£1m fund to aid charities improve digital skills

The government has announced a new £1m fund to expand training programmes for charities so that employees and trustees can improve their digital skills, including developing social media presence and online fundraising

The Digital Leadership Fund, announced by culture secretary Jeremy White, will ‘give industry leaders’ free access to training or heavily subsidised courses to boost their digital skills and develop a wider understanding of how technology can help them fulfil their mission’. Training will be made available to charities in how to maximise the effectiveness of online fundraising tools, developing a social media presence and ‘modernising their operational delivery by embedding updates IT systems’. Training on emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, may also be provided.

The funding will likely be of use to charities with the impending arrival of Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT. Although charities are currently excluded from the extension of the pilot to businesses due to their specific requirements, they will not be exempt from the scope of MTD. However, HMRC announced a new implementation schedule in October 2018 which means that trusts and other unincorporated not-for-profit organisations will have their mandatory compliance date deferred by six months to 1 October 2019

Jeremy Wright, secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), said: ‘We want charitable organisations to thrive in the digital age and are committed to helping them get the most out of technology, which can act as an enormous force for good.

‘Through this programme, charity leaders will have more opportunities to enhance skills and boost employee confidence while creating a greater and more positive impact on people and their communities.’

Report by James Bunney

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