Hop into digital service delivery in 2019

Jan 21 · 5 min read

Still need an achievable New Year’s resolution for your nonprofit? Sign up to an “unmissable” free half-day Design Hop workshop in your area to kick-start your digital journey!

Some shots from our pre-Christmas Design Hop workshops

2018 brought a wave of new reports, codes, tools, events and resources showing how digital can help nonprofits deliver greater impact in challenging times. And it also heralded a shift in the sector’s ‘digital’ focus towards digital service delivery — using the tools and techniques of ‘tech for good’ to deliver services that are more responsive and effective than ever before.

We’ve been helping nonprofit better understand and use digital to deliver their mission for over three years now at CAST and have seen a huge swell in the number of organisations interested in exploring what this means for them.

But where on earth to start?

At the end of last year we ran some free half-day workshops to help those just beginning to explore the role of digital in their services. We call these Design Hops. They’re a chance for social organisations to hop into the world of digital service delivery, with a guided whistle-stop tour of all the key things they need to know and what to do about it.

It’s a practical, accessible introduction to digital and how to approach it in a strategic way. All you need to get started is knowledge of a problem your service users are facing, which all nonprofits have in abundance!

Here’s what some attendees have said:

“The design hop workshop is a friendly and engaging space to explore how digital might help your charity, community group or social enterprise deliver better services. It serves as a timely reminder: that digital evolution is less about using new tech for the sake of it and more about starting with a problem, looking at your existing user needs and service, and exploring how tech might be part of the solution to improve it.” — David Scurr, Citizens Online

“I was impressed by how much we managed to pack into just half a day and how much valuable content and advice the team shared. It also proved to be a great opportunity to network and share lessons learned with other digital charity leads, tackling similar challenges.” — Charné Tromp-Ahmed, Youth Business International

Experts are on hand to guide you through the process and challenge your thinking of what’s possible

What do you actually learn?

We’ll walk you through not just the theory but how other nonprofits we’ve worked with have used it in practice — what they did, what it achieved, how much it cost. We’ll also share our knowledge of digital funding opportunities and networks, including which grant-makers are more open to digital applications and any regional organisations that are well-placed support your development.

You’ll work through a series of exercises that help you unpack your problem, understand what assets you already have that can help you tackle it, hone your focus and then finally articulate potential solutions to others.

You’ll leave with a clear idea of what you need to do next, and the confidence to get on and do it. To make this even easier, you’ll have created a document that can double as a brief to a tech partner or as a pitch to funders. All in four hours…

“Having a step-by-step walk through of the development process, with templates to complete at each stage, was useful for honestly appraising the need for a service and then making the case successfully. It’s a highly practical workshop for charities and community organisations with the seed of an idea for delivering a service or aspect of their work digitally. It was not only the space and time we needed to put our heads together away from the office and get to the crux of the issue but essentially it’s given us a blueprint for a new project. Unmissable”. — Sorrel Parsons, Superhighways

“Much enjoyed the workshop, learnt how to articulate my thoughts and got good tips on project implementation.” — Anthony Bewick-Smith, Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants

Thanks to our generous grant funders, it’s all completely free. And you get lunch!

You’ll unlock creative ideas for improved service delivery, then tie it all together in a plan

Alright, but what then?

It may sound cheesy, but this isn’t just a one-off workshop. It’s the start of a journey. Every attendee gets bespoke follow-up support from CAST, and we’re working with brilliant local partners to run follow-up events for each group so they can reflect and share progress (and challenges!) with their peers.

For those ready to take things forward, we have an ever-growing network of expert partners ready and primed to help, whether through skills training for specific areas you’ve identified through the workshop (such as user research, prototyping or business modelling), or developers and funds that can help get tech built.

Where do I sign up?

Throughout 2019 we’ll be running tens of Design Hops around the UK, in partnership with regional sector support organisations in places like Brighton, London, Birmingham, Preston and Newcastle and we’re adding more all the time.

Check out our webpage for more info or you can register directly at http://bit.ly/CASTDesignHops.

Want to partner with us?

If you’re a local sector infrastructure body or community network interested in helping us support nonprofits in your area through Design Hops, we’d love to hear from you! Drop us a line at DesignHops@wearecast.org.uk.

A very non-digital takeaway from the workshop

Written by


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