Archive blog from July 2022

Looking back at the Deloitte Digital Connect programme: what went well; what didn't go so well; what people said - and what we learned.

Programme type: Multiformed digital support

Participants: Digital leads from 35 not-for-profit participant organisations 

Length: 19 weeks (26 Jan - 7 June 2022)

Partner: Deloitte UK


Increase 35 digital leads’ digital skills, knowledge and confidence.

“Thank you for the fantastic resources, wonderfully positive support, and the confidence to explore digital in a more creative way” - Kate Mackay, Earthworks St Albans

What we did

This programme was a new partnership with Deloitte UK. Together we supported 35 charity digital leads to learn and grow through a multiformed support offer. This offer helped them learn and apply new skills and practices to their own digital projects:

  • 1-1 mentoring and troubleshooting on their named project. Delivered by 35 Deloitte UK volunteer digital experts. 
  • Group training sessions: 19 workshops on digital and design practices delivered by Deloitte UK and CAST’s own experts and partners. This included a 6-week digital strategy course provided by Dot Project. Sessions averaged 13 participants. 
  • Support calls to every participant: 2-3 each from CAST facilitators.
  • Peer support sessions: 3 rounds to cohorts of 6-9 participants. Delivered by CAST facilitators.
  • Self-serve support: over 350 bespoke digital resources shared with digital leads

“The programme brought a world of digital experience to our own challenges and helped us think bigger, faster” - Ian Ayling, Soil Association

3 things that worked well

  1. The workshops helped participants build knowledge, understanding and confidence. Both interactive and non-interactive (webinar-style) workshops got positive feedback. We ran workshops on a wide range of topics and participants valued the opportunity to take part in sessions most relevant to their needs. The inclusive design run by Deloitte UK and digital inclusion workshops run by Good Things Foundations had the best feedback.

  2. We ran a short and intensive digital strategy course as a direct response to seeing people’s needs emerge and become clearer during the programme. The course consisted of 3 workshops and 3 rounds of mentoring over 6 weeks. The feedback was excellent.

  3. The 1-1 mentoring via Deloitte UK volunteers generated high value for approximately two-thirds of participants. In these cases where the match was good it generated needed learning and helped them apply it. This in turn removed blocks to progress in their projects, generating momentum for their work.

“The highlight of the programme was getting expert advice on digital topics. Just two meetings with real experts saved hours of research time and worry over whether we were interpreting legal documents correctly.” - Luke Bacigalupo, Parallel Histories

3 things that didn't go so well

“We tried lots of different support offers  so some of it may have been overwhelming at times. It’s been hugely helpful to get your feedback on what we can change going forward.” - Claire Burton, Director Responsible Business, Deloitte UK

  1. 10 participants didn’t get matched with a Deloitte UK volunteer. Many different needs emerged from the onboarding phase and we were unable to find a match for each topic. Volunteer capacity also proved a challenge. As a result some participants didn’t get the benefits that others got. We mitigated part of this by providing extra mentoring support on the digital strategy course. Some participants were hoping for this volunteer support though others needed the training support more and benefited that way.

  2. There was a lack of one-to-one support to participants at the start of the delivery phase (weeks 5-10) due to some delays with volunteer matching . More value would have been provided if some of the bespoke support had started earlier. It created a loss of momentum that for a few projects was difficult to recover.
  3. We didn’t provide quite the right type of pre-programme support to help participants define the challenge their project hoped to solve and the learning they needed. If we’d got this right everyone would have started the programme with a clear set of individualised needs.

What we learned

  1. There were no clear learning patterns between organisation size, digital maturity and participants’ journeys through the programme. Instead personality, appetite to engage and dedicated time to participate correlated more with successful journeys.
  2. Digital strategy support needs to come earlier on, even if organisations come with an existing strategy. This broad start could be a base to help participants narrow their focus into a specific project before they move on to more bespoke support.
  3. Participants will benefit even if they don’t use all the forms of support offered. So now we are asking ourselves ‘How might we simplify support interventions and their description so that participants choose the support that is right for them?’  This could be helping them choose to build confidence and skills through workshops or gain direct project support through 1-1s.

We’re also exploring how to carry on supporting a group of participants who want to keep learning. We’re already setting up a digital leaders network. But we want to think more about what happens at the end of a programme. What if there was a wider community and active support offer waiting for alumni after their programme ends?

“I loved being a part of this temporary community, where we shared our worries, wins and solutions. There's comfort in the solidarity of heavy workloads and the quest to be the best you can be for your organisation.” - Kim Creus, Vision Foundation

What people said

The programme has offered great reassurance that our digital journey is the correct one - the knowledge and experience shared has been extremely valuable in developing our own digital strategy. - Ian Hall, Papworth Trust

“This was such an enjoyable experience where I felt I was giving back to the community through sharing my expertise to help a charity to develop their use of data.” - Kathryn Choi, Deloitte UK Volunteer

Some participants also wrote about their experiences while they were having them. You can find these and other stories on the Deloitte Digital Connect Medium publication.

Publication highlights:




Watch the end of programme event recording.

And watch the programme highlights.


We curated a collection of resources especially for participants on this programme. You can use them too. They can help you develop your digital knowledge and run digital projects. View the programme’s core support resources.