Posted in This is VCSSCamp

Using digital tools to support our sector – #VCSSCamp 2015

Good point Becky.
“respond and help charities and voluntary organisations use digital tools to achieve their mission.”
Yes, surely that’s something each of us can do.

Dudley CVS blog

I’m really excited to be involved in this year’s VCSSCamp, a place for people who work in local infrastructure organisations that support the voluntary and community sector (CVSs, Volunteer Centres, Voluntary Actions, etc.), to come together and talk about the ways they use digital technology in their work.

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Posted in Blog News

Digital Things & Charities … play, learn (and dance!)

I started this morning by tweeting the link to a video that is guaranteed* to make you smile and dance around the office. It’s the Crypt Covers version of Ghostbusters (a film which is 31 years old this week!) by the wonderful Hope & Social. (* keep your receipt, i’ll exchange it for something else if it doesn’t work)

Then reading through my e-mail I found this infographic released today from the Technology Trust which neatly sums the sections of the latest Lloyds Bank Digital Index (March 2015) that relates to charities. It’s enough to wipe the smile off your face and to make you bang your head against that brick wall. Or is it?

At first what concerned me was that almost 70% of charities don’t think having a modern responsive website will increase their funding, that only 23% of Charities are investing to improve digital skills and that over a quarter of charities think that they have done all they can online(!). Really? The Internet is quite large!

However, rather than being upsetting, this gives us a great opportunity to do more with the organisations we know, support, volunteer and work with.

Learn as you ‘play’ with digital technology, experiment with social media tools to increase fundraising and try out new online tools. For example these links show ways that Periscope and Slack can be used in the nonprofit sector. No direct financial investment is needed in increasing your digital skills, but of course increased digital skills is likely to be the end result as you become more confident in the way these tools can be used to promote the aims of the charity. Directly coupled to this is the (free!) bonus that by experimenting with new digital technology organisations will not long be thinking ‘they’ve done all they can online’.

Ways we can promote this in our organisations is another topic to think about and to discuss at VCSSCamp on 30th June.

As for wildly leaping around the office … it’s back to Hope & Social for the (free bonus!) answer   

Here’s the full Technology Trust infographic for you.

An infographic showing the uptake of digital technology in the UK charity sector in 2015

Posted in Blog News

Thinking of topics for VCSSCamp

With less than a month to go until VCSSCamp Four takes place in Birmingham (there’s still a few tickets available) you might (OK probably not!) be thinking about the sessions you’d like to pitch, or the discussions you’d like to have.

Recently i’ve read a couple of research reports that discuss technology in our organisations and how we could (and should) be doing more with it. I’d be really interested to hear the views of staff from infrastructure organisation on these reports and what we can do to make the use of digital technology more central all the organisation does.

Firstly there was the NAVCA “Future of Local Infrastructure” report published in January 2015 which highlighted many challenges faced by infrastructure organisations, but also suggested that  :

“Infrastructure needs to be financed, but it also has to undergo a redesign. It needs to be leaner, meaner and more technologically savvy. It needs to act as a lever bringing in new resources to the sector, including social investment, crowd funding and pro bono support. It needs to be the enabler of voice and the advocate of community action. It needs to collaborate and share more cost effectively. It needs to promote and develop the ‘time economy’, co-production and good volunteering practices. Above all, it needs to help the sector with foresight and managing change, because the pace of change is not going to slow.” Sara Llewellin Chair of Chair of the Commission the Commission “

You can download the report from the NAVCA website here.

Then secondly, published last week was “The New Reality” a research study conducted by Julie Dodd about how digital technology will deliver the next step-change in social impact. It is based on interviews with over 50 senior leaders and digital experts from both inside and outside the non-profit sector. The report offers a “20 Steps to Digital Transformation” chart and presents 10 key insights for change from which i’ve picked out a couple here.

Major skills gaps need plugging. The speed of technology change has created a gap between the digital skills that organisations have, and additional ones they need. Key areas identified were: data, digital strategy, lean and iterative process management, and business model.”

The next stage of digital for non-profits is not fundraising and marketing. Efforts and successes in digital to date have largely been focused on digital marketing and fundraising. Whilst these have been – and continue to be – valuable, the focus now needs to be on how digital technology can transform organisations around their core mission. This may mean moving digital teams away from these directorates in order to grow digital expertise across the board.”

The New Reality can be downloaded here.

You may also have read about the work that New Philanthropy Capital are doing and the two part question posed by Tris Lumley of NPC about “The power of digital to transform the sector”. Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

“Digital technology can be the driving force behind this transformation, giving us fundamentally new abilities. It is connective—joining together people, services, knowledge and places. It is efficient—doing some things faster, more accurately and at a cheaper rate than people. And it can be intelligent—with the ability to analyse, map, diagnose and predict.”

“I believe digital technology holds the key to unlocking value chain thinking in the social sector.”

I can’t argue with any of this … but are our organisations doing this or even ready and equipped to do this? Are they still thinking “that’s a good idea, but we can’t possibly achieve it”?

They have convened a “Technology For Good” Digital Transformation group to look at these questions, it will be interesting to hear the results of this group and how it will work with and listen to the smaller organisations in the sector and the infrastructure organisations that support them!

I’m sure you have also read other reports that have prompted thoughts, or that you have your own topic and passion that you’d like to discuss with others. It’s an unconference so the floor is yours!

Please suggest topics in the comments below or just come along, either with topics to discuss or simply with questions to ask or issues that trouble you (well technology related ones anyway!)

We look forward to meeting you all in Birmingham on 30th June.