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Update from February 2020

Welcome to the end of February 2020 issue of Digital WM News and our second issue of 2020.

We continue to help you and your organisation/community group increase your digital skills and knowledge in 2020

In this issue we include:

  • News including Be More Digital opportunity, Responding to change together conference, #Walsall2020, Birmingham Tech Tech for Good event
  • Events including #BeMoreDigital2020, Maxmising Media for Charities, Stemettes Hack Birmingham and Birmingham Tech launch
  • People: Baroness Diana Barran
  • Resources including How to build a data culture and Digital strategy advice
  • Vacancies 10 vacancies 
...and so much more!

We continue to increase digital skills and knowledge in the VCSE sectors, as part of Project 2020, by curating the most useful items we see on the web during the month.

We'd love to hear your stories of increasing digital skills and knowledge too. Please email them to Pauline at, marking them for my attention.

For our new subscribers in February, we welcome you! We'd love to hear from you so please email or tweet us.

Please note that this issue and all previous issues can be found on our website here

In 2020 we aim to reach at least one person in every small charity, non-profit and social enterprise in the West Midlands. 

You can help us increase our reach and increase digital skills in the West Midlands by encouraging your colleagues and friends to subscribe to Digital WM News in 2020. 

They can SIGN UP HERE to ensure they receive the latest issue as soon as it is published.


Pauline Roche,
Editor, Digital WM News

Opportunity for charity professionals to Be More Digital


*This opportunity is free for the first 50 testers. On launch this training will be charged at £10 per user per month.

Responding to change together: Funding reimagined for a new decade 

WM Funders Network in partnership with councils for voluntary services One Walsall and Sandwell Council of Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) are organising this conference on 12th March at Walsall FC ground to enable funders and the VCSE to reflect on these developments, learn from each other and identify how we can work together differently.

The event, the first collaboration of its kind between the partners, will be introduced and chaired by Rita Chadha, CEO of the Small Charities Coalition and is sponsored by Brewin Dolphin, Charity Bank and The National Lottery Community Fund. Jane Ide, CEO of NAVCA is to be the event’s keynote speaker.

The conference will also feature five breakout sessions on topical funding issues raised by VCSE and WM Funders Network members in late 2019. These include User Involvement (why should funders get involved), Measuring Success (outputs, outcomes and impact), Partnership Working (shared learning and collaborative approaches between funders and the sector), the Value of Data (how digital can help) and Sustainability (what does this mean). Each session will be facilitated.

A range of VCSE organisations will also attend the conference to showcase their activities and provide general and bespoke advice to funders. They include the Ethical Property Foundation, Cranfield Trust, Citizen Click, Dudley CVS and Wolverhampton CVS.

Tickets for the conference priced at £15 are still available here

#Walsall2020 launches 1st March

WhatsApp the Swiss Army Knife of workplace communication

Really great to see this positive comment about the app WhatsApp in a tweet by digital expert Sharon O'Dea. WhatsApp is used extensively by lots of voluntary and community organisations 







Birmingham Tech and NatWest host TechforGood event 

PHOTO: Birmingham Tech and NatWest TechforGood event Credit: Birmingham Tech

On 26th Feb a variety of speakers came together in Birmingham to speak about their tech for good projects and the difference they're making:
~ Sam Reader, WONDR
~ Gurdip Sodhi, ORLO
~ Patricia McMahon, Generation
~ Kay Edwin, Freestyle
~ Oliver Arnold-Richards, Practical Action
~ Ted Ryan, RnR Organisation

This was a collaboration between Birmingham Tech and NatWest and hosted at the NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator Hub. The event was pulled together by Pam Sheemar and Devon Geary, supported by Simon McNamara & Dr Andrew McLaughlin on behalf of NatWest 

The exhibitors who also supported the event were Kapture 8 Ltd, The Prince's Trust, Adelan Limited, Careers Calendar, Round Midnight LTD, School Of Code, Equine Business Association, Woodbarn and JobWards

Reach Volunteering trial new way of recruiting


"...We used the following approach to recruit for two very different roles:  a service co-ordinator and a head of service. 

In both cases we honed in on the most essential attributes (a mix of skills, experience and qualities) and worked up three questions designed to draw out those attributes. We put these questions up on Survey Monkey, and pointed people to them from the job adverts. We also asked for contact details and CVs, but we kept this data hidden when shortlisting. 

We reviewed all the applicants' answers to each question in turn one, and scored all of them, before moving on to the next question and so on. We then shortlisted for interview, based on these scores..." 

Full post

Volunteer Recruiter? Then get ready for Do IT 3.0!

"...The new Do IT places the volunteer at the heart of the platform, enabling them to build their volunteering experience around their personal aspirations and goals,   providing you with even better quality matches. Volunteers will be able to share their experiences and stories, inspiring others to build a national community through doing good together. 

You’ll find an enhanced data dashboard giving access to key stats at a glance, so you can see which opportunities are the most popular and which volunteers are the most active, making it even easier to plan and manage your recruitment. We’ve added new data streams too that will help you understand what motivates your volunteers and how they are benefitting from the experience, giving you valuable insight into the link between volunteering and social wellbeing.."

Full post.

Charities should be champions of open source and open data





5th Mar

The digital tech conference for charities at all stages of digital maturity.

9th Mar 
ShedTalk - Innovative women in NGO's: a talk by Go Philanthropic 
case studies from Go Philanthropic, who have supported inspirational women to create NGO's which provide better opportunities for the communities they live in. Learn about how these women have used innovation and often limited resources to resolve the unique challenges they face.

12th Mar 
Responding to change together: Funding reimagined for a new decade
WM Funders Network in partnership with One Walsall and Sandwell Council of Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) working to enable funders and the VCSE to reflect on current developments, learn from each other and identify how we can work together differently.

Breakout sessions: User Involvement, Measuring Success, Partnership Working, the Value of Data and Sustainability .

Chair: Rita Chadha, CEO, Small Charities Coalition
Keynote: Jane Ide, CEO, NAVCA 

18th Mar

Maximising Media for Charities
Do you struggle with social media? Panic over press releases? Or do you clam up at the very thought of being creative? Free Radio Cash For Kids are proud to offer a FREE media day for paid staff at small local West Midlands charities with help from partners the Institute of Fundraising West Midlands and The ICC.

19th Mar
BCS Skills for a Digital World 2020

Includes discussion from influential bodies such as the AELP, Digital Skills Partnerships, The Good Things Foundation who will discuss the baseline digital skills for society, especially reaching those who are most vulnerable.

Lloyds Bank will share the outputs of their research and how this influenced the new essential digital skills qualification coming in 2020.

21st-22nd Mar 
Stemettes Hack Birmingham
Stemettes are working hard to inspire and help the next generation of females get into Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.

This is a really unique and exciting 2-day (weekend) event for girls and young women aged 5-21 where you can create your very own app!

  • Have you ever used an app?

  • Would you like to make one?

  • Are you interested in technology?


25th Mar
Fundraisers Networking

'Get Grants' informal Fundraising Networking Social to share experiences and connect with other fundraisers in the region

26th Mar
8Talks - Technology Leadership Networking Event 
informal networking event that brings SME Technology Leaders together and provides an opportunity to discuss the challenges that you are faced with every day with your peers.

Birmingham Tech launch

The event will reveal how you can get involved, including The importance of digital skills and Plans for Birmingham Tech Week 2020

31st Mar
Social Enterprise Solutions for the Environment: Hackathon

Michael Addison from Eco Birmingham and Charlotte Watkivs TED talker and founder of of A Zero Waste Life will be contributing to an action-led hack as we explore ideas and craft collaborative social enterprise solutions for a more sustainable future.

This hackathon is part of CITYDRIVE2020, a wider programme of social enterprise events delivered by social enterprise development organisation iSE 30th March-4th April.

