New guidance coming to aid charities embracing digital

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The work that charity and non-profit organisations do is incredibly important to many different people. The ability to continue doing the good work that they do is dependent on their ability to fund raise successfully and drive positive awareness of their mission.

Digital channels have opened the doors to a much greater audience than ever before for charities, as well as giving them a voice they would never previously have had. The majority of charities have embraced the benefits that a properly designed website and fully thought out social media campaign can bring to increasing awareness of their cause and attracting new donors, however behind this shiny exterior, the digital infrastructure throughout the rest of the organisation often is in serious needs of updating.

For some smaller charities, this task has previously been overlooked, either through lack of understanding or technical abilities, or through the lack of investments in time and money available to them. For larger organisations, any issues concerning infrastructure and data security often arise from a lack of ownership and clear understanding of whose responsibility these issues sit with.

Whose responsibility is it?

The Bible Society, in 2016, were targeted by hackers who exploited a weakness in the Society’s IT network accessing the personal data of 417,000 of its supporters. For some, this included their payment card and bank account details. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has recently concluded its investigation and have fined the Society £100,000 for not following the correct procedures for reporting such a hack as well as failing to protect a significant amount of personal data, exposing its supporters to possible financial or identity fraud.

Whilst attacks such as these are becoming more frequent and more voracious. Having an understanding of the potential issues surrounding your IT systems, as well as clear ownership of these tasks at the top level of an organisation is vital in preventing these attacks in the first place, or at the very least, limiting their impact and reporting them through the correct channels should one occur.

That is the very purpose of the new Charity Digital Code, launching later this year. The Code aims to support charities of all sizes, budgets and causes in progressing their digital efforts. Whilst the Code will not be a regulatory requirement, it is hoped that the majority will embrace the principles and best practice guidelines which should enhance their digital skills, and in turn increase the charity’s impact, efficiency and sustainability.

What is the Charity Digital Code?

The Code is being developed by a steering group of organisations across the sector, including; The Charity Commission, Co-op Foundation and the Welsh and Scottish Councils for Voluntary Organisations and Actions (WCVA and SCVO). The group’s role is to develop, promote and review the Code before it officially comes into force in November 2018.

The biggest change here we believe is the focus on leadership of these organisations and the greater impetus on boards to embrace these changes and to have these digital skills represented at board level.

No longer can directors assume the responsibility lies elsewhere when it comes to digital advancement and data security. Digital transformation is at its most effective when starting from a top down approach. Uptake among all the quarters throughout the organisation will be more consistent and complete if the board shows leadership and has embraced digital.

Board room technology not only digitises the most important and highly confidential documents, but the right software also fosters a culture of collaboration and transparency in its decision making. Giving your directors a secure place to discuss important decisions, share supporting documents with annotations and sign off decisions will improve the effectiveness of your board instantly. It will free up time away from meeting preparation and trawling back through old documents, allowing directors to focus on matters that will drive that organisation forward and its cause into a prosperous future.

“The emergence of the new Digital Code should be met with positivity by all charities,” remarked Simon Haines, eShare’s Business Development Manager for Charities. “By setting out these guidelines and making digital best practices as accessible as possible, there should be no excuse for charities, big or small, when it comes to embracing digital transformation and all the benefits that await them in the 21st century.

“I look forward to having many conversations with charities who have a new found optimism when it comes to progressing their organisation and cause forward.”

If you would like more information about how eShare’s solutions fit in with the Charity Digital Code and the benefits that we can bring to your organisation, please get in touch today using the form below.

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