By Debby Mulling, Strategic Partnership Manager at CAST / Catalyst

At the start of 2020, nonprofits and their communities faced a new challenge. COVID-19 stopped face-to-face services and organisations had to adapt almost overnight. In response, Nesta launched the ‘Nesta Grantee Support Programme’. The programme aimed to help charities and social enterprises in receipt of Nesta grants to adapt their work.

In partnership with Nesta, Catalyst worked with these grantees to find shared responses to their challenges. Catalyst is an alliance of charities, agencies and funders, working together to help civil society organisations harness the full power of digital, data…

Part of our Tech for Good: stories and learnings from charities series

By Charné Tromp, Service Designer & Tech for Good Programme Coordinator

For Bipolar UK, the national charity dedicated to supporting individuals, their families and carers with the condition of bipolar, the opportunity to develop a new digital service (the Bipolar UK chatbot) that could extend their reach was one of the key drivers that prompted the charity to apply for the Tech for Good Programme.

Bipolar UK logo
Bipolar UK logo

Moving in a digital direction

Fiona O’Brien, Moderator for the Bipolar UK eCommunity, the charity’s online peer support forum, and the charity’s project lead on the Tech for…

The first in our ‘Tech for Good: stories and learnings from charities’ series

A graphic outlining the AVA Breathing Space initiative
A graphic outlining the AVA Breathing Space initiative

AVA (Against Violence And Abuse), a small gender-based anti-violence charity, took part in the Tech for Good programme over the past year, to develop a digital resource (‘Breathing Space’) to help survivors of gender-based violence.

But while AVA was looking at one particular resource as part of this programme, it sees itself as having been on a much more comprehensive digital journey over the last three to four years, which has involved looking at the impact of digital on many or most aspects of the organisation.


How Catalyst is responding to the COVID-19 crisis.

Photo by Clint Adair on Unsplash

Catalyst is a UK collective of digital, design and data organisations, charities and funders. UK charities and the communities they serve are currently facing profound challenges; as a result the Catalyst collective is mobilising to do everything we can to respond.

This piece lays out the role that Catalyst is playing, the progress we’re making and what’s being made available for charities, funders and others to access, re-use or adapt as part of their response to COVID-19.

What role is Catalyst playing in the response?

Catalyst was launched in the summer of 2019 with a five year ambition to create…

This guide helps charities get set up to make Zoom Video calls. Connect with a team, service users or partners.

Getting started with Zoom
Getting started with Zoom

About Zoom

Zoom is a free (plus paid-for options) video conferencing tool that can be used on PCs, Macs and mobile devices.

We use it for 1:1 meetings; team meetings and video meetings with people outside of our organisation.

It’s easy to sign up and use, taking less than 10 minutes to get started.

The free version gives you calls up to 40 minutes in length and there are lots of features to support collaborative working. Here, we’ll just look at getting signed up and started.

Step 1

Go to Zoom
Head over to

You may have noticed a trend on job ads from CAST and other organisations that remote working is supported and enabled. This isn’t a trend towards ascoiality, far from it! It’s more an acknowledgement that the tools and practices required to support remote working are now so good that it would be foolish not to use them and the benefits for both an organisation and its staff are significant.

Remote working has many advantages. It can enable work for people caring for small children or ill/elderly relatives. It is more convenient for those with disabilities and allows people to live…

Part 1: How we’re codifying our values and naming the behaviours we want to bring to The Catalyst and all of our work. Plus an invitation to help you do the same.

CAST is The Catalyst’s incubator. Together with the network we’ve created the Catalyst’s clear mission and framework for action. The framework will develop over time as we learn where best to place our focus.

However, we believe the ways in which we go about this work together are critical if The Catalyst is to realise its ambition. …

This piece from CAST’s Tori Ellaway was originally published in the April issue of Charity Finance magazine

Image from a recent free Design Hop workshop, where you can run through this process first-hand

We’ve all seen it before — what’s slated to be a game-changing website, hub or app launches amidst much fanfare, only to then disappear very quietly and sometimes very slowly. Think Google+, Google’s social media platform which is closing down this month due to low user engagement following a seven-year demise. The platform was once called a “ghost town” in the New York Times – apparently no-one needed another social media platform, or this platform didn’t fit with people’s behaviours.

Now, I can’t…

This article from CAST’s Ellie Hale first appeared in the March print issue of Charity Times (p31).

Discussing assumptions in a Design Hop workshop

Over the last few months, we’ve been running a series of free digital workshops to help charities embed digital into their service delivery. One thing that attendees frequently comment on, where they’ve had something of an ‘aha!’ moment, is the value of testing their assumptions and biases about how necessary or important something really is. Some have completely changed their project or approach as a result of what they uncover.

When we’re delivering services in an increasingly complex, digital world, we all make…

CAST is running more free Design Hop workshops across the UK over the coming months, in partnership with regional networks. Here’s some context.

Drafting and role-playing user research questions at a Design Hop follow-on event

Are you keen to understand how digital can help improve your organisation’s impact, reach and focus, but not sure where to start? If so, read on.

Firstly, what do we mean by ‘digital’?

The word ‘digital’ can mean many different things across the social sector. We’ve heard this repeatedly in workshops, and in our Start Somewhere research with small voluntary organisations and the Institute for Voluntary Action Research (IVAR). Digital is used for everything from getting set…


The Centre for Acceleration of Social Technology — upskilling and upscaling social sector organisations to use technology for accelerated social change.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store