We’ve collated a list of the best platforms and websites for charities to learn about digital, connect with others and find techy volunteers.
This article is sponsored by Workplace by Facebook – a secure platform for organisations to connect, learn and collaborate.
Want to give your charity a digital makeover in 2019, skill up your staff or start a new digital-based project? The internet is a gold mine of charity-specific information, digital guidance, digital training for charities, digital volunteers and expertise to draw on, if you know where to look.
We’ve gathered the best free and low-cost digital resources for charities to boost their digital know-how and connect with others in the digital space (apart from Charity Digital News, that is). [UPDATE] 16 has now become 17! We want to give a shout out to DataKind UK - the organisation that supports charities and social enterprises with short and long time data science and AI projects.
DataKind UK brings together pro bono data scientists who run many free services for charities to improve service delivery, user experience, research and evaluation through use of internal and external data sets.
1 - The Charity Digital Code of Practice Number one on our list, the Charity Digital Code of Practice draws from the collaborative expertise of a large number of organisations including Charity Digital, ACEVO, CAST, the NCVO and the Charity Commission. If you haven’t taken some time out to digest this resource yet, we recommend making this your end-of-2018 resolution. It should be on the required reading list for all charity trustees, CEOs and anyone with an interest in being successful with digital.
2 - CAST – Digital design principles Most effective when read in conjunction with the Code, The Centre for Acceleration of Social Technology (CAST)’s Digital Design Principles includes guidance and case studies for charities to design better digital services.
3 - Small Charities Coalition The Small Charities Coalition catalogues a range of useful resources on its website from tools, templates and guides to services and commercial partners, on a wide number of topics aimed at helping charities increase their impact. The Coalition also hosts webinars and training events, some of which focus on digital topics such as digital media, regulation and online fundraising.
4 - Skills Platform Skills Platform links charities up with training providers and offers e-learning bundles on a range of charity-specific topics such as health and care, but also workplace development such as data governance and project management, all designed to be affordable for charities. It also produces some useful free resources such as the Charity Digital Toolkit and toolkits for social media.
5 - Charity IT Association The Charity IT Association (CITA) is a specialist IT consultancy for charities (and a registered charity itself) that provides advice and recommendations on a volunteer basis, whether about your current IT set-up or a project you want to deliver.
6 - NCVO, Knowhow Nonprofit We recommend NCVO’s Knowhow Nonprofit website for how-to guides and e-learning on a wide range of governance and funding topics, including risk management and measuring your digital skills. Its free benchmarking and analysis tools are also worth a look. Register as a NCVO member to access the more in-depth members-only free training.
7 - AbilityNet If you want to learn how your charity can better use technology for people with disabilities or impairments, AbilityNet is your place. Free webinars, factsheets, guidelines and checksheets are among the resources on offer.
8 - Platypus Digital Non-profit digital agency Platypus Digital are now offering a free digital training platform for charities looking to learn all about digital marketing in a more structured online training environment.
9 - The FSI The Foundation for Social Improvement (FSI) offers a large number of free services for small and local charities, such as face to face training, workshops and e-learning alongside guides, templates and tools for online fundraising. Its website also includes collection of resources from around the web on topics such as data, GDPR and cyber security.
10 - CAF Most charities know about the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) but did you know about its ‘Giving Thought’ blog looking at how emerging technology will shape the future of the charity sector? They also have guides to online fundraising with tips, best practice and webinars, as well as other reports and educational bits and pieces. CAF are also the people behind #GivingTuesday – visit their site for more information on how to get involved in this one-day online fundraising phenomenon.
11 - Meetup.com Online events platform Meetup.com is a great platform for finding like-minded people and events on a whole range of topics. We recommend NetSquared, a global network of Meetups run by Tech Soup and its UK partner Charity Digital. There are NetSquared groups all over the world and the UK including London, Birmingham, Cambridge, Cardiff, Bristol, Bath and Edinburgh. The NetSquared blog gives you a flavour of the sort of things that events cover but they are an informal way to network and learn from experts on everything pertaining to digital in charities.
12 - Alidade Alidade is an interactive online tool for helping you work through the best technology options for your non-profit and get you thinking about the right questions. It began as a research project on African civil society organisations’ approach to sourcing technology and was built by tech for social change organisation The Engine Room.
13 - Media Trust Through the Media Trust, charities can access a bank of skilled volunteers to help them with many aspects of promoting and presenting your charity online (and offline), including content creation, video, digital marketing strategy, PR and communications, whether for mentoring, training or creating compelling content. There’s also a resource hub with tips and step-by-step guides by media experts.
14 - Donate Code If the help you’re looking for is more on the technical side but your budget is stopping you, Donate Code brings techy volunteers together with charity projects that need design or development work.
15 - NP Tech for good The Nonprofit Tech for Good blog is a useful collection of reports, research, webinars, Twitter chats and handy guides, with a focus on making the most of online trends and social media to fundraise and get your charity heard.
16 - CharityComms Another fantastic blog focusing on all things charity communications, CharityComms features articles and podcasts from many guest experts on topics such as branding, marketing analytics, online fundraising, campaigning and storytelling. Its charity case studies are worth a browse, as well as its frequently updated guides and reports.