SCVO media release
2 November 2016

Leaders from right across Scotland’s charities and third sector organisations have come together with a rallying call for all charities in Scotland to commit to seize the opportunities presented by new technology and the internet.

Over the last six months, the 19 leaders have working together to develop their knowledge, skills and vision for digital leadership. Now they have created a Call to Action urging other charities to embrace the digital agenda within the next year.

David McNeill, Director of Digital at the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), which supported leaders from across the sector to create the Call to Action said:

“The digital revolution has already happened. There is a danger that if charities don’t respond to how people are using new technology and the internet they will fail to be relevant and effective. Charities increasingly need to adapt and evolve in order to be fit-for-purpose in a digital world. This is critical if we are to effectively meet the needs of people and communities as well as the increasing expectations of our donors.

“We’re really excited because we firmly believe that these asks for charity leaders, the charity regulator and funders can realistically be met within a year and that they’ll set us on the right course to become world leading.

“We all know that securing funding and resources is increasingly difficult for charities, but by using new technology and the internet more effectively there is an opportunity to both improve the quality of services and reduce costs.”

Shelagh Young, Director of Scotland at Home-Start UK, a family support charity which is supporting the Call to Action said:

“Many organisations with a social purpose have a proud history of innovation in the ways they seek to change lives for the better. That pioneering spirit needs to be applied to embracing the digital agenda. Home-Start UK, like many other charities, needs easier access to unbiased knowledge and adequate resources to help us use digital systems more effectively. We support the Call to Action because we owe it to the families which need our support to keep making sure we are offering the best possible service we can using whatever means available.”

The Call to Action urges charity trustees, chief executives and other third sector leaders to:

  • Ensure they have the knowledge to drive digital change
  • Understand the digital skills of their staff, volunteers and end users, and invest in training and support to develop them.


OSCR is asked to:

  • Encourage charities to recruit a trustee to their board who understands digital and can support organisational change
  • Highlight best practice in digital adoption in charities to inspire and motivate other organisations


Funders are asked to:

  • Make explicit statements about the importance of digital and advocate for consideration of a digital approach in the work they fund.
  • Train grants officers to understand how to assess and evaluate digital initiatives.



Notes to editors:

  1. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations is the membership organisation for Scotland’s charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. The Scottish third sector turns over £4.5 billion a year and employs 138,000 people in over 45,000 organisations. For more on SCVO see
  2. Read the full Call to Action. The Call to Action was created by Action Learning Set members, including: Dan Reynolds Bethany Christian Trust, Florence Burke Music in Hospitals, Heather McNaughtonCastle Rock Edinvar, Jacqueline Hay Museums Galleries Scotland, Jacqui Taylor Lifelink, Jenny Paterson National Autistic Society, Julie Breslin Addaction, Karen Herbert CVS Falkirk, Lisa Cohen See Me, Margaret O’Connor Art in Healthcare, Mary Allison Breast Cancer Now, Melodie Crumlin PEEK, Michelle Sweeny Fife Cultural Trust, Neil Clapperton Grampian Housing Association, Nicolas White Breast Cancer Care, Nina Smith North Ayrshire CAB, Pandora SummerfieldDown’s Syndrome Scotland, Shelagh Young Homestart UK, Thomas Lynch Dads Rock
  3. For media queries, please call Charlotte McNeill at SCVO on 07790 601 995.