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Five Ways Charities Need to Assess the Ethical Impact of Digital

Data, Digital and Technology (DDT) continues to rapidly transform the ways in which business, government and civil society operate. There is no doubt that it has brought many benefits –  it’s harder to get lost when you have a mobile device with access to Google Maps! But there has been increasing recognition that the consequences of applying DDT without proper review can lead to harm, entrenching or exacerbating existing societal biases.

This has led to an explosion of codes of conducts and principles on how to develop ethical tech products and services. Though this is a good sign that the tech industry has recognised the importance of ethics, this proliferation has created a bewildering landscape for charities wishing to understand the key considerations needed for digital ethics.

So how can you navigate the maze? Here are our five top tips, based on our work with the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) to help their members to discover which ethical principles are relevant to them and how to ask questions of tech partners to ensure they are on board.

1. Understand your environment

So we want to build an ethical digital product or service. How we get there requires us to understand the context in which we operate, so we can tailor our principles to that context. For example, for AMRC members, the context is data and digital health research, by charities and their partners, in the UK. It’s less catchy than just saying ‘digital health’ but it provides a useful frame to explore where other ethical work has been done and what might be different to this particular context. What is the context that you are working in?

2. Don’t reinvent the wheel

AMRC sought to assess what was out there already – rather than simply add to the ever expanding DDT ethics field. In the absence of a perfect fit to the specific context, we aimed to signpost to the most relevant high-level principles. This meant acknowledging what was distinctive, and also common about their context, identifying relevant principles, and connecting them to best practice and existing requirements. Can you use an existing framework?

3. Plan your route

With a clear understanding of our environment, we identified the relevant ethical principles for AMRC members through undertaking a review of literature, speaking with experts working in the field of ethics and AI and speaking with AMRC members who have the deep expertise in the fields they work with and quickly. The field of digital ethics is still evolving and we found people were willing to discuss and share their work. One key finding is that more guidance is needed to help all organisations really embed ethics into practice. Who should you involve?

To read the full Charity Digital News Article click here.

Source: Charity Digital News


Office 365 vs Office Desktop: Which is Really Best for Your Charity?

Software and services of all kinds have been moving to a cloud-based subscription model, and Microsoft have been no exception. But many charities and non-profit organisations are still assessing the benefits and risks of ditching their traditional desktop-based versions of programs like Word, Excel and PowerPoint and embracing Office 365 – Microsoft’s cloud-hosted version. In this article Charity Digital News takes a step back and weigh up some of the pros and cons of Office 365 for charities.

Pro: You can access all the main apps

With Microsoft Office 365 you’ll be able to access all the core productivity apps that belong to Microsoft Office, including Word, Powerpoint, Excel and Outlook, plus some extras. Even the free donated versions of Office 365 (Business Essentials and E1) have access to web-only versions of these apps, along with document storage, sharing and collaboration services like OneDrive, SharePoint and Microsoft Teams. For more on what you get with the different Office 365 Nonprofit versions,  go to the Microsoft website.

Con: You don’t get downloaded apps with the free version

With the free (donated) version of Office 365, all the apps included are browser-only versions, so you may not get access to the full features (plus you will need to have a decent internet connection at all times). You will need to invest in one of the paid subscription Nonprofit plans to be able to download the full version of the apps to your computer.

Plus, the free versions of Office 365 don’t include Access and Publisher. If you need those for your charity, PC users will be able to use Access and Publisher via a paid Office 365 subscription, or you can purchase Access separately through the tt-exchange catalogue.

To read the full Charity Digital News Article click here.

Source: Charity Digital News

 


Free Impact Measurement Guides Launch for Small Charities

The online set of guides and tools has been launched by sector bodies including New Philanthropy Capital and NCVO.

A National Lottery funded website run by sector organisations has launched to offer a suite of free guides to help small and medium sized charities measure the impact of their work.

