Digital design principles for the UK charity sector launched

Over 50 charities and funders have come together to establish a set of best practice examples for charities developing digital services.

Chloe Green | 4th Jun 18
Image of CAST and other charity sector collaborators durimg a session to discuss the digital design principles.

CAST (Centre for Acceleration of Social Technology) has released a series of digital design principles for nonprofit organisations. The ten principles, developed for and by the UK’s charity sector, aim to guide the development of more effective digital services.

The tech for good organisation worked with over 50 nonprofits and funders of all sizes and types to come up advice and examples of best practice already happening in the sector. They are designed as a useful checklist for charities just starting out in digital, as a communication tool for those already running digital services to show good practice to stakeholders, and as guidance for funders on what to look out for when assessing applications and offering grantee support.

‘Start with users and keep them involved’, ‘understand what’s out there’, ‘build digital services not websites’ and ‘be inclusive’ are among the ten principles, which will help grant-givers and nonprofits, from front-line staff to trustees, save money and deliver better outcomes for their service users.

A new website, betterdigital.services, will house the principles, alongside example stories of how organisations such as Breast Cancer Care, 360Giving and Alexandra Rose have used them in practice. People can download printable posters of the principles to help them communicate and advocate for good digital practice, and the site has lists of helpful tools and tips suggested by other nonprofits.

Dan Sutch, Co-founder and Director at CAST, said: “Too many charity services are still failing to respond to the changing digital behaviours and expectations of their users.”

“Digital service delivery urgently needs to become a core competency, not a ‘nice to have’. We wanted to bring together sector organisations to co-design a dynamic resource that helps navigate this shift. Tech can be a powerful tool but it’s how you use it that’s important – these principles are a way of saying ‘here’s how we do it right’ and we hope to see them embedded into organisations’ culture and practices.”

CAST is asking for input as organisations use, test and refine the principles over the coming months. If you have a story of digital service design that embodies one of the 10 principles, you can submit it to principles@wearecast.org.uk.