Announcements Digital

Is your charity as digital as you think?

With the Charity Digital Code, charities now have a sector-wide standard showing how they can better fulfil their charitable purpose in a digital age.  The code has been developed following an extensive collaboration between the Charity Commission, the Co-Op foundation, Lloyds digital inclusion team, and the Office for Civil Society, plus an extensive group of over 150 charities who provided input and feedback.

The result is a refreshingly simple code which allows the charity sector as a whole to take stock of where it is today, and where it needs to go tomorrow.

At the Digital Collective, we think the Charity Digital Code is fantastic, we’ve been really pleased to have been able to feed in our own experiences to contribute to its development, and we’d encourage every charity to take a look at the code and see where digital offers the biggest opportunity to take its own cause forward.

Our Charity Digital Code Quick Assessment Tool is currently offline, and we’ll return soon with an updated version drawing together the results and feedback that the code has already generated and ready to help you get digital in your team.


It’s Official, the Digital Collective is GO.

Last week, the digital collective became a thing here at World Vision.

Here’s the official announcement…

International development charity World Vision has appointed award-winning digital entrepreneur Martin Francis Campbell as CIO to lead the new approach, which aims to bring the principles and practices of fast-growing digital startups to the charity’s online fundraising efforts.

“We’ve invested significantly in digital technology, analytics and in the decision to recruit a top level CIO” said Tim Pilkington, Chief Executive, “but as we face the challenges ahead, our ability to do digital really well is going to be crucial to us in rising to meet the increased expectations of our donors and our beneficiaries”.

This week, World Vision launched the initiative to its UK staff, who will be undertaking training in entrepreneurial agile development as well as working with fast-growing UK startups to learn first-hand how the charity can benefit from agile methods.  The charity is launching a new cross-functional team The Digital Collective which will work across the organisation’s existing structures – gaining the flexibility and speed that modern startups experience in the gig-economy.

“One of the biggest challenges,” says Campbell, “is that technology has moved relentlessly forward over the last decade, and charities are struggling to keep up.” A long-term professional in the charity fundraising space, Campbell took time out from the sector over the last few years in order to reconnect with the start of the art and build a new big-data startup in the fin-tech space.  “What I learned from building another startup,” he says, “was that an organisation that’s prepared to use inexpensive, digital tools can move far, far faster than was possible even five years ago.  I was able to build a new team and a new digital product in an entirely new market and achieve an eight-figure valuation within eighteen months of incorporating the company.  That’s the kind of growth that would transform any charity’s fundraising and service delivery, but the skills and experience to do it largely aren’t present in the sector.”

As well as bringing the skills and methodology from the world of digital startups, Campbell is embracing open learning in his approach to leading the Digital Collective.  “When I started working in the charity sector twenty years ago, folks were complaining that charities are too siloed.  The only way out of that is to work in the open, share data, share performance measures openly, and share decision making.  We’re adopting that within the collective at World Vision, which is open to all, and we’re also sharing the progress that we make with the rest of the sector, both through our participation with initiatives like the charity digital code the nonprofit common data model, and also through sharing our own progress, warts and all with the sector at”

Asked why he thinks this approach is necessary, Campbell responds: “if we’re going to remain relevant and able to do our essential work, the charity sector needs to adopt not just the technology, but also the practices, culture and business models of the internet era.  So I hope that World Vision’s contribution to the conversation will help us all to achieve that.”


The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me at the start of this daunting journey.  I’ve joined World Vision in the UK this week as CIO, Chief Information Officer.  My job is to lead the digital, technology and analytics teams through the process of digital transformation that it seems every organisation in the charity sector is going through at the moment.  Our objective: to transform World Vision’s efficiency, effectiveness and culture through the use of digital channels, digital technologies and by bringing in the appropriate elements of the new digital culture that has emerged over the last decade in high-tech high-growth companies.

So I suppose I should introduce myself, my name is Martin Francis Campbell and I’m a Technology Entrepreneur, I founded a digital agency called Baigent Digital around 20 years ago which went on to become one of the leading agencies in the charity sector. I’ve since worked as a technology and business leader both within the sector (for organisations like Blackbaud and Hubbub) and outside it, leading Ormsby street, a high growth startup in financial technology: fin-tech sector.

So, Digital Transformation.  What’s that all about, and why the capital letters?  Well, I’m glad you asked…

With one foot in the commercial sector and one in the charity sector for much of my career, it’s been clear for a while that digital can transform the way an organisation operates, performs and thinks.  But isn’t it just a question of giving everyone a mac and a twitter account and letting them get on with it?

It’s not that simple.  A charity, like any large organisation, relies on IT to do what it does, and the processes that those IT systems support take care of a lot of the essential day to day work that a charity does in talking with its supporters, ensuring that its work with beneficiaries is effective and dealing with its reporting and compliance requirements.

So how can we take a charity and achieve a speed of change, a level of growth and a relentless focus on delivery when it has just as many embedded practices from years ago as any other large organisation has.  How can we be genuinely innovative about it?

Well, that’s what this blog is all about.  We’re going to be trying some things to bring the very best of current digital practice right into the heart of World Vision, and we’d love to share the journey and hear your thoughts on what we’re doing.  The hope is that you’ll be able to avoid our mistakes and that you’ll also be able to share your own learning so we can avoid yours.  Why call it the digital collective?  Well, you’ll have to stay tuned to find out.

The one thing that has really bowled me over during my first week here is that the team have been SO welcoming of and excited about the change that’s to come.  So please do keep a handle on this blog as we go forward and share your thoughts here.  We can use the help!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

In this blog, I’m intending to share with you the thinking behind the various initiatives that we’re doing from the way that we’re rolling out collaboration tools across the organisation to the way in which analytics will be presented to board.  You’ll hear plenty of voices other than mine (once I’ve figured out what everyone’s name is and asked them to contribute) and plenty of topics.

I must also point out that this isn’t an “official” World Vision blog, I won’t be publishing any organisational information here, just my own personal ideas about what we’re doing and about what works and what doesn’t.  Nothing that I say here represents the view of World Vision or its partner organisations.  This is all me.  (and those other folks of course…)

In the commercial sector recently I’ve grown new products and business lines so very fast using the latest digital technology that I can’t be anything but excited about what we can achieve together and what the impact will be on World Vision’s beneficiaries, the world’s most vulnerable children.

At the same time, I’m aware that the charity sector has struggled with digital, and with a tougher financial and social environment, so making a success of this is going to require a lot of thought, and a lot of work, as we’ll be pushing against the tide.

I look forward to sharing the journey with you.

Until next time…

Martin Francis Campbell
20th September 2018