Charity technology conference

Data demand – Marine Conservation Society

  • Started as small scale campaigners
  • Suddenly got global traction and needed to upscale quickly
  • They came up with tonnes of little databases to keep up with the demand of outputting data, but quickly needed one manageable system
  • Buy-in was the hardest part, getting people internally to invest in the future
  • “You need one version of the truth for your organisation”
  • It helped them work smarter, pick a direction and put all efforts into that
  • They needed a model that could be deployed for all data sets that scientists were gathering on the ground
  • They made hard choices, didn’t allow small solutions to spring up again, kept everyone focused on the big picture strategy
  • Made small, realistic, incremental changes and didn’t allow anyone at any level to throw any spanners in the works
  • They made a high level decision to trust their employees and internal experts, allowed them the safety to say when they didn’t have the expertise in certain areas and enabling them to find the external support they needed to deliver
  • They allowed some flex, where data gathering needed not to be halted while migrations took place
  • Allowing this kept internal stakeholders on board
  • They created a space for users to feed into the project, to have control over its development and not feel change was happening to or around them
  • Cultural shift was a challenge, getting people to relinquish control of their specific ways of working
  • In some cases they had to retain existing systems, but created smarter ways to integrate them with the central process
  • When they recruiting outside help, they asked suppliers why they wanted to work with the Marine Conservation Society to make sure they found a cultural match

Donor journeys – Barnardo’s 

  • Figure out where you are and map out where you want to be
  • Working with the impact team to form an evidence base for change
  • Barnardo’s have a whole digital fundraising team
  • They are the tech and fundraising bridge, which has helped them break down silos and alleviate fear of change
  • has made machine learning accessible for them
  • Personalisation is done via user account, no browser based targeting
  • They trial different supporter groups to test new ideas, and then upscale them


  • The uses extend beyond money
  • The important thing isn’t how it works, but the doors it opens to change our thinking on centralised versus distributed record keeping
  • Good for automation, transparency and distribution
  • Could see the decentralisation of charities altogether, enables transparent and efficient collaboration of individuals for social change
  • Opportunity for better trust with donors, they can track their pound all the way through the chain
  • How do you protect people within radical transparency, e.g. those working in dangerous fields who benefit from cash trading
  • Algorithmic regulation, e.g. law, accessibility of smart contracts
  • “This is happening now, we should take advantage now”
  • Gives power to smaller networks to fill gaps charities or governments can’t
  • Is accountability diminished by decentralisation

Fraud and cybercrime – London digital security centre

  • There are huge numbers of cyber attacks every day, so they prioritise prevention, innovation and education
  • The simple things matter, we give up our data too readily, often without realising what we’re doing (e.g. logging into free wifi)
  • We also fear the high profile cases, e.g. Russia, we need to pay more attention to everyday cybercrime
  • Easier to commit crime online and harder to get caught
  • Social engineering (e.g. phishing)
  • Data compromise (e.g. passwords)
  • Targeting vulnerabilities (e.g. non encryption)
  • We imagine ourselves being targeted, but it’s more fruitful to target companies and use that context as a guise to target individuals (e.g. a phishing text from your GP)
  • Latest Apple update encouraged people to mitigate the wifi security risk by releasing more emojis at the same time as their software update, incentivising security
  • Breachaware exposes where these have happened, we should all check regularly and act

Transparency and trust

  • Took Oxfam five years to get their app to market
  • St Mungo’s use blockchain to ensure donors can track their donation
  • It got people reengaged in the charity and helped them to communicate all the work that goes into tackling homelessness
  • But transparency and trust is not always wanted, they also had people who were annoyed at the expectation they should care after their donation was made
  • Technology should always be connected to the value of the organisation
  • Does it matter if we replace trust in agencies with trust in technology
  • Algorithmic bias, etc.
  • “Trust isn’t rational and not everything that counts can be counted”
%d bloggers like this: