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How digital can help small charities navigate their challenges

  • Localgiving’s Local Charity and Community Group Sustainability Report shows the amount of pressure that small charities are under. I was concerned to read that only 47% of the UK’s local charities and community groups are confident they will survive beyond 5 years. It is worrying to hear how these groups are stretched to breaking point, and how many of them are shouldering the burden of increased demand; 78% of groups reported an increase in the need for their services over the past 12 months.

    What could help local charities in this situation? As resources are stretched even more thinly, what could help them save money and time?

    I’m a passionate believer in the power of digital to help small charities, and that’s why we’ve created best practice specifically to help them in The Charity Digital Code of Practice. The Code aims to increase motivation and confidence in using digital for all charities. We’ve worked closely with the Charity Commission, Small Charities Coalition, NCVO, ACEVO, Office for Civil Society, Tech Trust and others to develop a framework for success. By following it we hope that charities will be able to increase their impact, grow skills and collaborate more with others

    We know from Lloyds Business Digital Index that highly digitally capable charities are twice as likely to save time and to see an increase in donations, and ten times as likely to save costs. A brilliant example of this is how NAVCA (themselves a small charity) ,rebuilt how they worked by putting digital at their core. The whole team now work remotely, and they use a number of online platforms such as Breathe HR, which helps them manage appraisals, leave and absence, and Xero,

    I’ve also seen where small, local charities can miss out if they don’t use digital. My kids go to a school just around the corner from us, where the PTA (who are a charity) are trying to raise funds from parents and the local community for a new library. They decided to put on a fundraising dinner. Great idea, right? Yet they didn’t offer a way for parents to donate to the library fundraising campaign online, which very sadly meant not enough people donated and the dinner needed to be cancelled. Local charities will need to find new ways to raise money amidst further cuts to public funding. Making it quick, easy and simple for people to give will help, or they could potentially miss out.

    I’ve worked with many local charities and support several in my area, and I have seen first-hand the difference they can make in their communities. Localgiving report’s shows how local charities need our support, and that their sustainability should be a priority or our communities will suffer. Digital could help them build on the amazing work they do, freeing up time and money so that they can do what they do best.

    The Charity Digital Code of Practice is open for consultation until 25 September 2018. Read the draft Code and get involved.

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