Barcamp NFP Half-dayer, November 2016

Last month I was happy to be able to host Barcamp NFP at Diabetes UK’s new home, Wells Lawrence House in Whitechapel.

It was a half-day version of a free, volunteer-run event that I have been involved in since it launched about five years ago. It’s currently led by the ex-head of digital at BHF and Unicef UK, Laila Takeh.

It’s an ‘unconference’ – an event where you turn up with ideas and questions about your work or things you want to learn about, but with no pre-planned agenda. People volunteer to run sessions and the group then agrees which sessions they want to be part of and we build a schedule for the day.


I led a session on ways of using Agile in your work, not just for technical devt but also basing your work on user needs and taking an iterative approach. My colleague Amy ran a session on digital transformation and the great work she’s doing to help make digital more of a mainstream part of what we do. Including making the media wall in our new Town Hall space work smoothly! 🙂

I attended a useful session on defining and making sense of digital engagement metrics. The holy grail is coming up with something that is really useful and helps us to reach and connect more people, and get more support. We talked about ideas for a clearer, more consistent set of metrics, their relative value, how to compare your performance over time and with peers/competitors, and how best to report and act on what you see – all in a way that non-Digital and non-Marketing people can also appreciate. I took away lots of new ideas, and the reassuring feeling that we do a lot of good things already.

We had a wide-ranging session on sharing among charities. Part of the Barcamp ethos is that it’s open to charities big or small, as well as individual activists. We talked about examples of sharing knowledge, content, tech and other resources. I made the point that we put people first but that, when a person has multiple conditions or other needs, they’re often dealing with a separate organisation or service supporting each condition and it would help that person more if we could find a more integrated, shared approach. It also struck me that bigger charities like ours have often done (and, crucially, paid for) bits of work that could serve as a model or template for smaller charities, with little or no funds, to save them reinventing the wheel. And of course we can do things like provide our brilliant venue and hospitality to make sure events like Barcamp NFP continue to help us all to help more people.


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