Two charities have shared a cash prize of £750,000 after bowling over judges in the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists’ Charity IT Awards.
CALM (Campaign against Living Miserably) and Missing People beat out 74 other entrants to win the prize, impressing a panel led by Lord Lieutenant of Greater London and past Master of the WCIT, Sir Kenneth Olisa.
The competition was created to reward organisations that harness the power of technology to stimulate change.
“Our creative approach has enabled us to make a lifechanging difference to two charities rather than just one, and to build the opportunity to help many more in the future through enhanced collaboration,” said Sir Kenneth.
“We are delighted in terms of what we have been able to deliver.”
CALM formed in 2006 to lead a movement against male suicide, the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK. Missing People, meanwhile, is a charity dedicated to bringing missing children and adults back together with their families.
Both winning organisations told judges that they face rising call and online chat volumes with insufficient human resources to service all the contacts they receive.
They are therefore both seeking to make innovative use of chatbots supported by artificial intelligence and machine learning to prioritise calls and increase the number of enquiries successfully handled.
“Our members are proud of our past funding achievements,” said Stefan Fafinski, Master of the WCIT.
“This award can only add to our reputation and demonstrate the huge power of livery company philanthropy and pro bono volunteering as part of the City of London.”
Simon Gunning, CEO of CALM, said the prize will allow his colleagues to “radically improve” helpline services.
He said: “The selection process was certainly gruelling and it’s a testament to the professionalism of the WCIT that we were made to hone every line of our plan to get through.
— WCITCharity (@WCITCharity) October 4, 2018
“We look forward to this rigour continuing as we embark on a partnership with the WCIT, throughout which we will be utilising the skills of the company’s membership.”
CEO of Missing People, Jo Youle, added: “We see huge opportunity to share learning that will have significant benefit for the voluntary sector, especially helpline providers.”