Arthritic Association web siteVery few charities can afford to employ full-time publishing and web development specialists, but keeping up-to-date with the latest developments in print, publishing and web technology can bring great benefits.

For instance, how much do you and your staff know about digital printing? Probably not that much – it’s hardly the most interesting subject in the world. But it could save you money on print costs and warehousing costs, or enable you to produce copies of leaflets, booklets and factsheets on demand, as you need them.

Arthritic Association membership leaflet - outside pagesDigitally printed documents can also be adjusted to fit the individual user. So, for example, in a list of local support groups for your service users, the organisations included could be changed depending on the user’s postcode. Think of the savings you can make in warehousing and unnecessary printing.

Another issue that affects a lot of small charities is providing information in minority languages. The print runs required for this are usually very low, making the cost of providing each individual booklet (or factsheet, report or whatever) prohibitively expensive.

However, combining digital printing with web technology can provide a way round this. You could simply have your translated documents converted to PDF files (a format designed for delivering printed documents over the internet) and make them available from your web site. You can inform local support groups of the availability of the booklets, and provide them with the contact details of a local digital printer, who can simply download the booklet and print off the number of copies required by the local group, at a reasonable cost.

Obviously this doesn’t solve all the problems – you still have to bear the cost of translating the materials in the first place – but it’s a step in the right direction.

Cancer Resource Centre web siteBoth print technology and the internet are very fast-moving areas. There are endless ways in which these emerging technologies can be used to help your client group or deliver information to your members and supporters. But coming up with the right ideas is difficult if you’re not up to date with the latest changes in the field.

Which is where I come in. Most organisations could benefit from a day or two’s consultancy, to identify cost-saving or service-improvement opportunities in the way you provide information. To discuss the possibilities, contact me without delay.