A lot of talk around digital in the charity sector focuses on digital fundraising and online campaigns. But the best UK charities use digital to turn those donations into service delivery and make an impact.
Since the digital movement, charities have been exploring the ways in which new services, products, and advice can be advanced through digital. Digital reach can help transform lives – we're putting the spotlight on some of the most inspiring and best UK charities for digital service delivery.
“With very little advancement in treatments for Parkinson’s over the last 50 years, those of us with the condition are increasingly looking to technology to step up and help us manage our symptoms,” Emma Lawton, Devices and Apps Strategist at Parkinson’s UK told us recently.
Making things easier for Parkinson’s sufferers, the charity maintains an app library
to help manage day to day symptoms of the condition. Working in partnership with Our Mobile Health
, apps are thoroughly reviewed by a panel of experts ahead of being recommended to the public, and are continually reviewed.
Breast Cancer Care
At the start of the year, more than 100 million devices with Amazon’s Alexa AI assistant were installed. Breast Cancer Care
has also come into the home by partnering with Amazon to deliver advice and tips right into the bedroom – where many women check their breasts for signs of cancer.
“We know a third of women in the UK aren’t regularly checking their breasts, so having Alexa on hand to guide them will help empower many with the confidence to build this potentially lifesaving habit into their routine,” said Breast Cancer Care’s Clinical Specialist Nurse Addie Mitche
After winning a £655k grant from Big Lottery Fund, the charity has also developed BECCA,
an award-winning Alexa Tool which dispenses article snippets, blogs, and tips helping those come to terms with life after cancer.
Keeping to a diet is difficult at the best of times – for those suffering from coeliac disease, it can be a minefield. The charity’s award-winning app
helps sufferers determine whether foods are appropriate or not.
“The app makes it easier to find suitable products, with product information on over 100k mainstream and gluten free products, putting it into a format that says ‘yes this is suitable’ or ‘no, it’s not and here’s why’. Coeliac UK members get free access,” said Annette Woolman, Coeliac UK Director of Membership and Services.
Sharing experiences can relieve the burden of illness. Diabetes UK's Digital Stories
makes it easier for people with the condition to share their experiences and connect with others. In addition to using YouTube, the charity allows people to upload stories to their website directly.
Inspirational messages of people who manage their conditions successfully are featured regularly with men, women and children conquering challenges, trying new foods, and managing treatment.
The Children’s Society
Winning the not-for-profit gong of the first-ever Vodaphone Techstarter awards
, The Children’s Society was awarded £10,000 to develop an immersive virtual reality experience
aimed at helping children with anxiety. Working with The Fred Company,
VR specialist Ben Huss-Smickler CEO of SkyEdge360, and psychologists, a series of designed environments help children overcome and manage their condition.
In light of Scope's new digital strategy, incoming CEO Mark Atkinson has articulated
how the charity is re-moulding its purpose around “delivering positive social change that benefits the largest number of disabled people” while moving away from providing regulated services.
Focusing on new services and information resources, the new strategy will at its heart, seek to achieve Everyday Equality for the UK’s 2 million disabled people by 2022.
Action for Children
“At Action for Children, we hope to use the Mind of My Own data to track themes and issues which will help us develop and adapt our services to the needs of the children and young people who need us most,” said Action for Children’s National Director, John.
Making use of app technology, Action for Children’s Mind of My Own app uses child-oriented language and design to enable young people to share their feelings from a device. Their thoughts are then shared in confidence with social workers to assess well-being.
Recently launched, the charity is working with Nominet to build an online self-help tool to prevent suicide. The tool supports those in crisis access resources to help cope with suicidal thoughts, as some people may feel uncomfortable calling a helpline.
“We aim to develop a self-help tool trusted by users, that is accessible and will reach people earlier to reduce the risk of reaching crisis point. These valuable tools will enable us to help more people in need of support,” said Samaritans Chief Executive Officer Ruth Sutherland.