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New free tool launched to help charity leaders improve digital skills during Covid-19

04 Jun 2020 News

A new free tool for charity leaders aims to help improve digital skills during Covid-19 with tips on things like setting up services and homeworking.

The digital checklist has been developed as part of the Charity Digital Code of Practice, which launched in November 2018, and has been created in partnership with Catalyst.

Users can refer to the checklist for tips on developing digital services, setting up remote working and people management systems, optimising digital fundraising platforms, digitalising governance processes, incorporating digital activity into strategy and making the most of resources. 

The Code was created to provide charities with practical advice on using digital to increase impact, sustainability and skills. It is managed by a steering group of representatives from across the sector and chaired by the independent digital expert Zoe Amar. 

The steering group developed the digital checklist in response to the increased pressure on charities due to the pandemic. 

Amar said: “The last two months have been extremely challenging for the charity sector, and it’s crucial that digital activity is prioritised if we are going to adapt and respond to the ‘new normal’. Upskilling charity organisations of all sizes must include our charity trustees and advisers so they have a clear understanding of the threats and opportunities facing their organisations.”

One in three charities cancel services due to a lack of digital skills

Findings from the recent Charity Digital Skills Report survey showed that during this pandemic, one in three charities has cancelled services due to a lack of digital skills.

The digital checklist was tested with trustees and charity advisers from nine different organisations.

D'Arcy Myers, chair of the Association of Charitable Organisations, was one of the early testers of the checklist. He said:  “Many charity trustees are put off by the word 'digital', and it is often tempting to leave decisions about digital activity to other board members if you don't feel confident about your own knowledge and skills. 

“To govern successfully we need collective decision making at board level, and this applies to digital strategy too. The great thing about this new checklist is that it's accessible to everyone. It is a tool which can bring an understanding of digital to the entire board, giving them everything they need to understand what they should be aiming to achieve and how to go about it.”

The Code is funded by Charity IT Leaders, Cisco, The Co-op Foundation and Lloyds Banking Group, with support from the Centre for Acceleration of Social Technology (CAST) as part of the Catalyst initiative.

Comic Relief and Paul Hamlyn Foundation announce £230,000 digital programme

Meanwhile, Comic Relief and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation have added a new early-stage strand, Explore, to their Tech for Good funding initiative with a £230,000 fund. 

Grants of up to £5,000 for individual organisations, or £7,500 for collaborations, are now available to apply for.

Successful applicants will take part in a 12-week programme to look at the digital services they might provide and to explore how digital technology could transform the ways they work.

The programme will be delivered by CAST.

The application process is open to UK charities and not-for-profit organisations with incomes of between £75,000 and £10m. A total of 40 to 50 grants are expected to be awarded. Applications close on 22 June 2020.

Understand which digital trends are most critical for good governance and what every charity board should be doing during the pandemic with Civil Society Media's Digital Training for Trustees. The next course takes place on 24 and 25 June, find out more about the programme and book here. 



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