4 of the best charities leading the push for digital transformation

12 days of ‘Best Of’ lists: We highlight some of the charities leading the push for digital transformation within the sector, and showing the benefits that digital transformation can bring

Chrissy Chiu | 20th Dec 19
the best charities driving digital transformation

As we gear up for the festive season, we are celebrating the 12 days of Christmas, as well as the best in digital achievement, with 12 days of ‘Best Of’ lists. Covering everything related to the charity tech sector, join us every day for new ‘Best Of’ lists. This list highlights digital transformation.

Charities with digital transformation on their list of New Year’s resolutions need look no further. Through efficiencies gained from digital fundraising, operational speed, and time-saving processes, digital transformation can give charities of all sizes a make-over in both online and in offices. Here we showcase four of the most inspirational transformations.


  1. Parkinson’s UK data-led approach to digital strategy

In 2017, the UK charity focused on determining internal digital maturity levels and developing a digital strategy.

“We now talk an awful lot about our data maturity as an organisation and about making sure that our 400 staff know how to use information to make better decisions,” said Ms Dodd, Director of Digital Transformation and Communication, when speaking to Computer Weekly magazine.

“That stretches from our strategic priorities right down to a project-level basis, where our people use information to make better decisions.”

Since then, one of the major challenges Ms Dodd has worked on is to link up data sources across the organisation. A cloud-based solution was found using Snowflake to centralise data.  For the inside scoop on the journey, Charity Digital News interviewed Carolyn Nutkins, Director of Organisational Development at Parkinson’s UK – the video can be found here.


  1. Cancer Research UK’s journey is about digital cultural change

Two years on from the first conversations and implementation of the charity’s digital transformation, leadership and skills have come to the fore. Writing for CRUK’s blog, Ellie Budd, Digital Proposition Manager noticed how the charity’s entire operating model had shifted from demanding services to testing new, innovative digital ideas.

“For us, it’s a little about the technology, but a lot more about the skills teams have. We learnt very quickly those skills needed to be different for every team. Some would need to set up complex A/B tests, some needed to write user stories in BDD format, and some had to optimize their content for search,” said Ms Budd.

For CRUK, digital transformation and experimentation came with not only a shift in digital culture but buy-in from digital leaders throughout the organisation.


  1. Age UK and Help the Aged merger created opportunities for digital strategy and transformation

The task to integrate Age UK and Help the Aged presented a huge challenge for Alison McCormack, then Group Head of Digital (she has now successfully set up her own consultancy, We are MC2). Together, Ms McCormack and colleague Kate Roberts (Co-founded of We are MC2) tackled the task of analysing over 300 sites belonging to both charities and their networks. Other stakeholders included 500 shops, 4 national charities, hundreds of local Age Concerns and over 600 associated groups.

The digital leadership team successfully integrated all stakeholder sites through robust user analysis – the results have been stunning. Eighteen months afterwards, the Third Sector’s Web Check rated the Age UK digital site presence as #1, with the site exceeding forecasted digital fundraising donations and sales.


  1. British Heart Foundation’s digital facelift

“No part of our new strategy can be delivered without the new website. It’s the new virtual home of the BHF. From growing investment in life-saving research to helping even more people fight cardiovascular disease, we’re going to be bolder, braver and more focused to get the biggest impact from our work – and our new website will play a central role in this,” said Dr Charmaine Griffiths, director of strategy and performance for the BHF.

At the heart of BHF’s digital strategy are four digital principles:

  • Putting users at the heart of the journey
  • System integration for a holistic customer view
  • Accessible digital tools and experiences
  • Empowering people to do, and raise more

With over 600,000 visitors each month on the website the charity is already seeing results.