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Contributed by
Ealing and Hounslow CVS

Overview

Ealing and Hounslow CVS (EHCVS) is a charity that works to support their local community.

They are working on a project to build the IT and digital capacity of the non-profit organisations within the local area of Hounslow. In the wake of COVID-19, these organisations were finding it tough to deliver their services digitally. EHCVS provides them with 1:1 support, training, help and guidance.

They also recruit volunteer ‘digital champions’ to help these organisations further. This champion will work with the organisation to help them become more digital. The project is specifically focused on the role of technology and digital enablement, as well as providing infrastructure support to groups.

Recipe status

This recipe has been in use since February 2021.

We are not sharing this recipe as the perfect solution to a problem, but we believe Ealing and Hounslow CVS’s learnings could be very useful to other organisations.

Users and needs served

  • As a member of staff, I need to be able to adapt my organisation’s way of delivering services to digital means
  • As a service user, I need to improve my digital skills
  • As a member of staff, I need to continue supporting service users virtually

Software and tools used

Zoom

Zoom is a popular online conferencing platform with video, audio, and live text chat functionality. Features include the ability to screen share, as well as to share links and other media during a session.

Cost

Zoom offers a range of subscriptions.

The free ‘Basic’ plan allows unlimited one-to-one meetings but has a 40-minute time limit on group sessions.

There are also various options for paid plans:

Pro (£11.99/month/host)

Business (£15.99/month/host)

Enterprise (£15.99/month/host).

These plans contain increased options for participation and no time restrictions.

Zoom is also available at discounted charity rates through the Charity Digital Exchange programme.

More price options can be found here.

Considerations

Zoom is well known and is commonly used for both professional and personal calls.

People are able to use Zoom on different devices such as tablets, laptops, and phones, meaning it is better suited to individual circumstances than some of its competitors.

When using Zoom you lose some face to face interactions that you normally would have when working with a group.

Mailchimp

Mailchimp is a marketing automation platform and email marketing service.

Cost

Pricing varies according to the number of contacts in your mailing lists.

There is a free plan available that includes up to 2,000 contacts and 10,000 sends per month, with a daily send limit of 2,000. This also includes a limited set of basic email templates and basic reporting, with the ability to send and track one-click welcome emails.

The next tier of subscription, Essentials, offers pricing based on your contact count, and a monthly send limit ten times your maximum contact count. You have access to all email templates, and the ability to schedule whole email campaigns.

Mailchimp offers a 15% discount on paid subscriptions for charities.

Considerations

Mailchimp provides templates that can be used multiple times.

It is easy to create newsletters in Mailchimp.

Different departments can use it for different purposes, so it benefits multiple teams.

Mailchimp is relatively affordable.

Mailchimp can be a little complicated to use. It may take some time for people to adjust to it.

Eventbrite

Eventbrite is an event management and ticketing website. The service allows users to browse, create, and promote local events. 

Cost

Eventbrite is free to use for ‘free to attend’ events. It offers a tiered pricing structure for for-profit events.

You can see more information on Eventbrite pricing here.

Considerations

Eventbrite enables you to set up automated reminder emails so that you don’t have to use another emailing platform to email those who have signed up to remind them of upcoming sessions.

Recipe steps

1. Identify your target market

Understand your capacity to provide digital training and make an informed decision of who you should be working with.

For example, if you are providing basic digital training, small organisations are more likely to need this.

Working with local groups can also mean you have a better understanding of their needs and may allow you to build a stronger rapport with them.

2. Get to know the organisation

Finding out more about the organisation you are working with will allow you to tailor your training to their needs. If they have more than a basic understanding of digital, then you can introduce them to more complicated software.

However, generalising your sessions to cater only to one level can exclude other groups and make them feel uncomfortable or out of their depth in training.

Some very small charities or community groups may not have much funding at all. Cater to their budget.

3. Recruit and assign a ‘digital champion’

Put a call out for volunteers that want to help charities become more digital. See whether their skills and interests align well with the needs of groups that you are working with.

Find out what it is that the champion wants to do, and see if you can also provide them with a training project that suits their interests.

The digital champion can decide how long they want to stay with the charity.

4. Offer a variety of ways to teach people

Offer themed training that focuses on a specific skill.

Groups can access this training over Zoom. Take bookings for these sessions on Eventbrite.

Consider inviting external speakers to teach your groups.

Ensure you build interactive features into your training, so that it doesn’t feel like users are being lectured.

Consider running ‘playdates’, where groups can have an informal session with you about how to use a particular piece of software. This should be a casual and non-judgemental space for individuals to test out a piece of software and trial before they have to use it in a more professional setting.

5. Maintain communication with your users

You can continue your communication with users outside of the video sessions by sending weekly newsletters.

These should include information about tools or apps you have discovered so that service users stay updated on digital trends.

Make sure your users know that they can access help from you at any point.

6. Feedback

Use case studies to gather feedback from your users. Find out whether they have used the skills they learnt. They can inform you of whether anything was lacking within the sessions and training. Collecting these testimonials can also be useful for funding applications.

Guidance

Have a project plan with a clear timeline for delivery. Share dates with groups for training because people’s diaries can get booked up. Be clear about the training you are going to offer.

Risks

Be mindful about dealing with sensitive information. Some people may not be aware that the information they are sharing about themselves through sessions or to you could be a breach of their privacy.

Points of contact

For further information about this recipe, you can contact:

Jane Medici, Digital Capacity Building Support Officer

Thanks

Many thanks to Ealing and Hounslow CVS for contributing this recipe.

Licence

This recipe is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.

That means you are free to copy, redistribute, and build on the text of this recipe, but only for non-commercial purposes (if you want to use it for commercial purposes, get in touch with us at [email protected]). You must give credit to both Catalyst and Ealing and Hounslow CVS and link back to this page. If you build on this recipe then you must share your version under this same licence.

Recipe published on April 16th, 2021. Last updated April 16th, 2021