Were you there? Did you miss it? We recap all the action from our biggest event yet - the #BeMoreDigital 2020 conference.
Look at all those people in a room together. Doesn’t that feel like a million years ago? It’s hard to believe it was only three months ago.
Our #BeMoreDigital 2020 Conference took place on Thursday the 5th of March, and we saw a fantastic response to our biggest-ever event.
370 charity delegates joined us from hundreds of charities, all with the aim of helping the sector to become more digital.
Little did we know that our emphasis on the importance of digital for the UK charity sector would prove so timely.
When deciding upon a theme for the 2020 conference we became aware that the term “digital transformation” is just too intimidating and difficult for many organisations. This can lead some charity leaders to conclude that digital simply isn’t worth the investment.
At the start of the day, Charity Digital CEO Jonathan Chevallier laid out some figures to illustrate this point:
He also shared definitions of both ’digital’ and ’digital transformation’.
‘Digital - Applying the culture, practices, processes and technologies of the internet era to respond to people’s raised expectations’
‘Digital Transformation - The use of new, fast and frequently changing digital technology to solve problems’
The aim of the day was simply to encourage charities to be more digital. This can start with small steps: for an organisation early in its digital journey, this might mean something as simple as introducing online fundraising, whilst for one further down the road it might mean wider-reaching change. In our opening session, our speakers spoke to a need to shift digital from ‘something we do into something we are.’ This concept of building a digital culture by taking small, digital actions was one of the keys themes of the day.
All of the day’s learning and discussion was in service of this mission, with 5 conference rooms hosting a programme of 20 sessions featuring some of the most outstanding talent from the charity and tech sectors, as charities and vendors shared their learnings and expertise.
We were joined by a lineup of experts, who led a day of educational and inspiring sessions on everything from creating killer content to data strategy. We saw some fantastic and passionate discussion in our panels and great engagement in terms of questions from the floor across all of our sessions. We couldn’t have anticipated such a high level of interest in our programme, with standing room only in several sessions.
We had moved this year’s event to a much larger venue, and it looks like next year we’ll have to plan for an even bigger event (or at least get a few more chairs!) We at Charity Digital believe that this shows that there is a great appetite for digital transformation within the charity sector and that barriers of access to tech can be overcome. One of the most heartening things about the #BeMoreDigital Conference was seeing charity delegates share experience - as people gathered to work together for the common good.
At the very heart of our mission is the belief that digital can help charities to do more: that technology can act as a great leveller and enable charities to work more efficiently and reach more people than ever before.
One common experience that emerged throughout the day was that digital professionals can feel isolated within their own teams and organisations: particularly if the charity they are working for is still somewhat tech-sceptical. One of the best things about the #BeMoreDigital Conference was that it allowed a community to come together and offer one another support and encouragement.
The process of digital transformation can often be a discouraging one. In order to learn the right lessons and improve your systems and services, some degree of failure will be necessary. This is how we learn, and how we are able to offer our service users better services: services that do work; and work in ways we would not have been able to previously imagine.
We should do all we can to support one another in this process.
‘Success initially looked like not falling over.’
- Victoria Hornby, CEO of Mental Health Innovations
Our social media team did a great job on the day, and people really got involved. Social media marketing for an event starts long before the event itself, and the #BeMoreDigital hashtag was picked up by dozens of event attendees (and one local taxi driver looking to drum up some post-conference business, which really embodied the spirit of the conference!)
We even managed to trend on Twitter!
Here are some of our favourite tweets:
The #bemoredigital conference is on! An amazing panel to kick us off. Great to see autocaptioning in place plus general commitment to accessibility. A lot of work done behind the scenes by the team @CharityDigiOrg to make it as diverse and inclusive an event as possible. pic.twitter.com/GdNNaBxned
The #bemoredigital conference is on! An amazing panel to kick us off. Great to see autocaptioning in place plus general commitment to accessibility. A lot of work done behind the scenes by the team @CharityDigiOrg to make it as diverse and inclusive an event as possible. pic.twitter.com/GdNNaBxned— Peter Jacobs (@peterjacobs100) March 5, 2020
Fascinating to hear the psychology behind why these classic donation pages can be counter productive. Can turn what should feel like an altruistic act into feeling like you are *letting down* a charity by not giving enough #BeMoreDigital pic.twitter.com/ehDXT5T07m
Fascinating to hear the psychology behind why these classic donation pages can be counter productive. Can turn what should feel like an altruistic act into feeling like you are *letting down* a charity by not giving enough #BeMoreDigital pic.twitter.com/ehDXT5T07m— Tom Madders (@TomMadders) March 5, 2020
It was nice to see the hashtag spreading beyond the conference:
We wouldn’t have been able to deliver a 360-degree and accessible event without the support of RD Mobile, who built our dedicated event app, which allowed attendees to connect with both our team and one another, and Voicebox, whose closed-captioning services on the day made sure that attendees with hearing difficulties were not excluded.
We’d like to thank all of you who attended. You all helped to make this day a success, with your enthusiasm, interest and pledges to #BeMoreDigital.
The #BeMoreDigital Conference was perfectly-timed to prepare charities for the sudden and radical shift to digital we’ve all experienced in the wake of COVID-19.
Now that charities have got digital systems up and running, it’s time to take stock of what’s working and what isn’t - time for digital leaders to begin to build systems and processes for the long-term and to work towards building a secure and sustainable digital future, as we move forward to Digital Leadership Day on the 25th of June.