Deliver fast-track digital discovery workshops to help charities respond to COVID-19

Catalyst

Strategy | Digital Workshops

The challenge

Catalyst is a coalition of major funders, government and ‘Tech for Good’ specialists working together to radically improve the way charities use technology.

Since the pandemic, many UK charities have faced a number of challenges in how they service and respond to people in the community with lockdowns and other measures limiting physical contact with those in need.

COVID-19 has highlighted a need for improved digital services that offered greater flexibility for communities to reach out to charities and vice versa, offering continued support and aid amidst the pandemic in the UK.

In Autumn of 2020 Land Digital responded to this call for support on Catalyst’s Discovery Learning Programme - designed to help charities understand how digital service design could improve their response to the COVID crisis.

Land Digital’s combination of digital know-how, user experience design and voluntary sector knowledge earned us a place working through our digital discovery programme with 10 organisations, predominantly focused on working with older people in the community across England and Wales.

Each organisation had varying levels of digital understanding, skills, resources and confidence, so the challenge was to find the right balance of learning and resources that would benefit everyone.

The process

Drawing on our experience working with networks within the voluntary sector that include Catalyst, VONNE and the Collective Impact Agency, we devised a strategy that would provide organisations access to relevant digital sources to support them and their communities throughout COVID-19, regardless of their current digital capabilities.

This began by identifying key areas of digital design and services that would directly address challenges currently faced by charities and their beneficiaries amidst the ongoing pandemic. We felt there was huge value in interactive group workshops and tasks that would address overarching digital services. But, with such diverse knowledge and objectives on an individual basis, there was also a need for one-to-one support from us throughout the programme.

We ran a number of fast-track workshops attended by representatives for each organisation over several weeks, including support one-on-one sessions. To ensure this added optimal value to all participants, we assessed their needs early on and set up an effective communications infrastructure with online worksheets, virtual whiteboards and messaging tools, making sure it was easy for people to engage and progress through the process.

Throughout the programme, we walked them through our digital discovery process, helping them to dig deeper into the challenges they wanted to overcome, research user needs and explore potential solutions.

The result

At Land Digital we like to see the work we do having a positive impact in the world. It was humbling to work with so many organisations who were at the frontline, providing vital support throughout the COVID crisis to the most vulnerable people in our communities.

Our workshop programme was one of 10 groups on the Discovery Learning Programme, which increased the capacity to reach over 100 charities, helping them to design better digital services, access development funding and increase their impact on families and communities.

One of the key successes was helping these organisations recognise how digital design and services could complement the work they do. Through this process we helped them develop and test ideas to create evidence-based roadmaps for online interactions that enabled them to help meet the needs of their beneficiaries both now and in the future.

During this learning journey we were able to convince participants of the value of user research and what it could bring to their business., something they were initially hesitant about.

The feedback from participants who attended our workshops was incredibly positive, with many saying it added significant value to how they’ll approach digital service challenges moving forward. Most of the organisations within our group either went on to seek development funding or built an internal roadmap to develop the ideas that emerged out of this discovery process.

Watch Jenny and Jodie from Aesop talk about their experience of the Discovery learning programme with Land Digital and what it meant for their charity and the people they support.

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