The website combines a raft of resources available through the Inspiring Impact and Impact Management Programme, which merged last year and are run by sector groups including New Philanthropy Capital, NCVO and Social Value UK.

On offer are free how-to guides and self-assessment tools specifically designed to help small and medium sized charities evaluate their impact.

This includes research reports, outcomes frameworks and surveys, designed and complied together with around 200 charities and social enterprises.

Diagnostic Tool

Also included in the impact measurement resources is a data diagnostic tool, which is a five-minute questionnaire offering tailored recommendations about what data to collect.

Already more than 110,000 people have used these resources and the groups involved in their launch hope it will be even more accessible being consolidated into one place.

The Inspiring Impact programme launched in 2012 and is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, Access – The Foundation for Social Investment and the City Bridge Trust.

“Thanks to National Lottery players more community organisations and charities will be able to better plan, measure and improve their impact with Inspiring Impact’s new website and tools,” said Joe Ferns, UK Funding Director at The National Lottery Community Fund.

“By creating a culture in civil society of continuous improvement, with the help of peer learning networks and free online resources, more and more communities across the UK can thrive.”

Judith Rankin, development and delivery manager at sports charity Sported, which has already been supported by Inspiring Impact, said: “Inspiring Impact’s network, support and resources have massively helped to develop both Sported’s own impact practice and that of our members.

“Our staff team have benefitted from the opportunity for peer-learning with other Inspiring Impact Champions across the UK, and many of our member groups have utilised the Measuring Up assessment tool which provides an excellent framework to identify priority areas.

“We look forward to exploring the new website and resources to build upon our work developing the evidence base for the Sport for Development sector.”

Source: Charity Digital News


Free GDPR Guidance Gets an Update

The Institute of Fundraising has updated its free guidance around General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation.

The updated version of GDPR: The Essentials for Fundraising Organisations, includes the latest tips and advice since the guide was first published in May 2017 (a year before the EU data protection law went live).

Included in the updated version is information on minimising data protection risks as well as advice on appointing a data protection officer.

Top Tips

According to IoF Policy and Information Officer Sam Boyle it also includes “all new top tips on how to assess whether you have a legitimate interest in carrying out direct marketing under GDPR.”

Boyle said: “First of all, don’t worry, this is not a fundamental rewrite! The basics are still the same – this update is about tweaking, including latest thinking, and providing some more tips and advice.”

“No piece of guidance will be able to answer every single question that fundraisers might have, but we hope that it is the best ‘starting point’ for helping your charity get things right and a jumping off point to dive into areas in more depth.”

The IoF is anticipating that a further refresh will be required at a later date to ensure it remains relevant as new data protection issues, such as e-privacy, emerge.

Source: Charity Digital News


Free Guide to Encourage Charity Innovation

Non-profit sector tech experts have come together to offer advice to charities in a guide on how best to use technology and digital to drive innovation.

The Innovation Guide has been made available online by CharityComms, which represents charity communiations specialists, and includes sections on new fundraising tools and practices as well as the role of digital and technology in innovation.

An ‘It’s so shiny! The role of digital and tech in innovation’ section features practical advice from, among others, Rob Leyland, Innovation Manager at Cancer Research UK.

He explains the importance of using existing technology to experiment with new ideas.

An example he gives is work by Cancer Research UK to test the potential popularity of voice enabled devices to keep donors updated about the work of the charity.

For this the charity utlisied its existing news app on Amazon Alexa and online donation conformation webpage to test if people were interested.

“As it happened, less than 1% of the page traffic took up the offer to get our voice skill — so we knew that, for the moment at least, it was pretty much a non-starter,” says Leyland.

Also contributing is Si Muddell, digital engagement strategy director at Scope. He explains how digital has driven innovation in the charity sector over the last decade from “both a technological persepective and marketing perspective”.

He adds: “Developing products is substantially easier, quicker, and less expensive to do. There are so many tools for creating prototypes. Likewise, reaching audiences for feedback and smoke testing potential products is becoming amazingly simple and cost effective.

