We show how charities can harness knowledge-sharing to maximise their impact
The ways we work have been thrown into sharp relief over the course of COVID-19. While charities have been working extremely hard to counter the immediate social and economic effects of the pandemic – including, among other things, increases in poverty levels and worsening gender inequality – one in three have also been forced to cancel services due to a lack of digital skills.
The shift towards using technology for both working remotely and service delivery, necessitated by the pandemic, has exposed a growing gap between those who are familiar with tech and those who are not.
A report into the digital skills of the charity sector, for example, found that more than half of respondents didn’t have a digital strategy in place in 2020, a sharp contrast to the seven in ten companies who said in 2018 they either had a digital transformation strategy in place or were working on one.
It is important, then, that charities to catch up on their digital know-how. With time and budget constraints, knowledge-sharing could be the key to harnessing and improving their digital expertise. Its value for your organisation could be immeasurable.
Internally, the benefits of fostering a knowledge-sharing culture are well-known. It can be an investment in the future, for example, vastly improving employee recruitment and retention. A third of millennials say they want collaborative workspaces, while 70% of young people are looking for an employer that invests in their digital skills.
Looking to learn new skills outside of your organisation can further improve efficiency and diversify your approach to work in ways you’d never considered. Whatever your digital blind spot, there are plenty of experts just waiting to help you make the best of the many online tools available.
This is just what global software consultancy Thoughtworks is hoping to do with its Social Change Lab. The pro bono programme will see Thoughtworks consultants donate their time to social impact projects driven by charities with an income of between £1 and 5 million or a dedicated software development team.
There are only four places available. Three charities who apply before midday on 9 July 2021 will work with one to three dedicated Thoughtworks consultants for up to three weeks, while one applicant will collaborate with a full tech team of six for a two-month period to build and develop a project for the future.
It is an ideal time to upskill. As well as improving your own impact, sharing digital expertise can have ramifications on the wider world, too. We mustn’t forget that digital technology holds the solutions to many of our biggest problems, from humanitarian crises to climate change.
But these solutions won’t work if we operate alone. Collaboration is key to maximising our impact, with experts from different industries and sectors working together.
The sentiment was confirmed in Thoughtwork’s 2020 Social Change report: “An industry based on knowledge, such as the tech industry, has incredible potential for economic development in historically excluded sectors and peripheral regions.”
The advantages of knowledge-sharing are clear – we could all do with an outside perspective. With nearly two in five employees saying their organisation doesn’t collaborate enough, perhaps it is time we changed that.
Request an application form or schedule a chat with Thoughtworks.