A number of organisations are providing technical or digital support for voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations during the Covid-19 crisis.
Business in the Community – Business in the Community is the UK’s oldest and largest business-led membership organisation dedicated to responsible business. In response to COVID-19 BITC has launched a brokerage platform to connect resources from the private sector (staff, equipment, logistics etc.) to the emerging national and local needs of the VCSE sector.
CAST – The Centre for Accelerating Social Technology is a charity which helps people use digital for social good. They are currently offering a free interactive Online Design Hop workshop, which gives VCSE organisations step-by-step guidance on how to redesign their service for digital access. The workshop includes weekly 1-to-1 calls with CAST team members.
The Catalyst – The Catalyst is a charity network dedicated to providing digital support to VCSE organisations. Their website provides guidance on topics ranging from funding, choosing platforms/software to data analytics and transitioning to digital service delivery models. They’re also currently offering anchor organisations, infrastructure bodies, and federated charities bespoke support for urgent digital challenges.
Charity Digital – Charity digital offer VCSE organisations steeply discounted rates on a wide range of software packages. These digital tools will be especially useful for VCSE organisations transitioning to remote working practices and online service delivery during the COVID-19 response.
CITA – The Charity IT Association is a charity dedicated to improving the VCSE sector’s use of digital technology. They are currently offering three services to charities:
- Tech Surgery – a 2-hour free call with an independent IT expert
- IT consultancy – ongoing digital guidance and project management support from a volunteer IT expert
- IT project delivery – assistance from an IT expert to complete a discrete project
IT consultancy and project delivery are free for charities with <£50,000 annual income, but there is a one-off £250 charge for those with income above this level.
Computer Aid – Computer Aid are a charity providing data-wiped and refurbished computers to charities in need at steeply discounted rates. Though it’s not a free service (desktop computers start at £55), it could be a cost-effective option for VCSE organisations with urgent hardware needs.
Cranfield Trust – Cranfield Trust are a charity offering free business support to VCSE organisations. They are currently running webinars on tech support issues such data security and digital skills, as well as providing a collection of general digital guidance.
DataKind UK – DataKind UK offer a 1-hour free monthly call with data experts to any non-profit organisation based in the UK. Common questions answered during these Office Hours are:
- Organisational strategy: How can my organisation become more data-driven?
- Responsible data use: How can we use data in a way that respects our organisational values?
- Data collection: What data should we collect in order to make data-driven decisions in our organisation?
Digital Candle – Digital Candle is a crowd-sourced advice platform for charities. It arranges a 1-hour free call for charities needing digital support to hear the advice of experts who might be able to help. As of March 2020, they have a roster of 110 experts and 63 charities have arranged calls for advice.
ICO – The Information Commissioner’s Office have created a large repository of guidance on their website to help businesses navigating data protection legislation during this time. Their Coronavirus Hub provides links to all their guidance, including some for local community groups and organisations, including the ICO’s latest regulatory approach. The ICO also have a helpline number to provide advice to organisations on data protection issues if the answer is not found in their guidance: 0303 123 1113.
NCSC – The National Cyber Security Centre offer a range of guidance that will be helpful to VCSE organisations trying to ensure that their business processes remain cyber secure during the transition to remote working practices and online service delivery.
Reach – Reach are a skill-based volunteering platform that connects charities with volunteers possessing particular capabilities or backgrounds.
Toolbox Toolbox – Toolbox Toolbox is a collection of online resources that provides a curated list of guidance on digital transformation for small organisations.
Volunteering Matters – Volunteering Matters are a volunteering platform collecting individual voluntary offers of professional support and matching them to needs of VCSE sector organisations.