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UK to introduce first Charity Digital Code of practice

The United Kingdom will ensure all charities can access crucial virtual skills as the sector moves into the digital world

Charities across the UK will be contributing to the first Charity Digital Code of practice to determine the strongest virtual position to serve the community.

The Code, due to launch in November, will be a voluntary and free-to-access platform funded by Lloyds Banking Group and the Co-op Foundation after both groups found the charity sector was significantly lacking in crucial digital skills.

Head of the Co-op Foundation, Jim Cooke, said in Third Sector UK: “This is an opportunity for charities to make better use of digital media, not only in service provision, but also to raise awareness and to help with fundraising.”

An initial code was drafted after researching more than 30 organisations. Through this, the steering group recognised seven key principles, including leadership, skills, user-led behaviour, strategy, culture, managing risks and ethics and adaptability.

These principles, according to the consultation documents, “show how digital touches much of what your charity does and how it will need to be considered accordingly.”

Chairing the steering group is digital expert Zoe Amar, who will be joined by a number of representatives from UK voluntary organisations.

“We often hear from small organisations worried about a lack of budget or skills to carry out digital activity,” Amar said in Charity Digital News.

“The new code will aim to increase the digital confidence of all charities and give practical advice about where they can make improvements in digital engagement with their beneficiaries and funders, as well as fundraising and engaging with stakeholders.”

The final code will reflect the best practice guidelines that include tips and advice to improve confidence in fundraising and stakeholder engagement activities.

The code will also be a starting point for small charities and those lacking in digital skills to be even more effective and increase impact, with the code aiming to “support all charities of all sizes, budgets or causes” through the move to the digital world.

“By being able to connect better with online audiences, charities will be in a stronger position to serve their communities and secure their own futures,” Cooke said.

“We look forward to hearing the views of the sector to help us create the ‘go-to’ guide for charity digital support.”

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