New 'digital code' to improve web skills among charities

The steering group for the Charity Digital Code of Practice includes representatives from charity umbrella bodies, the Charity Commission and the government

A new web initiative has been announced today to improve digital skills in charities.

The Charity Digital Code of Practice will be free to access and include best practice guidelines as well as practical tips and advice.

It has been established to make organisations more accessible to beneficiaries and create new opportunities with funders.

The digital expert Zoe Amar will chair the initiative, whose steering group includes representatives from the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, the Small Charities Coalition, the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, the Wales Council for Voluntary Action, the Charity Finance Group, the Office for Civil Society, the Charity Commission and the Tech Trust.

The code, of which there will be separate versions for small and large organisations, is due to begin at the end of the year amid concerns the voluntary sector lags behind other sectors when it comes to digital skills.

According to the Lloyds Bank UK Business Digital Index 2017, only 48 per cent of charities have full basic digital skills and 50 per cent of charity leaders lack confidence with introducing digital change.

Sixty-nine per cent of charities cited their board's digital skills as low or having room for improvement.

The Lloyds Bank study also revealed that more digitally mature charities are twice as likely to experience an increase in donations.

Lloyds Bank and the Co-op Foundation are funding the initiative.

The bank is contributing an undisclosed sum. The foundation is giving £7,000 to the Small Charities Coalition, which includes a contribution to the direct cost of developing the small charities version of the code, as well as the coalition's costs for its role on the steering group.

Amar said the steering group would decide more details of content over summer, but the project would "make the sector more digitally confident, efficient and sustainable".

Leigh Smyth, group transformation, capability and inclusion lead at Lloyds Banking Group, said: "Increasing digital skills for charities will bring many significant benefits, such as increased donations and reduced time and costs, and will help to make them sustainable for the future."

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