Trustees and leaders letting charities down on digital, lords hear

16 Nov 2016 News

Chester Mojay-Sinclare and Helen Milner giving evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee on Charities

Charity leaders still don’t have the right level of digital knowledge and skills, meaning that they waste money on inappropriate products or services, the Lords Select Committee on Charities heard yesterday. 

Helen Milner, chief executive of the Tinder Foundation, and Chester Mojay-Sinclare, founder of giving platform Charity Checkout, were answering questions from peers on the risks and opportunities of digital for charities. 

Milner said part of the problem is that charities “think that digital is something different to what they are already doing”. 

She recommended charities consider how digital fits into the rest of their strategy so that “digital ought to naturally become part of that solution”. And warned against a “kneejerk reaction” which leads to charities being overcharged by suppliers or consultants. 

Lord Bichard who is part of the committee added that he is aware of some charities “being ripped off by suppliers because they don’t have the knowledge or the skills”. 

Improving leadership 

Milner said that sector leaders needed to be upskilled to understand digital and recommended hiring people with digital skills. 

“They’re not expensive; you just have to know where to find them,” she said. 

Mojay-Sinclare said trustees were often the biggest barrier as there is a “clash” between technology which moves quickly and board committees which move slowly. 

He suggested that it should be a requirement for new charities to have a digital trustee.  

He said this would “bring a focus to digital” and also be way to involve more young people in charities. 

Milner said she agreed that trustee boards should have digital skills, but said that this should not be "one token trustee who gets digital and then nobody else has to".

  • The annual Charity Technology Conference, organised by Civil Society Media, takes place in London tomorrow, and there are still a few places remaining. More information is available here. 


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