7 things every small charity can do about The Charity Digital Code of Practice

Zoe Amar
15 Nov 2018

There are so many things you can do on digital, even if you are a small organisation with a limited budget. This morning I was working with a small, volunteer-led charity (the PTA at my kids’ school), and they were wondering what to do about the range of social networks that are out there, how to make more of their website, how to do more with data, how to use digital to fundraise and how to structure their content around what parents want. If a small, brilliant charity like theirs doing great work to raise much-needed funds isn’t sure where to start, then there must be thousands of others in the same situation.

But help is at hand. We’ve created a framework to help small charities use digital more effectively. We’ve worked closely with Small Charities Coalition, the Charity Commission, NAVCA, NCVO, ACEVO, Office for Civil Society, Tech Trust and others to do this, alongside involving lots of small charities in testing the Code. The Code can help your charity increase its impact, grow skills and collaborate more with others. Take a look at http://charitydigitalcode.org

I’m the first to admit that there is plenty to think about in the Code, and it’s really important that we make it manageable for small charities. I run a small social enterprise (where we often advise small charities) and I know how precious your time and budgets are, and how you are wearing multiple hats. So with that in mind here are 7 things you can do about The Charity Digital Code of Practice.

  1. Talk about it at your next meeting. The Code’s been designed so you can work through it as a tool to help understand where you are at, what is going well and how you could use digital better. Why not use it to start a conversation? In my experience, once you start talking about digital there will be people in the room who have brilliant ideas but have always been nervous about voicing them. The Code will help them feel comfortable to share their ideas.
  2. Develop your skills. In this day and age every charity CEO and board needs to develop its digital skills. Even doing a simple course like Google Garage, watching a YouTube video about how to do that thing in Excel you’ve always wanted or getting help from a volunteer who works in digital will make it quicker and easier to do your work.
  3. Understand your audience. Looking at who your audience and what content they like on your Facebook page, or just talking to people using your services about how they use digital and what they would like your charity to do will help you support them even better.
  4. Look at where digital can take the strain. I spoke to a small volunteer-led charity recently who have keen but time poor trustees. They are using instant messaging service WhatsApp to share information and have changed their governing documents so they can make decisions using this tool.
  5. Protect yourself from risk. Most cybercrimes can be prevented by following some simple advice such as downloading the latest software updates and protecting passwords. Take a look at the advice from the National Cyber Security Centre.
  6. Ask if your people feel confident trying new things. Even if your charity’s team consists of just 2 volunteers, do you feel confident about using new tools such as Google Drive or Canva to make collaborating easier?
  7. Use your data. What can the data you have about beneficiaries tell you about them? For example, if you’re a debt advice charity who suddenly gets lots of traffic to its website on a Sunday night, would running a Q and A on Facebook on Sunday night help you reach people are a time when debt is on their minds?

There is plenty more advice and resources to help you over at charitydigitalcode.org The Code is designed to stretch and challenge the sector, as every sector, from shopping to education, is having to evolve to adapt to our always on, always digital world. If we can change to better meet the needs of the people we want to reach then that has to be a very good reason to get more from digital.

Take a look at charitydigitalcode.org

Zoe Amar Digital helps nonprofits and other great organisations develop digital strategy, social media and improve online skills.

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