Guest blog by Janet Thorne, CEO Reach Volunteering
Reach has launched building boards for a digital age to increase the digital expertise of charity trustee boards. Working in collaboration with partners, we will be supporting boards to recruit ‘digital trustees’ and maximise their ability to lead their charities through this digital age.
Why digital is important for all charities (including yours!)
Every charity is operating in a digital world now. When you make decisions about any element of your operations, digital is a key component, whether you chose to embrace it or not. How you should store and organise your data, how best to communicate with beneficiaries, donors and funders, how you promote your services, how you deliver them, and how you measure their effectiveness – these are all digital questions.
Many charities shy away from digital because they fear that they have insufficient expertise, and they worry that digital projects can be expensive, tricky and risky to implement. And they can be all those things.
But the benefits can also be huge – greater reach, scalable services, efficiency savings, to name but a few. And the risk of ignoring digital is even greater – a slow but fatal slide into irrelevance or obscurity.
Why you need digital expertise
It is crucial that charities have a strategic approach to digital. Not digital for digital’s sake, but for the contribution it can make to your charity’s strategic goals.
Your board needs to have the expertise and knowledge to:
• see the huge opportunities that digital offers your charity
• make informed decisions about the risks that it brings
• champion digital innovation
• ask probing questions of your plans.
I know from first-hand experience (having led Reach through its own digital transformation) that board buy-in to the project was essential. It made all the difference having trustees with digital expertise who really understood the process. They provided proper oversight, helped source experts, and most crucially of all, kept their nerve at sticky moments. But even if you don’t have any big projects planned, you still need to be considering what role digital should play in your strategy.
How this campaign will help
We are supporting charities to build their board’s digital expertise, by working together with public, private and voluntary sector partners to provide:
• useful resources and guidance
• links to training
• direct support to recruit trustees with digital expertise.
Digital is a topic that the whole board needs to engage with but it can really help to have at least one trustee with specialist knowledge. Someone that can champion the role of digital and ask more searching questions. We are therefore focusing our efforts on helping charities to recruit digital trustees.
Working with partners, we are building a pipeline of prospective digital trustees. We will promote charities’ digital trustee positions through these and other partners; through our TrusteeWorks recruitment service; and through LinkedIn and other channels.
How to get involved
If you are already thinking about recruiting, we’d encourage you to upload a role with us by 4 November so that you can take advantage of our big push this November. This will include promotion with key partners, a tailored search on your behalf by our TrusteeWorks team, and lots of social media promotion during Trustees’ Week (7-13 November). And all of this is free!
You can also register to receive regular updates from our campaign and links to free resources – just complete the newsletter sign up details on this page.