The relentless pace of digital tech adoption shows no signs of stopping. For charities, digital represents both a huge opportunity and a challenge that needs to be tackled to stay relevant and drive their impact. But the latest Charity Digital Skills Report
found that 58% of charities rate that their digital leadership skills as fair to low, despite 64% wishing that they would offer a better digital strategy.
Carol Rudge, Global and UK Head of Non-profit at Grant Thornton UK argued that: "People are at the heart of successfully utilising digital: getting the right skills, the right leadership and the right governance in place is vital and should be seen as a long-term investment in the foundations of a successful organisation."
Help is at hand. Here are the top resources and networking opportunities available for non-profit and charity leaders in the UK to learn and develop their digital leadership skills.
> See also: 16 excellent digital resources for charities
Digital Leaders (DL) is a UK-wide initiative that provides information, advice, workshops, webinars, events, networking and resources to promote effective, long-term digital transformation. With a community of over 60,000 leaders from a variety of industries, DL covers topics such as Artificial Intelligence, data analytics, diversity, digital skills and cyber security.
Digital Leaders has local communities across twelve regions of the UK, with a focus on cross-sector collaboration but specific content for non-profits. There is also a private social network for members to access exclusive content and share ideas.
Most of their content is free, but the organisation is collaborating with techUK to make some of techUK's paid-for training programmes available to Digital Leaders members at heavily discounted prices.
With over twenty years’ experience delivering courses around social enterprise and social entrepreneurship, The School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) delivers physical training to 1,000 social leaders a year, to equip them with the knowledge and confidence needed to lead and drive their social enterprise.
Their ‘Third Sector Digital Leaders’ 4-day program (Feb/March 2020)
will team up senior charity leaders and trustees to learn how to implement a digital strategy, with topics including: generating income and building partnerships through digital channels; improving operations and governance, agile delivery and digital networking.
The School for Social Entrepreneurs also works with organisations on a bespoke basis to deliver tailored training courses, from one-day workshops through to longer duration courses.
Zoe Amar, Chair of the Charity Digital Code of Practice
and founder of social enterprise and digital agency Zoe Amar Digital, has published a free toolkit for charities that includes expert advice, case studies, tips and tricks.
Building from the insights in the Charity Digital Skills Report, the toolkit addresses topics such as how digital is changing charity governance and service delivery, and how charity CEOs need to lead in a different way. It includes content from experts, organisations and leaders, and success stories from charities such as Marie Curie and Diabetes UK.
There is also a Charity Social Media Toolkit.
The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has helpfully provided a free Digital Maturity Matrix
to help social organisations assess their digital strengths and weaknesses, with the aim of identifying areas for improvement.
Charities can sign up and find out they're doing in the following eight areas: leadership and strategy, expertise and capacity, technology, service design, content, communications and campaigns, data and insight, and security and data protection.
Superhighways provides a practical digital leadership programme of training, advice and technical support, funded by the DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport), to help leaders of small and medium charities develop their organisation’s digital capabilities.
Training and resources include: Digital Leadership 101, trustee board training, CEO strategic advice, case studies and practical templates – such as the ‘digital leadership conversation starter’ toolkit.
We've featured expert guidance from Superhighways on Charity Digital News as part of our Charity Digital Tech Conference, where they gave an excellent talk on how charities can harness the power of data on a shoestring budget.
> See also: Lessons from the Charity Digital Code: Principle 1 - Leadership
Doteveryone is a think-tank that researches how technology is changing society. The organisation has a focus on helping policy makers, businesses and charities harness and build tech responsibly, and ensure that charities' use of tech is aligned with their values and mission.
The organisation runs a wide variety of programmes, including hostin a series of one-day seminars on ‘Responsible Technology Leadership for Charities and Social Enterprises', targeted at social organisations seeking to delivery services or operations digitally.
Targeted at trustees, The Charity Commission has published a set of ’12 questions for trustees to consider’ when making digital work. The guidance covers a range of topics, including: governance, induction of new trustees, people, strategy, culture, service delivery, brand, reputation, fundraising, cyber security, evaluation and success.
The site also provides a list of useful resources for charity leaders to explore.