Every month Action Bequia’s unpaid volunteers were putting in hours of spreadsheet drudgery to ensure financial records were accurate and funds maximised.
Action Bequia was introduced to AUTTO by a mutual backer, and we set out to help. AUTTO enabled the charity to quickly and easily build digital workflows, tables and integrations to meet their business needs without writing a line of code:
- The joint team built a donation workflow that encompassed all of the different branches and information gathering requirements;
- The workflow used AUTTO’s integration with world-leading payments provider Stripe to take donations;
- The team set up a Data Table within AUTTO to store all the information the charity needed on donations, and the AUTTO workflow automatically updated as part of the donation process;
- Finally, they built a reporting workflow scheduled to run automatically at the end of each month to produce the reports.
By digitally transforming their donation process Action Bequia took the time spent on donation administration from hours to minutes.
Action Bequia CEO David Harper said: “For a volunteer-led and community-based charity like ours getting our admin done accurately and almost time-free is a gift. It frees our volunteers to do what they love most – engage with the community. What we love about AUTTO is now that it is up and running, we can quickly and easily make any changes we need without further support.”
AUTTO CEO Ian Gosling commented, “We are delighted to support Action Bequia in their environmental work and helping community organisations. Sometimes just changing small things can make a big difference.”