Charity Digital Skills Training Programme Launches With Support From Google Digital Garage

Posted 26 June 2018

On Thursday 21 June, Google Academy in London opened its doors to over 100 charities for a one-day event to celebrate the launch of Media Trust’s brand new Digital Skills Training programme.

With support from Google Digital Garage, the programme will be hitting cities throughout the UK providing free digital skills masterclasses to over 1000 charity and community group attendees, as well as one-to-one expert advice sessions and access to online training resources.

Challenges within the charity sector

In a rapidly evolving digital world, the programme comes at a crucial time for charities according to Media Trust’s CEO, Su-Mei Thompson. Opening Thursday’s event, Su-Mei drew on recent statistics highlighted in both Media Trust’s own research and the 2018 Charity Digital Skills report: “Charities need to enhance their digital capabilities or risk getting left behind.”

“Over 45% of charities don’t have a digital strategy, despite 73% believing that strengthening their digital skills would help their organisation grow. For over 50% of charities, funding constraints are the biggest barrier to getting more digitally savvy.”

Media Trust CEO, Su-Mei Thompson introduces the programme to room of 100 attendees

Media Trust CEO, Su-Mei Thompson introduces the programme to attendees

She continued: “At Media Trust we know first-hand how under-resourced most non-profits are when it comes to marketing budget and communications expertise and how hard it is for staff members to commit to attending training and development programmes. We’re also hugely aware of the geographic divide, which sees training and resources concentrated in, and most readily accessible to charities based in London and the South East. Media Trust’s new programme, with support from Google Digital Garage, has been designed to address a lot of these challenges.”

Also speaking at the event was Google UK Senior Director, Graham Bednash who affirmed Google’s commitment to ensuring charities have the skills to make the most of the opportunities the web has to offer: “We’re delighted to support this new Media Trust programme and bring our experience in delivering free skills training to help ensure charities have access to the digital expertise they need to do their essential work.”

There were so many opportunities to ask questions and share experiences in today's training

Nicola Osmond-Evans, Media Manager, ZSL London Zoo


The charities attending were given a taster of what’s in store when the programme begins in September 2018, with masterclasses in digital marketing strategy and social media led by Gori Yahaya, Head of Training at Google Digital Garage.


Google Digital Garage Head of Training, Gori talks delegates through a slide about Instagram

Google Digital Garage Head of Training, Gori Yahaya made sure no question was left unanswered during masterclass sessions

With so many charities in the room, the masterclass sessions also provided a chance for attendees to come together and discuss the shared challenges the sector faces when it comes to digital communications. Nicola Osmond-Evans, a Media Manager from ZSL London Zoo said: “There were so many opportunities to ask questions and share experiences in today’s training.” She continued: “It was great to meet and hear from other charities who have similar challenges to us.”

My advice to charities today has been to keep it simple

Lara Burns, Chief Digital and Technology Officer, Age UK

Surgery sessions with Google experts and digital pros

After the masterclasses it was time for the charities to join an army of Google’s experts for one-to-one surgery sessions. Attendees were able to ask questions on all things digital, from content marketing to the specifics of Google Analytics. Also on hand to offer advice were three digital influencers: Podcaster and author of Amazon No.1 Best Seller, The Multi-Hyphen Method, Emma Gannon; Digital Communications Consultant and Trustee of the Small Charities Coalition, Kirsty Marrins, and Chief Digital and Technology Officer at Age UK, Lara Burns.

Lara said: “With digital strategy you can get overwhelmed by where to start. My advice to charities today has been to keep it simple, try to focus on only one or two things and have the confidence to give something a try.”

Emma Gannon sits with a group attendees sharing her tips on content creation during the surgery session

Emma Gannon shared her tips on content creation during the surgery session

For the attendees, the chance to get personalised advice was invaluable. Sam Hawksley from Lewisham Local said: “It has been incredible to get advice from Google’s experts on our organisation’s social media. My biggest takeaway from today’s training is to broadcast less on social media and to engage more.”

Want to attend a digital skills masterclass in your area?

Local masterclasses will run from September 2018 until June 2019 and are free for charities and community groups to attend. Dates will be announced soon on the Media Trust website, where you will be able to book your place. Sign up to receive Media Trust’s charity news and updates to be one of the first to hear when masterclass dates become available.

Read more news ...

Recognition for Headlining Mental Health Charities


Media Trust’s Headlining Mental Health team was out in force last month at the This Can Happen Conference and Awards.  With two charities from the Headlining Mental Health programme and numerous Media Trust partners shortlisted,...

Posted 11 July 2022

A large group of people posing with trophies at the This Can Happen Awards.