Do you have 2020 vision?

By Ross McCulloch (Director, Third Sector Lab) on 17th Jul 2019

73% of charities want their senior team to offer a clear vision of digital and what it could help them achieve.

Join a group of senior leaders and give your organisation the vision it wants.

You have a unique opportunity to work alongside other voluntary sector CEOs, department heads and those with the authority to bring about change – supporting and enabling each other. You’ll hear from world class speakers who will shape your understanding of leadership, culture, data, tech, cyber security, service design and beyond. You will be guided along the way by myself and the highly experienced Maddie Stark (SCVO).

There is a clear message from the Charity Digital Skills Report 2019 - charity professionals are looking for strong digital leadership. Evidence from the last three years of our Senior Leaders programme has shown us that the organisations achieving the biggest successes aren’t the ones with huge IT budgets, but those who really understand why leadership is vital. They know that leadership is about developing a culture of entrepreneurial leadership throughout the organisation – as well as the CEO and the board.

Many charities are spending far too long agonising over ‘digital transformation’. Leaders are focused on developing grand digital strategies that take years to pull together, rather than getting on with starting a digital evolution journey one change at a time. On the flip side of the coin we have organisations stuck in delivery mode - directionless and with little time to explore what digital means for them. As Cassie Robison, Head of Digital Grant Making at The National Lottery Community Fund, says:

“Without a bigger vision and sense of shared purpose there is a danger we’ll just be using digital to keep things as they are, just maybe in a more efficient and user-centered way.”

The 2020 SCVO Digital Senior Leadership Programme is focused on cultivating leaders who can develop a digital mission statement that can be implemented by people across the organisation.

The leaders who come through our programme that go on to have the biggest impact are those who have three areas in sharp focus:

  • a shared digital vision for the charity
  • a service design approach to delivery
  • being data driven

At the heart of digital transformation is the need for service transformation. With this comes an ever-increasing need for funding and investment. In 2020 we will not only see an increase in digital-specific funding programmes but digital will become part of mainstream grant making. Charities need leaders who can articulate their digital vision and give funders confidence that there will be an impactful return on investment. Our senior leaders have had success in this; Ros Dowey, Director of IT & Digital at Aberlour participated in last years’ programme and was subsequently part of the team who secured the charity a sizeable National Lottery Community Fund Digital Fund grant. This will help them reach more children and their families before they reach crisis point, and faster than ever before.

When asked what their digital priorities for the next twelve months are, two-thirds of charities see digital as a key tool to deliver impact and almost half see it as key to delivering better services than ever before (Charity Digital Skills Report 2019).

59% of charities see using data for decision making as a key digital priority for the next twelve months (Charity Digital Skills Report 2019). 2020 needs to become the year where your charity finally embraces data as a decision-making tool - influencing how the board make strategic decisions, how services are shaped and openly publishing impact. Street League does the latter particularly effectively through an online Impact Dashboard.

“Without data decisions are left to tribal knowledge or worse, the whims of the Highest Paid Person’s Opinion (HiPPO).”
Steve MacLaughlin, Director of Internet Solutions at Blackbaud.

Successful digital leaders also recognise that charities cannot achieve the scale and impact required to tackle today’s social issues on their own. We are seeing a clear message that we need to bring social purpose to the digital revolution by working together. If you want to work together with other senior leaders to effect real change, register to find out about our programme and give your charity the vision it wants.