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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.

Charity Trustee IT Skills Dropping

Tech Trust’s 2019 annual whitepaper reveals the biggest charity sector tech trends – and how digital can help narrow the divide between the charities improving their impact and those in danger of being left behind.

Tech Trust’s annual whitepaper report has revealed that 40% of charities consider their trustees’ IT competence ‘below average’ – a significant increase from last year’s 29%.

The second annual cross-sector survey on digital also shows that there has been an increase in the number of charity trustees who rate their own skills with IT as ‘below average’ – 33%, up from just 20% last year.

Given the key role of charity leaders and trustees in enabling digital change in their charities, the report warns that a skills gap like this could put many charities behind.

Many charities are improving in lots of other ways, such as in their use of the cloud to drive efficiency and their ability to defend against cyber attacks.

But the divide is widening between the charities making the most of digital to drive their missions – and those who are at the other end of the spectrum whose ability to achieve impact faces uncertainty.

The whitepaper ‘The Charity Digital Spectrum: How all charities can go further with digital’ reveals these trends and many more and is packed full of practical takeaways and actions – it is free for charities to download.

Source: Charity Digital News

Free Digital Tool to Support Charity Commission Registration

A new tool is aimed at small charities who feel overwhelmed by the Charity Commission registration process.

A free digital tool has been launched to help small charities register with the Charity Commission.

The charitysetup tool has been developed by the Small Charities Coalition, the Centre for Acceleration of Social Technology (CAST) and development agency Super Being Labs.

It has been created after research among small charities by the coalition found that many find the registration process difficult and feel overwhelmed with the technical information and jargon involved.

Currently 44% of the Small Charities Coalition’s support line queries are about setting up a charity with the regulator.

Angela Style, Interim Chief Executive of the Small Charities Coalition, said: “Our members tell us every day that the current guidelines, although thorough, are not always written with small charities in mind, especially charities who are time and cash strapped.

“By listening and responding to our members, we hope the first version of charitysetup will be just the beginning of what this new resource can offer.”

The tool aims to guide people through the registration process in a clear and conscie way and it is anticipated that around 1,500 charities that register could use it each year.

James Richards, Fuse Product Lead at CAST, said: “When we started working with the Small Charities Coalition it was clear that by focusing on insights from their members, we’d have the very best chance of discovering what small charities really needed. charitysetup is a significant step towards this.

“It will help define and test different approaches to providing the advice and support that people need as they consider their charity choices. We’re excited to see how small charities interact with the advice and support.”

Source: Charity Digital News

Are you involved in marketing or comms at a charity or beyond profit?

Are you involved in marketing or comms at a charity or beyond profit?

Then Lightful needs you! 

Lightful is a UK-based technology company for social good and is looking to run user research and testing sessions from February to April 2019 in and around Birmingham.

These sessions will help Lightful to further develop its software platform and services for the charity and beyond profit community. Participants will receive a £50 Amazon e-voucher for one hour of testing as well as compensation for reasonable travel expenses.

The aim of the sessions will be to further understand current ways of working as well as potential challenges and needs that you might experience with marketing or comms at your charity or beyond profit.

If you’re interested in participating, please complete this brief form HERE and a member of the Lightful team will get in touch. The information you provide through the form will be sent directly to Lightful.


5 Reasons Why Your Charity Might Need Brand Management

Communicating and controlling your brand is a challenge for any organisation – but what exactly comprises a charity’s ‘brand’ and why might a charity need a digital system specifically designed to manage it?

A ‘brand’ might seem intangible, but that’s half the challenge: keeping something that can be quite nebulous and made up of many different parts coherent as a whole, and ensuring it communicates your organisation as effectively possible across the host of channels, both offline and online, that charities now pitch themselves across.

1 – Charities need a strong brand identity

The word ‘brand’ might not be traditionally associated with the non-profit sector, but in the digital world it’s increasingly important for charities to create and manage a strong, consistent brand identity, especially if they fundraise online.

Nearly half of charities now say that building brand awareness is their biggest digital marketing challenge, according to a recent study from  A report by Charity Comms, ‘Branding Inside Out’ found that charities that invest in strong, consistent brands reap the awards of rising awareness and incomes.

