Can you help us shape new digital guidance for the charity sector?

We’ve recently been learning a lot about technology and the part it might play in youth loneliness.

As MMU and 42nd Street highlighted in their ‘Loneliness Connects Us’ research, young people face significant pressures and risks in relation to social media use; yet most of those they spoke to were also positive about the possibilities of the Internet.

“Social media is social pressure… people posting fake happiness. That has to be one of the loneliest place, with so much inner unhappiness and faking it online”

“I have a friend I met online. I will never meet him as this friend lives in Australia. But it’s such an important friendship to me and it helps me avoid loneliness.”

The Co-op Foundation has recently been working on some quantitative research, which reinforces this mixed picture about technology and loneliness. Watch out for updates on our findings soon!

We’re interested, too, in how youth organisations are using digital technology. Has it helped you to find new ways of engaging with young people? Or of raising more funds?  

Maybe you’ve even been exploring ways that new digital products could be developed to directly help young people tackle loneliness.  If that’s something you’re thinking about, this new report from NPC offers a stimulating read on how youth organisations could make use of tech to help young people achieve their life goals.

One way or another, technology is going to have an ever-growing impact on the way our organisations need to work. That’s why the Co-op Foundation is supporting the development of a new Charity Digital Code of Practice. This aims to develop charities’ digital skills, improve take up of digital activity in charities, and create a level playing field for all organisations by increasing digital motivation and confidence. We will be developing the code alongside the Charity Commission, Office for Civil Society, NCVO, the Small Charities Coalition, Tech Trust, ACEVO and NAVCA amongst others. You can find out more about the code here.

We’re currently looking for a number of charities to get involved in testing the code.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re large or small; whether taking your first steps into using digital channels, or already pushing the boundaries of excellence. We want the code to be a valuable resource for all charities – and given what we’re learning about technology and youth loneliness, we’re particularly keen for some of our youth partners to get involved at the user testing stage.

You’ll get first sight of the draft code before it opens for wider consultation, and the opportunity to shape something which will eventually shape practice across the sector.  All you’ll have to do as part of the user testing is review the code and then share your thoughts on it with Zoe Amar, who is chairing the initiative.

If you’d like to get involved, please contact the Co-op Foundation team on foundation@coop.co.uk or Zoe directly on zoe@zoeamar.com


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