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Making digital work: 12 questions for trustees to consider

First published in October 2016, new government guidelines have been released to support charitable organisations in the use of digital media. Leading charity lawyer Mark Lewis explains the new guidelines, showing how these could be beneficial to charities looking to evolve with the digital age.

The Charity Commission, in partnership with accountants Grant Thornton LLP and digital marketing agency Zoe Amar Communications, has recently launched a guide aimed at helping to raise awareness amongst trustees of the strategic importance of digital media for their charities. The guide is also intended to support those who are less comfortable using digital systems, by providing meaningful and practical advice on how best to establish a digital presence.

The guidance consists of 12 key questions and examples of questions that can be asked to expand on the topic. The guidance also signposts other useful resources that may assist with the process of utilising the digital resources and advice for the trustees.

The questions aim to facilitate conversations between trustees, as well as between the board and charity staff, to look at the opportunities digital media can bring and ensure the charity can effectively respond to digital changes and developments.

The 12 questions are as follows:

  1. Governance: How are we adapting our governance processes to reflect decision making in the digital age?
  1. Induction of new trustees: what are new trustees being briefed on?
  1. People: Have we got the right team in place to help us capitalise on the opportunities and manage the risks in digital?
  1. Strategy: How does digital fit into our organisational strategy?
  1. Culture: How can the board influence the charity to create a culture in which digital can flourish?
  1. Service delivery: As more people seek help and information online, how could our charity support them?
  1. Brand: Is our charity using digital to build its brand?
  1. Reputation: Is our charity equipped to manage reputational risk online?
  1. Fundraising: How will our charity use digital to fundraise, and how will this be aligned to our ethics and values?
  1. Cyber security: Are our IT systems and data secure?
  1. Evaluation and success: Do we understand what success looks like on digital?
  1. Resources: What are the resource implications of digital?

As a trustee, it can be challenging to decide which digital media channels can work best, as well as how to work towards establishing a strong online network. These new guidelines offer welcome advice on how charitable organisations can move forwards digitally and build a strategic approach to the online network. For further advice on going digital as a charity or other aspects of charity law, please contact Mark Lewis on 01789 206135 or by email.

For more information, click here to view the official guidance published by the Charity Commission.

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For further advice on going digital as a charity or other aspects of charity law, please contact Mark Lewis on 01789 206135 or by email.