Media Trust boosts over 190 charities’ digital communications skills during Digital Summer School

Posted 17 September 2020

Over the course of three weeks in August, 193 charities joined Media Trust for our pilot Digital Summer School. The programme was run entirely online and combined training and digital mentoring focused on digital communications as charities come out of lockdown and move away from reactive communications to recalibrating their communications for the new normal.


Recognising how critical it was for charities to re-engage with stakeholders and re-ignite support for their cause and their work, Media Trust developed our Digital Summer School to provide over 25 hours of learning to help charities move into the Covid-19 recovery phase.

Each week, charities received two live-training sessions over Zoom with digital and charity experts from our media and charity partners. adam&eveDDB, BBH, Merkle EMEA, Nick Street of StreetFilms and Reason Digital’s Matt Haworth all delivered tailored training for our Summer School participants. The sessions included; Communicating what you stand for, Growing your audience with data, Creating cut-through digital video content, Content-planning and Digital fundraising.

Following the live training, trainers set the charities homework consisting of practical tasks designed to help programme participants start implementing their learning. Charities also accessed additional learning resources from Media Trust’s Resource Hub throughout the programme to delve deeper into the key topics of the week.

“The knowledge I've gained has helped me realise we could be using digital resources to much greater effect, and that even simple changes can make a big difference.

Elizabeth Lloyd-Owen from Carers Support Merton

Getting advice from digital experts

Every Thursday of the three-week programme, charities took part in digital mentoring where they had the chance to work in small groups with over 60 leading digital professionals who volunteered their time and shared their expertise. We’re so grateful to our volunteers who hailed from a huge range of media organisations and creative agencies including adam&eveDDB, BBH London,, Channel 4, Charity Finance Group, Elemental Communications, Facebook, Fintech, Merkle EMEA, Never Forget Marketing, Picaroons, Reason Digital, Snap Inc., The Lewis Foundation and Wavemaker UK.

Charities were grouped together based on their subject focus and size so the discussion was relevant to everyone in the group. Mentors used their knowledge and experience to help the charities with the comms challenges they are facing, offering practical solutions and suggestions that the charities could take away.

It was great to be part of the Digital Summer School. With the current climate, many charities have similar challenges, so hopefully all of the topics we covered have left everyone feeling inspired and empowered to overcome these hurdles!

James Berg, Content Strategist and Founder of Picaroons

Time to put learning into action

Many of the programme participants were from small charities with limited staff, resources and time. We heard over and over again from them about the challenge of getting on top of their digital communications going forward. One charity described the programme as “an eye opener to what the digital comms landscape looks like”.

Our post-programme survey revealed that 84% of attendees ‘strongly agreed’ or ‘agreed’ that Digital Summer School will help their organisation respond to Covid.

Charities also took the time to support one another by sharing resources, tips and ideas in the chat bar throughout the training, during their mentoring sessions and on their group LinkedIn page. One charity said, “It was great to bounce ideas off other organisations”.

Understanding the financial pressures charities are facing during this challenging time, Media Trust offered the programme at a highly subsidised rate and provided bursary spots for charities led by or supporting people of colour, which comprised almost 60% of the charities on the programme.

Thank you

We are very grateful to Lloyds Bank Foundation for sponsoring 40 small charities and Facebook for sponsoring 20 BAME led organisations to join Digital Summer School.

“A must-do course for every charity to successfully make the move online.”

A final thank you to all of the charities who took part in Digital Summer School. We’re looking forward to seeing how each organisation takes their learning forward.

To learn more about our Digital Summer School, please get in touch by emailing [email protected]. Given the success of the pilot, we hope to run something similar in the future.

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