“Plus, everything we do digitally can be tracked giving us data insights to feed into product development.”

To read the full Charity Digital News Article click here.

Source: Charity Digital News


Free Guide to Improve Trustee Recruitment

A free guide has been made available online to help charities effectively recruit trustees.

Community leadership charity Getting on Board has made the guide available to download via its website to provide a practical toolkit to running effective and open trustee recruitment drives.

According to Getting on Board, 90% of charities say they recruit trustees by word of mouth.

A more open recruitment system would help ensure charities choose from the best candidates and improve diversity, says Getting on Board. It cites latest research that shows men outnumber women 2:1 on trustee boards, the average trustee is 57-years-old and only 41% of trustee boards represent the communities their charities work in.

Getting on Board has piloted the guide among charities looking for new trustees. Those that took part say that their strengthened boards feel more confident in meeting organisational challenges and 65% said their boards are more diverse.

“By giving charities the tools they need to effectively recruit and support trustees, we hope to create a system where charities are robust, and charity boards are best equipped to face the challenges of today and the future,” said Getting on Board Chief Executive Officer Penny Wilson.

“This guidance is part of our commitment to provide those tools, and to share our learning as widely as we are able.”

Assessing skills gaps

Issues covered in the guide include assessing skills gaps in trustee boards, effective advertisement and developing meaningful inductions for a new trustee. The guide also includes checklists and mapping skills guides for those looking to diversify or grow their trustee board.

Getting on Board said the guide is likely to be particularly useful to smaller charities looking to conduct an open trustee recruitment drive for the first time.

Source: Charity Digital News

 

 


Larger Charities have Adopted Charity Governance Code

A study of the annual reports of 85 charities with income above £5m has found that just under half have adopted the Charity Governance Code.

The research, by accountancy firm RSM, found that 44 per cent of the charities stated in their reports that they had aligned themselves with the code, whereas 56 per cent made no mention of it.

RSM wanted to find out what the uptake of the new code had been in its first 18 months, so it examined the reports of 85 charities and scored each one according to whether they said they had applied the code, and then, whether they had adopted it or not, how the code’s seven principles played out in their governance disclosures.

The researchers deliberately excluded charities with income below £5m, reasoning that larger charities would be better placed to adopt the code because of the greater resources at their disposal.

Of all the charities studied, the largest ones (income of £20m +) scored highest, with an average score of 57.9 per cent.  The next highest scorers were the smaller ones, with £5-£10m income – they scored, on average, 44.6 per cent.  The middle group scored an average of 38 per cent.

Nick Sladden, head of charities and independent schools at RSM, said this showed that “reduced income is not a barrier to the demonstration of good governance”.

Medical research and health charities were best at applying the code, closely followed by overseas aid and development organisations and those working with animals and the environment.

The study also found that those that stated they had adopted the code also demonstrated higher adherence to the principles outlined within it, by an average score of 10 per cent.

“This is a key finding,” said Sladden. “The correlation between adopting the code and the demonstration of good governance practice is pretty clear and speaks to the usefulness of the code in applying overall good governance.”

In terms of the principles outlined in the code, charities were worst at achieving diversity. “The real howler for the sector was diversity,” said Sladden. “When we looked at disclosures around diversity, particularly around trustee recruitment processes, we found that to be generally very poor.”

To read the full Civil Society article click here.

Source: Civil Society


Lessons from the Charity Digital Code: Principle 1 – Leadership

The Charity Digital Code of Practice was launched last year thanks to the combined efforts of a group of sector organisations, with the aim of helping charities benchmark their progress in using digital and learn from example. It focuses on seven guiding principles for success with tangible actions charities can take.

In this series, Tech Trust trustee and Chair of the Charity Digital Code of Practive Zoe Amar speaks with a charity that embodies one of each of the seven principles, sharing their lessons and experiences.

This week Amar spoke with Lara Burns, Chief Digital and Technology Officer at Age UK about the principle of ‘leadership’. An inspirational digital leader, Burns has worked across sectors leading innovation, transformation and change programmes for 25 years.

