How we helped charities adapt and successfully move online during the COVID-19 pandemic by using an inclusive approach

Organisation: Dot Projects supporting charities | Cyfannol & BTA

Supporting charities British Tinnitus Association and Cyfannol

Sector: Charities

Year: 2020

Interchange's Role

Gráinne Hamilton and Jen Kelchner advised the charities on strategy and provided expert facilitation, executive coaching and mentoring until handover

Impacts

Trapped & Untapped Value Realised

Significant social value¹ to their service users and wider society

¹Definition reference: The Charity Commission (2019). The Value of the Charity Sector. GOV.UK

Insights

In this section, we take a look at the activities for our key indicators and the outcomes realised for the organisation.

Rapid Innovation

Providing opportunity for service users to feed-in during community calls

Hundreds of suggestions were generated on future focus and online service provision

Resilience

Changing how they delivered and catering for diverse needs

Being able to continue to deliver support and deepen engagement with service users throughout the pandemic

Sustainability

Including their service users in decision about the future of the services

Sustaining and growing meaningful engagement with their service users through generation of a strong sense of ownership of it being their service

Service user satisfaction that they were being included and heard

Navigating Possible, Probable & Preferred Futures

Moving to online delivery in a way that was endorsed by the service users to maintain the charities’ services through the COVID-19 pandemic

Just like many around the world, the charities had not anticipated a global pandemic as a possible or probable future. By using the open principles to help them adapt in a way that was inclusive of their service users, the charity was able to successfully navigate this unexpected development.

Not only were they able to change and sustain their services, but they created the conditions for a preferred future in which they could confidently deliver online, as well as, in-person support once the pandemic was over.

How We Helped

The Challenge

During the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns, many UK charities wondered how they would be able to deliver their services. A couple of charities, one that provided services for people with ear and hearing conditions – BTA, and one that supported victims of domestic abuse – Cyfannol, normally offered in-person support and provided a safe space for individuals to meet. The lockdowns meant they could no longer do this in person.

The Interchange Point

The charities hoped to continue to provide support by moving online but were unsure how to do so in a safe way. We advised them to include their service users in community calls to contribute ideas on how the services could develop. While teaching and mentoring the charities on how to run community calls, we provided a choice of ways to participate that would allow the service users to communicate in ways that suited them, and help them build their confidence in the process and format.

The Outcome

Over the course of four community calls, and with our facilitation support to structure the agenda and manage the calls, the charities exceeded their expectations for engagement on their community calls.

By being inclusive and using the processes we had shown them on how to cater to diverse needs, the charities felt confident that they could effectively move online and continue to deliver robust, secure, and effective services.

By moving online to maintain the charities’ services throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, these are additional impacts realised:

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