We believe in doing well by doing good, and we’ve been using our skills to help charities and social causes transform their communications and marketing since we set up in 2000.

Firms should put something back into society and, since 2000, we’ve been donating a minute of consultancy support to social causes for every hour of client work, totaling around £1m since our social responsibility awards began. We’ve used our skills to help health charities, educational trusts, policy think-tanks, and lawmakers create a better world. Here, you’ll find a few of the organisations we’ve helped, and details of how to apply for awards for your own organisation.

Using our skills in digital strategy, marketing strategy and transformation to make the world a better place
Highlights of Digital’s Social Responsibility programme include:

  • Ideation workshops for World Wildlife Fund (Geneva, Switzerland)
  • Leading effective UK self-regulation of marketing as Commissioners for Digital & Direct marketing self regulation at the Direct Marketing Commission (5 years)
  • Development and management of The English Place; not-for-profit for raising English language proficiency in East Africa
  • Strengthening marketing education by authoring degree and post graduate courses in digital marketing and chairing the Institute of Direct Marketing’s examinations board (10 years)
  • Helping create the first intranet support at the University Teaching Hospital (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)
  • Supporting Policy think-tanks such as Demos
  • Chairing the pan-European advertising fraud taskforce for the IAB (3 years)
  • Ministerial advice as special advisors to the Home Secretary, DCMS and industry departments
  • Helping the European Commission as special advisors for creating effective data protection regulations
  • Leading the UK’s digital marketing standards task force for the IAB trade association (5 years)
  • Strengthening knowledge and insights for the Advertising Standards Authority to ensure effective consumer protection from false advertising in digital channels – our directors helped in the writing of the first code of advertising practice and sales promotion for the UK industry

Creating strong social impact

Creating the right strategy for success

Strengthening the effectiveness of communications

2020: submissions open for the £50,000 Digital Partnership award

Everyone likes Christmas cards, Easter Eggs and Thanksgiving gifts, but at Digital we believe our friends would rather we did something more valuable with the money and time we’d be spending on seasonal goodies. Our skills are in marketing strategy, digital strategy and leadership coaching, so we give an award to charities, social causes, and not-for-profits benefit from our support. We particularly focus on those who:

  • Use the internet in education as a game-changer for their causes
  • Aim to protect consumers who need help navigating the digital landscape
  • Create the next generation of talent

For application details, simply email with details of how you think we could help you. The awards team will then be in touch and talk you through the process. This year, we’re looking for examples of how small digital budgets can have a massive impact on communications, especially within global charities or government policy groups where strategic input from us on their content or communication plans can be amplified to improve the lives of millions.

2019: ROSL – global arts charity

The Royal League is one of the longest standing UK-based arts charities and we’re helping strengthen their digital communications to amplify the news about their work.

2018-19: International trade campaign support

Programmes to help lawmakers strengthen the role of the UK in international trade and development by strengthening communications and the use of social media.

2017-18: start-up mentoring – continued support to the next generation of digital talent (the Collider accelerator)

We continued our support of these start-ups, helping nurture the next generation of digital talent through the Collider accelerator. This was focused on the marketing and advertising sector where we shared our insights and skills. Collider continue to do outstanding work in nurturing start-ups with transformative ideas for improving the effectiveness of marketing communications.

2017-18: support to strengthen education and debate

We believe the web is a massive force for good and a driver to change and improve society. This has been part of our belief since we set up back in 2000. Sadly, 2016 and 2017 saw a new trend in fake news and social divisiveness in the UK, the USA and many of the more mature digital markets.

Against that backdrop, our team considered where they could support and help the quality of public debate. Democracies rely on strong access to impartial information, and effective mechanisms for leaders to be able to communicate through the media, which has come to mean social media. We set up a fund of €80k for advanced coaching on social media for lawmakers here in the UK. These sessions helped lawmakers learn more about what the landscape can offer and how to engage effectively.

2016: SystemIQ

As the demands of the modern world outstrip resources available, society needs to find new solutions. This means thinking differently around the systems used by all of us and finding some new approaches.

From corporations to capital, cities to care management, we need to develop new systems for funding, management and growth that will befit future generations. This is arguably the biggest of all recent challenges, and we selected SystemIQ to benefit from our support. This fusion of think-tank and funding operation understands how vital systems operate in ways that are uneconomic and unsustainable. Their leaders know how system failures create costs in the trillions and weaken the economy, environment and society.

