Spring 2019 Conference Reflections

Spring 2019 Conference Reflections

Reflections from Jess Sumner, Community Works CEO

We set the theme for our conference knowing that the very use of the word ‘digital’ might put people off, or make them think there would be nothing to gain in coming along. But, at the same time, we knew the concept of embedding digital confidence in your organisations was the right one.

With the Charity Digital Skills Report 2019 showing more than half of charities feel their digital skills are ‘fair to low’, and the fact that skills remain the second greatest issue, with over half of charities rating them as a barrier, we knew we had a responsibility to try and explore what is needed to improve skills.

We also want to support our members in understanding where digital tools may help them spend more time on delivering the activity they care about, and less on the admin around measuring, promoting and developing it. We wanted to see whether we could evidence the fact that local charities aren’t refusing to get to grips with technology, but that they need more support to understand how it can help them.

As it turned out the choice of theme worked perfectly; we had what felt like the fastest rate of bookings so far (we believe we could’ve filled the Amex!) and we saw the best spread of interest we’ve ever seen across individual sessions.

Social media interest and levels of enthusiasm were high and on the day there was a general buzz in the air that felt energising. There were positive comments for all the speakers and workshop leads throughout the day and each of them made their knowledge relevant to the audience, passing on hints and tips that had me busily scribbling into Evernote lest I forget!

One such comment mentioned ‘lots of good stuff already and some brilliant examples!’ and #standingroomonly was used by one attendee in their tweet. Bring on the next conference!


A huge thank you to all of our fantastic speakers. Links to their websites and further resources below.

Kerry Watkins, from Social Brighton spoke about how to develop an agile social media strategy.

Tom Chute, from Pragmatic ran an engaging workshop on how to set up a digital strategy.

Atif Coundhury, from Diversity and Ability explored the digital tools available that we can all use to support inclusion.

Jason Nuttall, from Crowdfunder shared tips and tricks for running a successful crowdfunding campaign for your charity.

James Armstrong, from Digital Firefly helped us all understand the whys, and hows, of using social media to build meaningful relationships with communities.

Citizens Online

David Scurr and James Beecher, from Citizens Online took us through some great digital tools we can use to make data analysis simpler.

NEXT | Taking Account 4 Launch Date: 23rd July 2019!