The NCVO’s annual blueprint for the year ahead recommends charities look at alternative ways of recruiting technical expertise.
Charities need to consider "new models" around ensuring their staff have the training and skills for the digital age, according to the NCVO’s Road Ahead 2020 report.
The report, which is produced annually as a blueprint for action for charities for the year ahead, urges voluntary sector organisations to consider carefully how they can best recruit and hire skilled digital staff and expertise.
But rather than look to recruit only full time technical staff the report asks charities to consider that “new models might be better suited”.
This could include “a week of a month of a data scientist” or “a day a week of a developer”.
The report warns that charities need to be aware of the challenges for technical staff, as many are “more likely to employ solo experts than big technical teams”.
“This will have an impact on employees’ ability to learn and progress, and stay motivated, as well as implications for the ability of organisations to review the quality of their work,” warns the NCVO’s report.
It urges charities to ensure their technical staff have access to external networks, such as Datakind UK, or use external mentors.
When commissioning digital projects charities also need to ensure they understand the management of tech experts including using digital design principles.
Charities are also being urged to ensure they are making the most of digital technology to collect data.
The report warns that “collecting data for data’s sake won’t lead to useful insights”. It urges charities to ensure their data collection is up to date so that it can be used effectively.
A range of digital tools with free versions, are recommended for charities to tap into such as Google Analytics, Tableau and Micosoft Power BI.
Training staff in analytics, governance and ethics is also important in data collection as this often involves marginalize and vulnerable groups, says the NCVO report.
Charities “need to ensure that proper guidance and safeguarding is maintained in the data that is gathered and processed about their beneficiaries”, adds the report.