They are a new kind of enterprise designed specifically to tackle system failures by mobilising talent and capital to cultivate, incubate and scale solutions that accelerate system change and deliver improved economic, environmental and social value.

2016: support to help start-ups and the next generation of digital talent, the Collider accelerator

Developing the talent of the digital industry is key for maintaining the breathtaking innovation of the last 20 years since the web started to go commercial.

We continued our support of start-ups, helping nurture the next generation of digital talent through the Collider accelerator. This is focused on the marketing and advertising sector where we can share our insights and skills. Collider continue to do outstanding work in nurturing start-ups with transformative ideas for improving the effectiveness of marketing communications.

Their team fuse ambitious founders with progressive brands and specialist investors. They inject smart capital, expert coaching and forge commercial connections. Through productive collaboration, they foster the fastest route to product-market fit, follow-on funding, competitive edge and revenue.

Their work fits with our core values, and the belief that digital will continue to be disruptive on today’s business models. And we wish the best of success to all the latest Collider cohort.

2016: Advertising Standards Authority

We've pledged to help develop the knowledge and skills of the ASA team, the leaders for ensuring commercial content on the web is legal and truthful. The UK is the world leader in effective co-regulation, maintaining the freedom to work commercially with the operational needs of business. In the advertising sector, the ASA created and owned this approach. Their work has been copied by dozens of countries and, as they embrace more and more digital advertising channels, their teams had the opportunity to dive deeper into what they are and how they work. We were proud to be a partner on that journey.

Find out more at www.asa.org.uk

2015: £60,000 award to the UK regulator for online and direct marketing, the Direct Marketing Commission (DMC)

We continued our annual sponsorship support of the UK’s self-regulatory framework to create better digital marketing regulation, protect consumers, and ensure industry is following best practice. The DMC is the main self-regulatory body in the UK and our CEO continued to be the Commissioner specialising in digital channels. This was a £60,000 consultancy and services award.

The new code of principles we created this year: www.dmcommission.com/the-dma-code

Personal data is at the heart of direct marketing and the web has unlocked new types of personal data, gathered in new ways and used for new purposes. The projects we have run for the DMC include coaching workshops, research, marketing strategy advice and marketing tracking tools. It’s a privilege to support by the Direct Marketing Association, and the DMC. Their work is to champion industry codes, protect consumers, and ensure best practice is followed.

2015: £60,000 award to help start-ups and the next generation of digital talent, the Collider accelerator

We restarted our support of start-ups, helping nurture the next generation of digital talent. Collider is a start-up accelerator focused on the marketing and advertising space, finding start-ups with transformative ideas for improving the effectiveness of marketing communications. They nurture start-ups who help brands and agencies identify, understand, engage with and sell to their consumers. They invest capital in these start-ups, coach them through a highly structured programme and connect them to potential corporate customers and investors. The aim of the game is to help these start-ups become sustainable, rapidly growing businesses. The thing that defines them is the laser focus on the sweet spot between start-ups and brands, and the action-orientated outputs. This means they invest specifically in technology start-ups that are building disruptive platforms, products and services that enable brands to better engage, understand and sell to their consumers.

They fuse ambitious founders with progressive brands and specialist investors. They inject smart capital and expert coaching, and forge commercial connections. Through productive collaboration, they foster the fastest route to product-market fit, follow-on funding, competitive edge and revenue. Their work fits with our core values, and the belief that digital will continue to be disruptive on business models.

Find out more at www.collider.io

2015: helping support Collectively

Collectively is an inspiring force for change. Through working together they uncovered, shared and scaled-up exciting ideas for a future we all want to live in. They focus on ideas that make our lives better today and the world better tomorrow: from lifestyle tweaks to game-changing interventions at planetary scale. They share ideas and celebrate people who are doing amazing things that help society and the environment thrive. They help those stories and ideas spread and take hold; and we helped them strengthen their publishing strategy. From entrepreneurs to academics, designers to campaigners, from the world’s biggest brands to the smallest start-ups, every day the most creative minds in the world are thinking, designing, testing, building and launching awe-inspiring new solutions to help people thrive – re-imagining food, fashion, travel, and more. This young content start-up celebrated these, and we’re delighted to have helped them on their journey.

