CAST (the Centre for Acceleration of Social Technology), has been awarded £1.12m from the Big Lottery Fund to boost the effective use of digital technology among charities.
The funding will enable CAST, over three years, to expand its work in supporting organisations to develop new digital products aimed at transforming their service provision.
This will involve combining a bespoke team of designers, developers and business support with the staff of voluntary and community sector organisations.
The funding will finance two initiatives: an intensive product ‘accelerator’ programme, which will work closely with 12 charities across the UK over three years to build new digital services; and a set of learning tools, templates and publications delivered on and off-line that will offer wider sector support around digital development and help participating organisations to share their learning.
CAST has developed and tested the accelerator model over recent months through Fuse, a one-year programme funded by Comic Relief.
To date, Fuse has supported four national charities to co-develop new digital products with their beneficiaries. This has included CAST overseeing the creation of BECCA, Breast Cancer Care’s new community support app, and QuidsIn, Oxfam’s digital payment service for families on the cusp of food poverty. The Big Lottery Fund award will help more charities and voluntary organisations across the UK benefit from this intensive development process and follow-on support.
The learning resources will draw on CAST’s experience from working with a range of charities through its Fellowship and accelerator programmes, and will include peer support together with a digital innovation kit that a voluntary and community sector organisation can use to steer its own route to digital transformation.
Dan Sutch, co-founder and director of CAST, said:
“The digital revolution isn’t about apps and websites; it’s about a fundamental change in the way we find information, people and support. At the heart of great digital development is a shift to user-led, test-driven design, working closely with people and their communities to create effective and empowering services. We urgently need to engage community organisations to join this revolution, and harness the potential of digital technology to achieve their mission.”