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In an increasingly digital world it is easy to underestimate how much we use technology. Digital tools represent a huge opportunity, if not a necessity, for all charities.

1. People

Whether you have paid staff or are run solely by volunteers this is relevant to you. You need to consider whether you have the right team in place to help capitalise on the opportunities and manage the risks of the digital world. You need to consider whether you have any trustees who specialise in online technology and how you can make the most of their expertise. If not you need to consider recruiting trustees or staff with this experience, finding a volunteer to assist you or working with an agency.  It may also be necessary to provide training for existing trustees or staff in this area.  

2. Brand

Is your charity using digital tools to build its brand?  Do you have an up-to-date website which is easy to navigate and optimised for use on all devices?  Are you using social media to communicate with your audience? Can you use digital tools to reach new audiences and strengthen existing relationships? Do your beneficiaries want to offer each other support and is there a way that your charity could facilitate this online?

3. Reputation

Is your charity equipped to manage reputational risk online?  A charity needs to consider how it will respond if it is criticised on digital channels such as social media or online forums and what role the board would play in the event of a crisis situation online?  How would the charity rebuild trust via digital channels in the wake of a crisis. What is your Safeguarding Policy?  What are the implications for the Board if, for example, a vulnerable beneficiary tries to contact the trustees online? These questions should be considered alongside a media crisis policy which should be readily available to all staff and trustees.

4. Fundraising

If you're not already doing so you need to consider how the digital world can assist you with fundraising. Who you are trying to reach and what are the best platforms to do this? You need to have a compelling fundraising proposition and consider how best you can communicate this online.  What after-care program is there for donors you have recruited online?

5. Cyber security

Are your IT systems and data as secure as you can make them? Do you have the technical support to ensure this? Are application software and antivirus protection systems up-to-date? In particular is your contacts database and any other information about beneficiaries and supporters safe, secure and encrypted where appropriate? What will the charity do if its data is accessed by unauthorised persons or even stolen?