Top execs from Google and Twitter have told the House of Lords select committee on charities that charities should be better utilising digital technology – and that the government has a responsibility to help them do it.
David Skelton, public policy and government relations manager at Google and Nick Pickles, UK head of policy at Twitter, spent 45 minutes discussing charity digital issues with the committee earlier this week. Subjects discussed included campaigning, fundraising, digital engagement and innovation within the sector – and how all of these could be better utilised to boost charity causes.
One of the most hotly debated topics was the role of government in driving technology usage. During questioning, both men agreed that the government needs to do more to find out why charities are slow to push through digital transformation, despite the clear benefits.
“Is it because they are uncomfortable using services?” asked Pickles, “or is it because of a lack of internet connectivity… or is it a lack of digital skills to use a computer but they do have internet connectivity?
“I think there is a lot more work that can be done to understand those barriers and then, I think, build that knowledge into how we help charities.”
Pickles went on to add that both social and digital media provide an opportunity for charities to boost communication.
“Ten years ago you might have needed to know someone at a newspaper, be invited on television, you might have needed an advertising budget but now you jump that – it levels the playing field for small and large organisations,” he said.
Skelton, meanwhile, added that: “It doesn’t have to be expensive and many of the best uses of digital by charities have been done cheaply. The fundamental point is that digital for many charities is not just a thing that is nice to have it is a fundamental way to help them achieve their core mission and to help them help good causes.”
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