The Charity Digital Code of Practice has been vital during COVID-19, helping charities to adapt to the new digital landscape
The Charity Digital Code of Practice (the Code) was developed by charity leaders in consultation with the wider sector and launched on 15 November 2018. The Code has since provided a vital free resource to charity leaders and charity professionals, supporting efforts to improve sustainability, efficiency, and digital decision-making.
It was the first of its kind in the UK and has proved incredibly important, particularly in the past year. COVID-19 forced a period of digital acceleration on the charity sector, as non-profits got to grips with social distancing restrictions. Charities adapted to remote working, shifted fundraising efforts online, moved huge portions of service delivery to the virtual sphere, and communicated with donors using digital tools.
After COVID-19 arrived, digital became not simply desirable, but necessary. According to a recent Charity Digital Skills Report, for example, 66% of charities are delivering all work remotely, while 61% are offering additional online services.
The Charity Digital Code of Practice has been instrumental in supporting that digital shift. The Code’s site has recorded almost 9,000 users, of which 78% are new to the site. The Code is completely free, offering charities an exceptional resource to support digital transformation.
The Code’s steering group has heard from a number of ’Code champions’ – charities and charity professionals who have increased digital confidence by using the Code’s resources.
All We Can, an international development and relief charity, has been inspired by the Code to incorporate digital across the organisation, including the use of new online finance and HR systems.
Dean Gillespie, Digital and Data Manager at All We Can, said: “The Code helped us develop the right strategy and create the right culture and it is adaptable to all sizes of charities. It has been so successful for us and we would encourage others to use it too!”
VONNE, an infrastructure body in the North East of England, benefitted from the principles of the Code. They used the Code as a sense check when the UK went into lockdown, which helped to cement the shift to digital, as Deputy CEO Anne Fry explains: “We are going to be keeping a lot of the digital tools and ways of working…Through digital we’re increasing reach and impact. Digital can help us be more adaptable at this time of huge change.”
The digital transition can be daunting. But the Code helps to ease that transition, providing ample support, including how-to guides and best practice advice. At the start of the pandemic, the Code’s steering group swiftly created a programme of activity to help charities during lockdown, encouraging them to use its resources to make the right decisions about digital at a time of rapid adoption.
Zoe Amar, Chair of the Code, said. “The last 12 months have been particularly challenging for the charity sector and we’re delighted to see that this free resource is offering such wide-reaching support to staff who want to develop their digital skills.
“We’re especially pleased about the variety of organisations and the different members of the charity workforce benefiting from The Code. The peer-to-peer support available to enable all charities to increase and improve their digital activity is also something we’re very proud to facilitate.”
The Code is funded by Charity IT Leaders, the Co-op Foundation, Cisco, and Lloyds Banking Group, with support from CAST as part of Catalyst. It is managed by a steering group of representatives from across the sector and chaired by independent digital expert Zoe Amar.
Download the full Charity Digital Code of Practice