[READING: 9 things you need to know about Hacks by Pauline Roche]

Regular Meetups - *new this issue*
Birmingham Open Code
- weekly (Tues) open study session for folks who program or those who want to get started
Birmingham Settlement IT Club - weekly (Wed, 1-3pm)
Birmingham Tech Cluster - monthly (second Friday) tech, digital and innovation cluster
Brum SMC – monthly (last Fri) social media meetup
Coding Wednesday – monthly (last Wed) - Codeacademy, YouTube tutorials etc
Digital Evenings (Fircroft College) – semi-regular - improve your digital skills
fizzPOP – monthly (2nd Wednesday) Lock picking
Net Squared Midlands – regular #techforgood meetup 
- Net Squared Midlands meetups will start again as soon as we identify a new venue - watch this space!

Tech Wednesday – monthly meet up for like-minded individuals in tech industry in Birmingham area
Digital and IT
Fircroft College, Birmingham

Baroness Diana Barran

Baroness Barran has been reappointed as Lords Minister DCMS and Min for Civil Society inc charities, social enterprise, loneliness, youth social action + incl economy.



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How to build a data culture
By Rachel Rank

"...To make the best use and impacts from data, organisations often need a culture shift. We talk a lot about the benefits of developing a data culture, but what does that mean? Here, Rachel Rank sets out the characteristics and how grantmakers can embed them in their own organisations...

Full post

What does digital mean to you? We asked Ben White from Reason Digital
By Rebecca Pooley

"...We work best when charities come to us with a human problem and want to explore how digital could address it. If you look at a lot of work coming from the tech sector, it’s basically coming out with fully formed solutions to address perceived problems, then trying to iterate. But – the basis of the work is not always a full understanding of the problem, certainly not of the social aspects of problems, or even the potential for their solution to do harm. I think that sometimes the charity sector needs to avoid falling into that trap..."

Full post 


Thinking of developing a digital strategy - here's some helpful guidance 

How foundations can support civil society to anticipate and shape technology

"...After first publishing the film we convened 30 UK foundations at the end of last year to talk about practical ways forward, which I reflect on in the second blog post. In this last blog post of the series, I share some of the practical ways the issues raised in the film are being addressed..."

Full post


All vacancies in the West Midlands requiring digital skills - positions are flexible or home based, listed by closing date (unless otherwise stated)

3rd Mar
Children and Families Officer
Children's Liver Disease Foundation
£23,000 - £27,000 (pro rata) 

Data and Contracts Officer
£28,732-£31,924 per annum (pro-rata)

5th Mar
Digital Marketing Officer
Islamic Help
(Re-opened on 04/02/2020 for a month)
£22,000 - £22,500 per year

Online Community Assistant
Alzheimer’s Society
Flexible across England, Wales & Northern Ireland
£17,732 to £18,629 per annum

Project Co-ordinator, Digital Culture Network
Arts Council England
£27,125 per annum


8th Mar
Multi-media Officer
Midland Heart

Programme Development Officer
£25,227 - £29,678 per year

11th Mar

HMRC Caseworker/Support Lead 
Coventry Independent Advice Service 
Up to £17379 (dependent on experience)

18th Mar
Campaigns Manager
National Literacy Trust
£32k per year

25th Mar 
Employability Programme Workshop Coordinator 
Sophie Hayes Foundation 
£23,000 - £25,000 per year pro rated to 3 days per week. 


Hi, I'm Pauline Roche. I'm a freelance journalist with a special interest in data journalism.

I'm also M.D. of RnR Organisation - we're a social enterprise and we aim to increase digital and data literacy amongst smaller non-profits, including by running the Net Squared Midlands meetup and the VCSSCamp unconference for voluntary sector infrastructure organisations.

If you've learned something through this newsletter, or you just think DWMN is great, you can read back issues here. You can also encourage others to subscribe.

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RnR Organisation is registered as a Company Ltd by Guarantee in England and Wales,
Company Registration Number 9140623 
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