2013 and 2014: UK regulator for online and direct marketing, the Direct Marketing Commission (DMC)

Digital marketing is in the mainstream of marcoms and direct marketing is increasingly at the heart of digital. That’s why, when the DMC approached us, our CEO was delighted to continue the role of being one of the inaugural commissioners for the regulation of this sector. Supported by the Direct Marketing Association, the DMC’s work is to champion industry codes and ensure best practice is followed.
Personal data is at the heart of direct marketing and the web has unlocked new types of personal data, gathered in new ways and used for new purposes. The projects we have run for the DMC include coaching workshops, research, marketing strategy advice and marketing tracking tools.

This was a £60,000 consultancy and services award each year.

Find out more at www.dmcommission.com

2012: UK regulator for online and direct marketing, the Direct Marketing Commission (DMC)

Digital marketing is in the mainstream of marcoms and direct marketing is increasingly at the heart of digital. That’s why, when the DMC approached us, our CEO was delighted to continue the role of being one of the inaugural commissioners for the regulation of this sector. Supported by the Direct Marketing Association, the DMC’s work is to champion industry codes and ensure best practice is followed.

Personal data is at the heart of direct marketing and the web has unlocked new types of personal data, gathered in new ways and used for new purposes. The projects we have run for the DMC include coaching workshops, research, marketing strategy advice and marketing tracking tools.

This was a £30,000 consultancy and services award each year.

Find out more at www.dmcommission.com

2011: Blind Veterans UK charity for servicemen and women

Digital communication is a key way for charities to maintain their profile, communicate with stakeholders and raise awareness of their work. Blind Veterans UK is a long established cornerstone in providing care for blind and visually impaired ex-service men and women from the armed forces here in the UK, and Digital Strategy’s team were delighted to donate advice about how they can improve the effectiveness of their operations by using digital communication channels more strategically.

Find out more at www.blindveterans.org.uk

2011: sustainability and recycling

We’re passionate about recycling and reducing the environmental impact of businesses. This is one of the guiding principles in our digital strategy and training programmes. Since 2000, we’ve been showing media companies and big brands how to switch their communications from publishers, posters and direct mail, into digital media.

With thousands of newspapers, book publishers and magazine titles touched by our training and strategy projects, this means billions fewer square meters of paper. In our training we aim for 50% of material to be digitally delivered, though create printed study guides because of their effectiveness as a training tool, so we print on recycled materials and have recycled more than 97% of office waste for over 15 years.

Environmental charities we’ve supported include Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), donating consultancy time to the latter to advise the global team in Switzerland on the improvement of their own communications. For more information on our environmental policies, contact your project leads here at digital.

2011: charity donations

During this year, the three charities receiving cash donations from us were Oxfam for our old furniture and equipment, the Alzheimer’s Society (as our UK charity) and Medecins Sans Frontiers as our international charity.

2010: helping the Science Museum and other leading British museums

This year, the Science Museum and the National Railway Museum were among the many museum charities benefiting from the special £15k charity awards from the Digital Training Academy.

It’s part of our annual pledge to donate consultancy time to causes where digital strategy development can prove game-changing. The Science Museum has been a world class seat of learning and knowledge, and we were delighted to play a small role in helping their teams step forward in building a digital strategy to inspire a new generation of online learners, the way the that the physical museums inspired many of our teams as children.

2010: Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI)

The RNLI is the charity behind the brave men and women who go out into the worst weather around the British Isles to rescue people in difficulty. They won the Christmas award from Digital Strategy because this year’s big freeze was sure to make their tasks even harder. Our goal was to help raise the profile and awareness of their work, building stronger cut-through through digital media.

This was a £10,000 consultancy award.

Find out more at www.rnli.org.uk

2009: UK Government’s Information Commissioner’s Office Office (ICO)

Creating the right regulatory framework for online marketing and data protection is key to a healthy society as well as a healthy economy. Personal data will be the battleground for crime, justice and social cohesion, and for people and companies not up to speed with the issues, it could be uncomfortable and costly. That’s why we donated some of our time to helping the ICO’s team work on drafting a new code for the use of personal data and why we spent time and energy campaigning to raise the importance of these issues in government’s messaging. Our work included acting as readers for proposed documentation, giving guidance the way we have to ministers and departments as policy advisors in the past, and building up the right set of tools and messages for explaining these issues to industry. 

This was a £10,000 consultancy award.

Find out more at ico.org.uk

2009: UK regulator for online and direct marketing, the Direct Marketing Commission (DMC)

Digital marketing is in the mainstream of marcoms and direct marketing is increasingly at the heart of digital. That’s why, when the DMC approached us, our CEO was delighted to accept the role of being one of the inaugural commissioners for the regulation of this sector. Supported by the Direct Marketing Association, the DMC’s work is to champion industry codes and ensure best practice is followed.

Personal data is at the heart of direct marketing and the web has unlocked new types of personal data, gathered in new ways and used for new purposes. The projects we have run for the DMC include coaching workshops, research, marketing strategy advice and marketing tracking tools.

This was a £20,000 consultancy and services award.

Find out more at www.dmcommission.com

2008: UK Government Cabinet Office CSR Digital Partnership Award for National Health Service (NHS)

Connecting consumers to the right medical services is an area the internet can play a fundamental role in. That’s why Digital’s team were delighted when the UK government’s Cabinet Office approached us about helping citizens get more value from their public healthcare provider in the UK, and increase the take-up for volunteering in medical related support charities. We wanted to help the National Health Service get more value from their massive network of websites. By forming new connections we could see ways they could connect people more effectively to both medical services and supporting charities. A summary of our strategy was included in the final policy recommendations presented by the Minister.

2007: Marie Stopes international (SMI) - digital strategy development & training

Marie Stopes International is a not-for-profit sexual and reproductive health (SRH) organisation that delivers state-of-the-art programmes in: family planning; safe abortion and care; maternal & child health; and HIV/AIDS reduction and the prevention of STIs. 

From our work in the Horn of Africa in 2000-2001, we’d understood the link between population control and effective economic and agricultural development. MSI has been at the heart of this area for over 30 years and with the deep damage HIV/AIDS is inflicting on entire nations, issues of sexual and reproductive health have never been more important. Our role was to strengthen the knowledge and skills of their teams, and to help build a strong digital communications programme that moves their websites to the heart of their communications mix. We developed audience segmentation strategies, introduced the power of blogging, the development of news and content strategies, developed new CRM approaches, and applies search thinking to content marketing. This was all driven by the marketing funnel, with the goals of increasing MSI donations and government contract income.

These maps show the locations of some of their programmes in Ethiopia.

2006: Medecins Sans Frontieres becomes Digital's charity

We have helped MSF since we came across them while supporting healthcare and educational projects in Ethiopia in 2000. We helped on the first healthcare intranet in Addis Ababa (for the country's only teaching hospital) before our team began building digitally networked teaching resources to help improve university teacher training (key in overcoming development and healthcare challenges).
The courage of the MSF doctors and fieldworkers was as inspiring as the needs they work to fill are daunting. 

MSF in Africa

In Ethiopia health care remains almost non-existent, and across the country MSF helps treat people with malaria, kala azar, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. Their projects bring TB treatment to nomads and, in the South, their mobile clinics bring medical care and food to tens of thousands of people. Read more in the annual review.

2000-2001 The English Place, East Africa

Improving the standards of English in universities by helping strengthen access to teaching resources. English is the medium of instruction in a country with more than 270 languages, and with healthcare, farming and social information published in English, stronger language skills amplify the impact of all development work. We led this NGO’s programme, working with governments and aid agencies internationally and locally in Ethiopia.

2019:test ROSL – global arts charity

The Royal League is one of the longest standing UK-based arts charities and we’re helping strengthen their digital communications to amplify the news about their work.

2016:test SystemIQ

As the demands of the modern world outstrip resources available, society needs to find new solutions. This means thinking differently around the systems used by all of us and finding some new approaches.
From corporations to capital, cities to care management, we need to develop new systems for funding, management and growth that will befit future generations. This is arguably the biggest of all recent challenges, and we selected SystemIQ to benefit from our support. This fusion of think-tank and funding operation understands how vital systems operate in ways that are uneconomic and unsustainable. Their leaders know how system failures create costs in the trillions and weaken the economy, environment and society.
They are a new kind of enterprise designed specifically to tackle system failures by mobilising talent and capital to cultivate, incubate and scale solutions that accelerate system change and deliver improved economic, environmental and social value.