A digitally confident third sector in Scotland: what next?

By Beth Mukushi on 25th Oct 2018

Two years doesn’t sound like a long time - but a lot can happen. It has been less than two years since Donald Trump was elected, since Article 50 was triggered, and since Beyonce and Jay-z had twins..!

The general consensus about modern life is that everything has got quicker and noisier.

“We’ve been hearing for ages that digital is coming – but it isn’t the future, digital is now” –Anna Fowlie, SCVO.

In October 2018 the Digital Team at SCVO have been reflecting on what this change means for charities in Scotland. We are exploring whether the sector feels confident enough to flourish in the modern world.

For us, this has never been about ‘transformation’ – we don’t underestimate how scary digital can be for some people. The way that organisations are changing requires new skills, new approaches and often a new mindset.

We prefer to think of this as digital evolution – staff, volunteers and users need to go on a journey together, and test which elements of the new technologies and approaches work best for them. We all know of too many change projects that fail because they try to do too much, too quickly and without understanding the real needs:

“We need to be careful that we change from caterpillars into butterflies – not just fast caterpillars”– Neil Richardson, Turning Point Scotland.

We have been privileged to work alongside some amazing organisations over the past two years, turning this approach into a reality. On 23 October 100 of these Changemakers came together, to celebrate the changes they have achieved, and launch a new ‘Call to Action’ to guide our focus for the next few years.

The call sets out a range of key themes that all Scottish charities need to engage with:

  • Effective leadership
  • Digital culture
  • Service delivery
  • Data driven
  • Flexible technology
  • Cyber risk and resilience
  • Potential social harms

The final two themes – cyber risk and social harms – have emerged since 2016. They are an important response to some of the more negative aspects of digital.

“I knew I had to do something when someone came and scared the knickers off me about cyber”Emma Whitelock, Lead Scotland

If you weren’t able to make it along to the event we’ve compiled some of the best moments for you here.

What should I do next?

We encourage those not on their digital journey to start it, those already engaged to re-double their efforts and everyone to share their success and learning.