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What help is there for charities transitioning to digital?

By Michelle Man 7 May 2020 3 minute read

As the entire world feels the effects of Covid-19, the need for charity services is greater than ever. Many charities and non-profits are having to re-design services and move them online, while adapting to changing types of need as well as increasing demand. Meanwhile, the sector faces diminishing funding and support.

This is having a profound impact on those in need of help. Some charities are struggling to use new technology and platforms. Research by Media Trust and CharityComms highlights how charities are experiencing difficulties with moving their services online and supporting users who would normally access face to face services.

Where charities need help with transitioning to digital

These difficulties mirror what we are seeing in our work with the Building Connections Fund, Inspiring Impact and with other charities and funders. From this work, we’ve identified three key areas where charities need more help:

  • Moving services online: Charities need support to design, adapt and start to deliver digital activities.
  • Digital inclusion: Charities need help to engage people with online services and support those who struggle to access and use digital tools.
  • Safeguarding: Charities have concerns around safeguarding in a crisis and ensuring online safety.

What support is available?

Media Trust’s survey found that more than 1 in 5 charities don’t know what support is available. At NPC, we’ve been signposting to guidance, tools and support, and we thought it’d be useful to share these resources more widely.

This list is not intended to be all-encompassing—and indeed, many of these resources link to others—but we hope it can provide a useful starting point.

General help with transitioning to digital

  • Media Trust connects charities with the media and creative industry. Their Online Resource Hub offers free access to resources, guides and templates, all developed by industry experts. Media Trust also runs an online Volunteer Platform that connects charities with media and creative industry volunteers.
  • SCVO and Third Sector Lab have created an open-source document to collate case studies, segmented by sector, and to signpost to resources. They’re also hosting weekly Zoom calls.
  • Digital collaborative The Catalyst has created a library of support that includes links to guidance and resources, and free training and advice. The Catalyst is also making available Digital Teams—experts who can help charities who need digital support. They will initially focus on infrastructure bodies and networks with the aim of cascading support to others in those networks.
  • CAST runs Coffee Connections to connect charities through peer learning. They also offer Design Hops—free online workshops and follow-up support for charities adapting to digital working.
  • Sometime is a platform that connects non-profits with low or no cost creative support. This includes digital skills such as digital marketing and media communications.
  • The Digital Fund’s Communities Essential Guide to Digital Tools — for Mutual Aid Groups outlines useful platforms and covers topics such as conducting meetings, sharing resources and engaging with local communities.
  • This open-source document outlines upcoming training and events on digital.

Moving services online

  • CAST’s ten Digital Design Principles offer practical steps for getting started: starting with user needs; understanding what’s already out there; taking small steps and learning as you go; being inclusive and making sure your service is accessible; and collaborating.
  • SCVO also outlines key principles for digital service delivery: start with user needs; protect privacy and support good safeguarding practice; be ready to test, learn and iterate; and think about issues around social and financial inclusion. They offer guidance on tools for delivering digital services, keeping in touch with people, live events, and gathering user insight and feedback.

Digital inclusion

  • Online Centres Network has collated resources to help organisations to support digital learners. They also run an online learning platform to help people build up their digital skills.
  • OneDigital is a digital collaborative that has worked with 21 partners to create resources for specific types of learners: older learners; young learners; learners with physical disabilities; learners with mental health issues; learners with learning disabilities; learners whose first language is not English; and financial disadvantaged learners.
  • Citizens Online works on digital inclusion and has a dedicated section of their website for Covid-19 resources. This includes a digital exclusion map, guidance for people taking their first steps online, and links to other resources.
  • Good Things Foundation offers resources on digital inclusion with specific guidance for helping people with learning disabilities, low income families, and older people. They’ve built Learn My Way which offers free online courses to help beginners learn the basics and develop digital skills.
  • This crowdsourced document signposts to digital resources and tools to help those who are less familiar with tech. This includes links to guides on using a webcam, Skype tutorials and video calling.
  • BT’s Skills for Tomorrow also offer a range of courses including basic digital functions such as using email.


  • SCVO’s blog New world, same rules: safeguarding and privacy offers guidance on adapting safeguarding practices. This includes topics such as privacy, keeping personal data safe, confidentiality, and safeguarding vulnerable groups.
  • NCVO’s resources cover all aspects of safeguarding for non-profits and their guidance on working with volunteers during the crisis also covers safeguarding.


Here's a list of tools and resources for charities looking for guidance on digital delivery, inclusion and online safeguarding Click To Tweet