Google and Twitter tell government to do more to boost charity tech take-up » Charity Digital News

Google and Twitter tell government to do more to boost charity tech take-up

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.


Driving uptake

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.


Not expensive

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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    I’d agree with some of the comments from Skelton and Pickles. I would also suggest charities don’t have the same level of technology literacy as other organisations. Charities aren’t all in the same boat, as there are small ones and larger ones, but generally, according to the Lloyds report (link posted below), this is true.

    As I work to provide CRM services to the voluntary sector we really see that not everyone has the resource, even with the right tools, to fundraise, communicate and market effectively. There are certainly barriers but I’d agree that Twitter is a fairly simple tool that could be leveraged by any sized charity.

    Jon-man Cheung
    GMCVO Databases