Charity sector contributes to its first Digital Code of Practice
Charities from across the UK have contributed to a consultation for the UK’s first Charity Digital Code of Practice which is due to launch in November this year.
The Code, which will aim to help charities improve their digital skills and increase their take up of digital activity, is being funded by Lloyds Banking Group and the Co-op Foundation and managed by a steering group of representatives from across the sector chaired by independent digital expert Zoe Amar. It will be voluntary and free to access for all charities.
The consultation period ran from July to September and there were 171 responses from organisations of all sizes providing constructive feedback and giving an invaluable steer for the last stages of the Code’s development.
Key themes from the responses included the challenges facing charities when it comes to digital activity. 60% of survey respondents said they want to increase digital skills at their charity, with 49% stating that they are using digital well but need to take things to the next level. 39% need more funding to progress with digital and 36% wanted to know how to manage risk. Just over a quarter (26%) need their boards to get behind digital, with 16% wanting more support from their leadership team. A quarter of respondents don’t know what to prioritise.
There was also strong enthusiasm for the Code, with 79% of respondents saying they will ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’ use it. Many were keen for resources to help them with implementation such as how-to guides, case studies, opportunities to learn from peers and assessment tools. In light of this feedback, the steering group is discussing ongoing plans to develop resources to accompany the Code, some of which will be available from November.
Some of the sector’s largest organisations responded to the consultation including Age UK, CLIC Sargent, NSPCC and World Vision.
Lara Burns, Chief Digital and Technology Officer at Age UK, said:
“As a sector, there is much more we can do to fully embrace the opportunities that digital technology offers and the Charity Digital Code of Practice will provide a welcome structure for this.
“It will give a helpful direction for leadership and governance, and a potential framework for collaborating across the sector and sharing learnings, whilst the resources will provide practical help for delivering programmes.
“We’re already planning to make use of the Code across Age UK as we develop our ‘BeDigital’ transformation programme, and we hope to use the Code in future to share experiences with others across the sector.”
Kevin O’Brien, Director of Finance and Corporate Resources at CLIC Sargent, added: “At CLIC Sargent, we are fully embracing digital and have been working hard to implement new ways of working across the organisation with our beneficiaries, supporters, volunteers and staff. The Charity Digital Code of Practice will be a great framework tool and we will be using this as a key way to measure our effectiveness too. It’s brilliant that this will be a free-to-use resource which will help many charities across the sector including CLIC Sargent”
Clive Gardiner, Head of Digital at NSPCC said: “The Charity Digital Code of Practice will be a hugely helpful, timely and topical resource, offering a robust, constructive framework of issues, tips and checklists that organisations of all sizes can reflect upon and consider. Having been involved since its inception and through iterations and piloting, it’s wonderful to see it come to fruition with such flourish. It will support and complement perfectly the suite of digital strategy initiatives I’m leading at NSPCC this year to ensure that our digital transformation accelerates to match the pace of change in the external world.”
Martin Campbell, Chief Information Officer at World Vision UK said: “Charities often focus digital thinking on the nuts and bolts of websites and marketing, and can miss the bigger opportunities presented by adopting digital at the heart of the organisation. I’m really pleased that we’ll be able to use the Charity Digital Code of Practice to centre our digital activity around leadership, strategy and, most importantly, culture.”
The Charity Digital Code of Practice will launch on 15 November. Join the conversation about the code by using the hashtag #CharityDigitalCode
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