Digital round-up: Father's Day a 'missed opportunity' for charities

Plus: grants available to help charities reach the over-65s with information about smart meters; and a Scottish digital fund opens

Father’s Day, which is on Sunday 18 June, is a missed opportunity for the sector, with charities missing out on donations from ethical or alternative gift programmes by not digitally promoting around key calendar events, according to research from the digital media company Equimedia.

The Charities Aid Foundation’s UK Giving Report 2017 said there had been a 19 per cent increase in the number of Britons purchasing ethical gifts over two years. But after conducting keyword analysis of online charity campaigns Equimedia said there had been "no significant uplift from charitable organisations promoting their alternative gift services". Louise Burgess of Equimedia said: "It is a well-known challenge that many in the third sector are not adopting digital marketing techniques consistently enough to promote their causes. That charities are ignoring key moments throughout the year to engage, moments when Google search data clearly shows that people are actively looking for unusual gifts for their loved ones, highlights a tremendous missed opportunity."

smart meter

Charities and other non-profit organisations are being invited to apply for grants from the Smart Energy GB in Communities fund to help the over-65s. A total of £250,000 is being made available in small grants of up to £5,000 to organisations that can help Smart Energy GB reach those of this age group who have no access to the internet and provide them with information about smart meters and how to use them in the home. The fund will be administered by the Charities Aid Foundation. Smart meters will see the phasing out of estimated energy bills and are fitted with displays that show the cost of a household’s energy use. Applications for funding are available until 19 July and more information can be found here.

The Digital Xtra Fund has announced a £50,000 fund for projects in Scotland that teach digital skills to young children. This will be the first fund to be made available since the organisation became a charity in March this year. Projects for "innovative, adaptable and sustainable projects" that engage with groups such as girls and young women who are currently under-represented in the sector are being particularly encouraged. The ultimate aim is to increase the number of young people from all backgrounds entering high-skilled careers in digital.

Kraig Brown, partnerships and development manager for the Digital Xtra Fund, said: "We want to improve digital skills among young people by supporting high-quality extracurricular activities, thereby preparing them better for a digital future and inspiring them to consider a career in digital tech."

The closing date for applications is 1 September and more information can be found here.

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