Back in September 2015 I joined the board of a new charity. I’d sat on two separate charity boards before over a seven year period, and had unofficially been ‘the trustee who knows about digital’ on one of them. I was really excited about my new appointment and even more so when the chair asked me to help the rest of the board get up to speed with digital, and to understand the opportunities and risks it offered to the organisation.
My day job is running a social enterprise and digital agency which helps charities lead digital change more effectively, so I was pretty confident about helping my charity. However I was sure that there must be resources out there to help skill charity boards up with digital and most importantly to support them in understanding where they were at and what good practice looks like.
I Googled. Nothing. But fast forward a few years and the challenge of getting support for boards and digital remains. I work daily with executive teams and boards who all want to understand why they should go digital, the key areas they should focus on, and where their gaps are.
Meanwhile, a number of worrying reports including Lloyds Business Digital Index and The Charity Digital Skills Report showed that charities are falling behind with digital and urgency was growing to help them move forward. What could help boards understand where they are but how they could either start using digital or getting more from it?
What is The Charity Digital Code of Practice?
Working alongside the Charity Commission, Office for Civil Society, the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO), The Small Charities Coalition, and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), we’ve developed a framework to help trustees and their executive teams use digital to help their charities achieve their vision and mission. The framework will help your charity increase its impact, develop skills and be more sustainable.
The Code has been tested on more than forty charities, all at different stages of digital maturity and of varying sizes and causes. It’s also been out to consultation across the sector. We’ve had more than 170 responses and plenty of positive feedback, as well as lots of helpful comments on what we can improve.
How will it help small charities?
Digital shouldn’t just be for large organisations with big budgets. We’ve purposefully included best practice for small charities in the Code. Much of it is designed to be followed with no or limited resources. We are delighted to have worked alongside Small Charities Coalition in this endeavour.
How will it affect charities?
We don’t want the Code to be a huge and onerous burden for the sector, and we’ve crafted it to highlight the opportunity that digital offers. It is not a regulatory requirement and focuses on principles and best practice.
That said, the Code is ambitious and shows the breadth of areas that need consideration in digital.
Take a look here.