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Zoe Amar: Digital change is here to stay

Digital pioneer, Zoe Amar, talks to us about the current technological shift and the best steps to take for ensuring the sector is ahead of the curve, with ever-evolving human behaviour. Looking at ways in which the charities can work together on the harness and adapt to the changing digital landscape, she says the key is collaboratively establishing what digital success looks like and discusses the development of the Charity Digital Code of Practice.

Can you imagine life without your phone? According to Ofcom, half of adults now say they would miss their mobile more than their other devices, with 87% of households using the internet. Around the world, internet users spend an average of 6 hours and 42 minutes online each day. We’re living through a huge technological shift, which will transform our society and how we work in ways we can only begin to imagine. Our organisations will need to evolve to keep up with how digital is changing human behaviour.

We have a choice to either swim with this tide or against it. As a wise CEO once said to me, “Digital change can be manageable and you don’t need to have all the answers”. Yet, in the same way that you wouldn’t set out on a long journey without consulting a map, we all need to have some idea of our destination and how to reach it. The choices we all make now about where our organisations should focus our efforts in digital are key.

Last year, the charity sector came together to face this challenge. To do that, it needed to answer a very big question: what does digital success look like? In response to this the sector has developed its very own guidance, The Charity Digital Code of Practice, created by a group of organisations including the Charity Commission, Office for Civil Society, DCMS’ Digital Enterprise Delivery Taskforce, ACEVO, NCVO, and the Co-Op Foundation. The Code is already being used by charities across the UK, including; NSPCC, World Vision UK and TLC: Talk, Listen, Change.

While the Code is intended for charities registered in England, Wales and Scotland, it will be useful for other organisations including co-operatives and other businesses in the sector, so we encourage you to take a look at it. The Code recently won a new round of funding from Lloyds Banking Group and the Co-op Foundation plus new backers – the networking group Charity IT Leaders and the technology company Cisco. This year, the Code is also being incubated by CAST and we’re excited about the plans ahead.

I’m lucky enough to chair the Code alongside my day job running a social enterprise which helps charities and other non-profit organisations lead digital change successfully. Having worked with many different organisations, all of whom have social purpose at their heart, I know that we are all united by a common challenge of living through a time of volatility while navigating the digital age. Digital offers a big opportunity to bring our communities together, generate new sources of income and improve the skills of the people we work with.

Technological change is happening at pace and if we want to make the most of that opportunity, the time is now.

Take a look at The Charity Digital Code of Practice

Zoe Amar is Chair of The Charity Digital Code of Practice and Director of Zoe Amar Digital.