Your brand is the outside world’s perception of your charity – the way you communicate your organisation’s distinct personality, values, purpose, impact and the sum of everything you are as a charity.

A brand that is inconsistent or sloppy can leave people confused about who you are what you do. Ultimately, if you’re unable to communicate it clearly you will not be heard in the crowded arena of voices competing for audiences’ attentions.

To read the full Charity Digital News Article click here.

Free Online Evaluation Tool for Small Charities Launches

The Impactasaurus has been created to offer small and medium sized charities a simple, free way of measuring social impact.

A free online evaluation tool specifically designed for small and medium sized charities has been launched.

The Impactasaurus aims to help charities measure and report on their impact and has been released after two years of development and trials involving 100 charities.

The tool has no user manuals and training to make it easier for smaller charities to use and instead uses a catalogue of questionnaires to select from.

Once completed, impact reports can be generated covering the whole organisation or specific areas of work, such as a single project, location or type of intervention.

Two years in development

“We set out to make it easier for small and medium sized charities to measure their social impact,” said Dan Reynolds, founder of Impactasaurus.

“After two years of development and trials, we believe Impactasaurus delivers on that promise, allowing anyone helping individuals to measure their impact.

“This has been possible thanks to the 100+ charities which trialed Impactasaurus, with their feedback, we have been able to build a tool which solves the problems smaller charities face.”

In developing the tool Impactasaurus found that some existing commercial evaluation tools were too expensive, only available through specific systems and too complicated for small and medium sized charities.

“So Impactasaurus was born with a simple vision: for all organisations, benefiting society, to understand their social impact,” states a blog post on the Impcatasaurus website.

Source: Charity Digital News

Being an Effective Chair – Live Webinar

Haven’t had time to attend one of their workshops? Would like a refresher?  This webinar covers the core content covered in the Beacon Programme’s ‘Being an Effective Chair’ workshop.

The Beacon Programme’s ‘Being an Effective Chair’ live webinar (taking place on Wednesday 6 March 2019,  1:00 pm – 2:15 pm) is an introduction to the role of Chair, providing those chairing smaller charities (with an annual income under £1 million) with top tips and tools to help them be more effective in their role.


By the end of the webinar, you will:

•be clear about the Chair’s role and legal responsibilities
•understand what can help you be more effective in your chairing role
•have practical tools to help you run effective meetings
•get tips and insights from other Chairs of smaller organisations

Book your place

This webinar is only open to those who have registered with the Beacon Programme. The programme is aimed at Chairs and Vice Chairs of smaller charities in England with an annual income of under £1 million. Please join the programme so you can make a booking for this webinar.

Source: Association of Chairs

The Six Characteristics of Resilient Charities

Measuring resilience in charities is a challenge. In reality, whether a charity is resilient can be known only in the future, and only when a charity faces difficult or changing times.

But what does a resilient charity look like? Through CAF’s work with charities they have noticed six characteristics that show an organisation has the potential to be resilient.


Understand what your purpose is, and just as importantly what it isn’t.

When funding is such a challenge and when public bodies are using charities to deliver their mission, you can easily find you are allowing external bodies to dictate your organisation’s direction. While funding is important, it’s vital that you have a clear mission and evaluate all opportunities against this.

CAF worked on this with one charity in particular, whose work felt very disjointed. They could tell them what they did, but not what they were trying to achieve. This is a situation you need to avoid.

In CAF’s experience, a theory of change workshop can be extremely valuable in galvanising an organisation’s focus on their resilience. It allows shared time for everyone to focus on the bigger picture.


Awareness of the political, economic, local and national context you work in, regularly horizon scanning for challenges, threats and opportunities.

In many parts of the UK, the local voluntary sector landscape has changed significantly in the last decade. It’s important to spend time researching who else is out there. If your information is out of date it will impact your delivery.

An example of this is a charity that CAF worked with recently that supports young parents. The staff had understandably been too busy with vital delivery to spend time looking at who else is working in this space. However when they did, they quickly realised that many of the charities and projects they knew of had significantly shrunk, closed or widened their beneficiary group beyond young parent families.

This surprised the charity. They realised they are now the largest UK charity focused solely on this client group. They became aware of risks and opportunities they had not previously seen.

To read the full Third Sector article click here.

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