Reducing the barriers that charities face in achieving digital progression has always been our aim. It’s why we started and it’s why we continue. We care about affordability, providing quality digital that’s truly fit for purpose, and upskilling those within the sector.
We’re excited to see how the collective response to the Charity Digital Skills Report will help turn some of the highlighted obstacles into springboards for change.
Knowing there are tens of thousands of vital organisations out there who still need support to catch up digitally is what motivates us. Zoe Amar’s call to close the digital divide really resonates with us and we want to:
- Share our learning from the report
- Highlight the part we can play in bridging the divide
- Reach out to the network of people who help charities access the support they need to progress with data and digital
‘As a sector, we must commit to digital being for everyone and not something that is split between the digital haves and have nots’
– Zoe Amar
Our Work With Charities Is People-Centred And Values Led
We agree with and reiterate the idea that a shared ethos between us as a supplier and the charities we work with is at the heart of working effectively together to ‘unlock the full potential of technology to increase [an organisations] impact.’ We’re glad that this is being highlighted as an important area of focus with 55% of charities actively concerned about choosing suppliers who share their ethics and values.
Our team are proud to be an organisation that is genuinely values led, with extensive experience of and commitment to the sector. The important question of ‘How might an organisation ensure it is screening for a good relationship and shared values with its supplier as part of the process?’ has been really though-provoking for us. We’re reflecting on how we communicate and demonstrate our values and person-centred approach from our earliest interactions with those seeking our support.
Digital transformation is a significant and often challenging change for organisations and we support them through this process with our values of collaboration, inclusion and understanding of the charity sector at the very foundation.
‘Susan Tait [Lamplight Implementer and Trainer] has been an absolute delight to work with as we work through our new database requirements for implementation – she has been re-assuring, helpful, and patient and made the process feel very pleasant (even though it is usually a challenging topic!).
I’d also like to add that she has provided her own very helpful suggestions – and clearly understands the requirements of charities very well.’ – Stuart Low Trust
We also echo Simon Hopkins’ advice that suppliers should be ‘accessible and role-model equality, diversity and inclusion as well as environmental, social and governance principles’. We are delighted that for the last two years our servers, that hold data for over 650 organisations, have emitted 0 metric tons of CO2 equivalent thanks to the renewable energy that our servers run on. And with 27% of charities looking at their tech carbon impact, we can see that this is an area that we can work on doing more to promote and encourage.
There’s Scope For New Connections
There is an evident gap between the pressing need for charities to achieve sustainable digital improvement and their ability to access solutions that involve a cost with 40% of charities needing funding for devices, software and infrastructure.
We view The Funder’s Pledge as something that has the potential to bring much needed reassurance and equity to thousands of organisations who will be better placed to access the digital solution that is right for them. Charities need to be empowered with the choice to explore the spectrum of solutions that are out there and the funds to go ahead with what they decide will best support their success.
Our own experience of the partnership we have with The Lloyds Bank Foundation shows how this type of tailored support, signposting and funding can successfully open the door to digital progression for charities who need it. We’ve had the real privilege of working with over a hundred #SmallButVital organisations through the Lloyds Enhance Programme and its impact is well documented.
‘So grateful to Lloyds Bank Foundation for England & Wales, truly I am. I was really excited to know we would finally have a system that would enable me to capture the information needed for monitoring, well, everything across all services.’
– Beacon South Yorkshire Carer Support
It’s especially significant that funding is the key barrier to digital progress for almost half of small charities in particular (47%) and we’re excited to reach out to more funders and offer to share our insights with those who’d like to know more and develop their own offering to charities who urgently need this support.
The Path To Getting More From Data
We are not surprised that this is the second priority for what charities could do if they increased their digital skills. It’s an ambition that we have for the sector too and we see clearly that the part we play moves charities towards a place where this becomes possible, sustainable and impactful.
When we first meet charities, most are in the early stages of digital development. They’re often working on paper or have multiple spreadsheets that are difficult to connect and report on as a whole. And the ultimate aim of ‘using data and insights more effectively to improve services or operations’ can feel a long way off.
But it can also be the motivator to make the change, overcome the practical limitations that their current processes have and be in a position to reach their longer-term ambition of getting more from their data. It’s a process that takes time, planning and clear goals. We support charities to achieve this in a structured and thorough way:
- Clarifying the steps, actions and timescales needed to achieve each part of the process towards better data use is needed and supports charities to plan what is undoubtedly a significant change: We know that even prioritising digital in the first place is a key challenge whilst charities are extremely busy!
- The time and structured support to reflect on their current data collection and storage is a priority too. This can bring to light areas that need to change, become streamlined or stop all together ahead of moving to new ways of working.
- Assessing data security in-house is key. We know ‘almost two thirds (64%) are concerned about client data use and collection’ and supporting charities to have the knowledge they need to be confident in their GDPR compliance and data security is essential.
With charities still struggling with developing the skills to use, manage and analyse data we know that skills development is a crucial part of the support we provide to charities. Our Implementers are Trainers too and strong relationships are in place as skills development begins on an organisation’s system.
‘Sarah and Hannah’s support has been fantastic and it’s great to know I can tap into their vast reserves of knowledge and experience until I know the system better.’ – Refugee Support Devon
Once charities reach a secure place of improved use and management of data they are well positioned to begin to improve their skills in analysing the data they have. It’s amazing to play a key part in empowering charities to be able to use the insights from their data to improve services and make an even bigger difference.
We know there are brilliant organisations who support charities with their data analysis skills and agree with Zoe Amar that ‘we will achieve far more from digital if we collaborate with each other and learn together’ to benefit the digital journeys, each with their own unique start points, across the third sector.
We’re friendly and open in our approach to networking with other organisations who share our ethos and aims. We look forward to expanding our own network of organisations working toward changing the picture of digital skills for charities.
Reach Out To Us
If you're a funder or umbrella organisation who wants to explore the support we offer let's start a conversation. Together we can help more charities get the support they need to progress digitally. Email email@example.comFind Out More