Why charities need to enter the Digital Leaders awards

Awards host Maggie Philbin, Catherine Frather of Age UK receiving the award and Eve Joseph of Microsoft presenting

Written by Zoe Amar, Charity Marketing and Digital Communications Expert and Freelance Consultant

We were delighted to interview Robin Knowles, Founder and CEO at Digital Leaders, about the Digital Leaders Awards 

What is the story behind the Digital Leaders awards and how do they make a difference?

The Digital Leaders 100 is in its seventh year. We set up the awards with the aim of uncovering the unsung heroes of digital transformation, such as brilliant teams tucked in the back of organisations who don’t have time to enter the awards.

We have 86k members, so we ask them to tell us who is doing great digital transformation. When we got into it, we decided to split the 100 into 10 categories. Our community nominates, we contact nominees to say they have been nominated, and we ask them if they want to go forward to be nominated. If so, we ask them to provide more info. Our group of 20 judges then sit down and shortlist all the nominations down to 100, then we reveal them at an event and open it up to a public vote. We had 63,000 votes last year. Then we take the top 3 by vote, then judges interview them and put them into an order. We keep it small, homely and accessible.

What is The Digital Charity award?

It is an award for a charity or non-profit organisation that has demonstrated the transformative power of digital to themselves or beneficiaries.

What are the judges looking for?

Impact. That is the big thing which comes up again and again. They want to see the charity is having impact, in the organisation or the services they are providing. We are open to applications regardless of size or cause. We try to make it as accessible and straightforward as possible.

Where do you think the charity sector is at with digital?

On our platform charities are quite quiet. It’s interesting to look at the trends from the Lloyds Charity and SME Digital Index. On the face of it the stats look good, and along with SMEs and other sectors charities are embracing tech. The barriers are that people at the top need to feel it is relevant, and skills and funding are also challenges. There are increased risks of cyber too. Charities do seem to be held to account on GDPR and cyber. It must feel like a risk to be embracing lots of technological change if you can’t see all the benefits, from service provision to the back end.

What do you think are the big digital trends that will affect all organisations this year?

There are tons of exciting new areas including tech for good, tech ethics and data analytics. I would urge charities to take a look at sites like digitalagenda.io. Data wise we are at tipping point where we now know that data should inform your decision making. By the end of the year I hope more charities are using it.


Make your nomination for the Digital Leaders awards by 1st March 2019.

Nominate here

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