Lightful Reading List For Charities

02 Sep 2017

We’ve collated a list of reports, news and latest trends for the sector, which make for essential reading for charities and social enterprises.

Facing Forwards Report — Lloyds Bank Foundation

What’s the deal?

If you read one thing, read this! Lloyds Bank Foundation have published their ‘Facing Forwards” Report for medium and small charities. The report cheerfully states that ‘government, funders and large charities must take urgent action if small charities are to survive turbulent times ahead’. The full report is available here.

Why should you care?

Here are a couple of key recommendations from the report that would lessen the strain on small and medium charities.

  • National and local government must use appropriate commissioning processes when securing public services
  • Funders must fund charities to build their capacity and effectiveness rather than constantly seeking innovation and
  • Larger charities must seek to collaborate with small charities rather than compete against them for public service contracts

Read on to get a great overview of coming trends in the sector, and the challenges small and medium charities face.

‘Small charities being eclipsed by big brand organisations’

What’s the deal?

Echoing the above article, William Shawcross, the chair of the Charity Commission, recently said that there should be more support and attention on smaller charities, which have been “eclipsed” by bigger brands. “Sometimes I feel as though smaller charities don’t get as much time and attention as they should get.”

Why should you care?

We weren’t so thrilled with Shawcross’s lackadaisical attitude toward smaller charities’ struggles, as it somewhat downplays the severity of the problem. The Facing Forwards report from above demonstrates just how badly small and medium-sized charities are in need of support. Unfortunately, Shawcross rehashed the now well-known stories of poor practice by a few large charities in previous years as reasoning for sector difficulties, and did not discuss any real solutions citing innovative ways forward or harnessing digital to address charity pain-points. Let’s hope for some more impactful recommendations in the future.

Half of UK charities don’t have a digital strategy, finds report

What’s the deal?

Half of charities are without a digital strategy, with lack of skills and funding two of the biggest barriers, a recent report has found. The Skills Platform’s Charity Digital Skills Report reveals that less than a third of charities (27%) have aligned their digital and organisational strategies and only 9% have been through digital transformation and embedded it in their organisation, with 50% putting other organisational challenges further up the priority list.

Why should you care?

The report cites that lack of skills (57%) and funding (52%) are the biggest barriers to charities getting the most from digital, while the biggest threats to charities increasing their use of digital highlighted in the report were lack of resources, skills, and weak infrastructure. Lack of digital skills is a common problem plaguing the sector. Does your charity and social enterprise have a digital strategy?

Design in Tech Report 2017 at SXSW

What’s the deal?

John Maeda, Global Head of Computational Design and Inclusion at Automatic, gave his yearly Design in Tech Report presentation at SXSW recently. The presentation is fantastic, and the slides are definitely worth a read. Maeda looks to “clarify how designers and design play a role in businesses of all scale and especially in the technology industry” with his yearly presentation.

Why should you care?

A few key takeaways: At top business schools, design thinking is moving into the curriculum — driven by market demand; Chinese design in tech principles and practices are leading the world, but are often overlooked, and design tool companies and design community platforms occupy new positions of value for tech. View the full presentation for a great explanation of his findings.

Ideo studied innovation at 101+ companies — Here’s what it found

What’s the deal?

How do you measure “innovation?” It’s something that every organization seems to be after – just look at AT&T’s Innovation Pipeline, Sephora’s Innovation Research lab, and the University of Pennsylvania’s punny Pennovation Center – but it’s extremely hard to quantify. The global design firm Ideo set out to answer this question by studying the company’s 26-year archive of projects that focused on clients’ internal team dynamics, as well as external sources focused on innovation.

Why should we care?

Ideo identified six basic vectors that it says are instrumental to an innovative, adaptive company: Purpose, experimentation, collaboration, empowerment, looking out (i.e. staying informed about what’s happening in the industry), and refinement (the ability to successfully execute new ideas). Do these matter at your company? They should!

ICO issues fines totalling £138,000 to charities for data breaches

What’s the deal?

Uh-oh. The Information Commissioner’s Office dolled out fines to 11 charities between £6,000 and £18,000, totalling £138,000, for misusing donors’ personal data. Infringing charities include the NSPCC, the Royal British Legion, the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, and Cancer Research UK.

Why should we care?

Is your charity mindful of your donors’ personal data? Don’t get caught out in the rain by failing to comply with new General Data Protection Regulations. Watch the Lightful Blog for future advice on how to meet new privacy challenges posed by GDPR for your charity or social enterprise.

Look out for another edition of the Lightful Reading List.


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