Zoe Amar: From your conversations with charity leaders, do you think more of them see digital as important? If not, what could change this?

Lara Burns: Age UK is a network of local Age UKs and we know that local leaders are keen to do things differently. We did a survey of local CEOs in our network and 65% prioritised being able to use digital to enable their service delivery, but 83% cited lack of funding as the major barriers, whilst skills were also a challenge.

I think this is fairly typical of small to medium sized charities. It is really easy when you are in a big charity in London to think digital is obvious and everyone gets it, but that is not always the case. Smaller charities can get stuck on what to do next.

This is where The Charity Digital Code of Practice is important. I also think there are more conversations happening at senior level about the Code and digital.

To read the full Charity Digital News Article click here.

Source: Charity Digital News


Free Charity Toolkit Upgrades Revealed

A free to access digital toolkit aimed at improving charity performance has been upgraded to include a tool to support income generation.

The funding tool has been developed by the Charity Excellence Framework to help charities ensure they can prove the impact of their work to the public and funders.

This offers a dashboard that tracks around 300 issues across the organisation in areas such as maximising impact, delivering value for money, financial sustainability and ability to deliver in terms of capacity and planning.

Compliance, leadership and safeguarding issues, such as tackling bullying and encouraging whistleblowing, are also included.

Response to Falling Trust

Charity Excellence Framework Founder Ian McLintock said the funding tool has been launched to help charities respond to falling trust in the sector.

“The Charity Commission Trust in Charities 2018 report found that four in 10 members of the public are donating less, as a result, and when charities are able to show that most of their donations directly reach the end cause, and they are having quantifiable positive results, both trust and willingness to donate increase,” he said.

“The dashboard assurance table enables charities to do so, by providing hard data for funding bids and annual reports.”

The funding tool is one of a number of improvements made in this first major upgrade since the toolkit launched last summer, added McLinktock.

“System navigation has been improved and the framework generation process, which creates a unique set of questionnaires for each user, has been made more sophisticated, making it not only easier to use, but also lower workload and more effective,” he said.

Last month the Charity Excellence Framework launched a resource hub available to anyone in the charity and social enterprise sector covering areas such as finding funders, mentoring and free goods and services for the sector.

Source: Charity Digital News


Building a Business Case for Investing In Fundraising

For many charities and social enterprises in a tight financial position, it’s the classic dilemma. You need to invest in fundraising, perhaps to replace dwindling income from other sources, but have less disposable cash than ever.

So building the case for investing in fundraising – whether that means a new staff member, hiring a consultant or increasing your marketing budget – isn’t easy. Particularly when it involves dealing with management or trustees who may know less about fundraising than you, and are naturally risk averse.

If you were asked to put together a robust and convincing case for investing in fundraising, where would you start? How would you address people’s concerns? Here are their top tips:

1. Show how fundraising success would boost your overall mission

When I’m working with an organisation on their fundraising strategy, I initially ask two questions: Why have you decided to focus on fundraising? What do you hope to achieve through successful fundraising?

Many organisations set ambitious goals for their project work, but fail to show the same fundraising ambition. But the two things are inextricably linked – if you’re trying to double the number of people you help, or move into a new region, you’ll likely need a step-change in fundraising.

So try to make people focus on how much more the organisation could achieve if it raised more money. You’ll stand a better chance of convincing management and trustees to make the investment needed.

2. Educate people about your current fundraising efforts

I’ve worked with organisations whose CEO or trustees have been genuinely surprised by how much they’re raising in certain areas, or completely oblivious about simple blockages that are holding back fundraising. However, people will make better long-term decisions about fundraising if they understand this properly.

Inspire confidence in your future plans by emphasising which areas are already proving successful, and which ones have the potential for a drastic improvement with a little more investment.

To read the full Lime Green Consulting article click here.

Source: Lime Green Consulting.


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