We know that the digital revolution has already happened. New technologies and the internet have changed the way we live our lives.
Over the course of 2016 SCVO supported 19 senior leaders from across the third sector to participate in a digital leadership learning process. They recognised that the opportunities provided by new technology and the internet extend beyond fundraising and marketing. They also recognised it is not simply about having a good website, making an app or using social media effectively.
The starting point is people. We need to ask service users, donors, funders and stakeholders how they want to interact with us in a digital world. We also need to understand how staff and volunteers can use technology to maximise their impact. This will then require us to challenge the status quo, redesign services and change the way we work. Such fundamental change can only be achieved through effective leadership.
The feedback and learning from these leaders has led to The Call to Action to create a more digitally confident third sector in Scotland. The Call asks whether we, as a sector, have evolved the way we deliver services to support individuals and communities in recognition of this change.
Leaders in the third sector do not need to be digital experts, but we do need to lead change which will enable our organisations to be fit-for-purpose in a digital world. Many leaders have told us they want to build their skills, confidence and understanding of the opportunities, and the Senior Leader Digital Development programme has been developed to help meet this need.
The Senior Leader programme is supported by the Big Lottery and facilitated by Ross McCulloch. In 2017 a new group of senior leaders have joined the programme with a particular focus on supporting leaders from organisations that deliver frontline services designed to reduce social inequalities, and those that support groups at risk of digital exclusion.