Overherd: Making digital work for the not for profit sector

Notes from talks about digital from Samaritans, Water:Charity UK, War Child, and Crowe UK.


Sometimes digital happens by accident.

Always ask ‘why’ before starting a new project.

Should be using digital to make people’s lives better.

Not everything has to be done the way it’s always been done.

Challenges of achieving brand consistency on website and across social channels.

Rebuilding the website was undertaken in two phases. Phase one got the technical base in place, and phase two was design and content.

Content strategy evolved by accident but involved auditing the current content, learning about the audience, identifying measures of success, and creating toolkits and workflows.

Creating ‘toolkits’ helped people learn as they understood what the phrase meant and how it matched their expectations.

When creating the Toolkits, be aware that:

  • You are not the expert
  • You are not the user
  • You need to connect the two
  • It’s going to require some work
  • But it’ll be worth it

Toolkits involved:

  • Audience research
  • Key messaging
  • Writing for users & analytics guidance
  • Social media guidelines
  • Photography and image guidelines
  • Training sessions
  • Workflows
  • And lots of support


Mission is to reinvent charity.

Use digital to tell stories and solve problems.

Not talking about the charity but about the people who are helped.

Aim to do everything with excellence, we owe it to our supporters.

100% of donations go towards front-line services. Overheads are funded by a small number of high-value individuals and families.

Work with influencers and provide downloadable assets for them to use.

Challenges for digital is how to take what Charity:Water does and do it online.

First to do Birthday Pledges to ask people to make donations rather than buy gifts.

Add all projects to Google Maps to increase transparency.

Received a grant from Google to add sensors to pumps to monitor flow to show when and how pumps are being used, and detect and predict faults.

Digital brings the supporter closer to the impact their money has, it connects them to ‘someone like you’.

Just keep trying new things.

War Child

Digital at Warchild is made up of a Digital and Content Team,  a dedicated Gaming Team, digital skills in other teams, and a cross-organisational digital maturity team.

Challenges around showing beneficiaries: Accessibility, Representation, Complexity.

Constraints force you to think creatively.

When you can’t talk to service users you have to think differently about how to show the impact, e.g. Graphic novel and #EscapeRobot video.

Use longform content to digitise large pdf reports.

Sometimes people think that because something is digital that it needs to be new and cool.

Explore new spaces and opportunities.

Crowe UK

Cyber Fraud accounts for 54% of all crimes.

Crime has transitioned to online.

43% of organisations have suffered a breach. The others either haven’t found it yet or it’s happening this year.

There’s a strong relationship between online fraud and the dark web.

Online fraud isn’t about ripping off individuals, it’s about using individuals details to rip of businesses.

Most online fraud isn’t investigated because police forces don’t know how to handle crime that doesn’t occur in a single geographic region.