Creating the strategy and culture to enable a quick and successful response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Case Study: All We Can

International development and relief organisation All We Can used the Code as a 'coaching manual' to embed digital across the organisation.

The result was that when the COVID-19 pandemic transformed the way we work and live, All We Can were ready to adapt.

Digital and Data Manager at All We Can, Dean Gillespie tells how he created that culture change, and the amazing results:

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"By embedding a 'people-first' approach, there's been a significant increase in engagement and online audience growth. Over the last year, we have grown new followers by 242% and increased engagement by 114%."

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Dean Gillespie

Digital and Data Manager at All We Can and Code Champion

The Challenge

"When I began my role as Digital and Data Manager at All We Can the big question I had was: How do I create a new culture and strategy which is purposeful and makes a difference?

For me, digital is all about people. I was inspired by my grandmother who had worked at Bletchley Park, and how the beginnings of technology there saved lives, including those of my grandfather who fought in the war. 

Digital is not an abstract specialism. It’s about collaboration and about transforming society for the better."

The Solution

"I was working late one night at work and reading through the Code. It had an inspiring, radical and positive framing of what digital was and how it can transform organisations. The Code instilled in me that I couldn’t do digital alone. How can I bring a diverse group of team players together? 

I realised that digital is like football. It is a team sport and done right is a unifying force across the organisation. Like the football, digital needs to be passed between teams. We developed a strategy, embedding the Code, based on bringing teams together with the aim of transforming people’s lives across the world. 

The Charity Digital Code of Practice is also a valuable coaching manual for digital leaders. It recognises the true value of the digital leader to train, upskill and provide digital leadership. And it is about ‘practice’ too - it encourages leaders to keep working at it and trying new things."

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Adapting during the COVID-19 pandemic

"We are now using digital across the organisation, for example through new online finance and HR systems as well as with our international programmes, having developed a new Partnership Information Management System which consolidates 20 years of partnership data.

My role became very much about leading teams through change, and I also ran sessions to help people with tech problems, digital communications and aspects of agile. We now work in a much more cross functional way, because of the Code! 

Under lockdown, we imbued one of the core elements of the Code, i.e. being people first, and adapting to change. For example, we offered online support to our supporters, we produced more online resources such as home-schooling resources, and formed new partnerships for large virtual events with musicians, artists, choirs and many more.

We created online broadcasts for our supporters on social media, regularly viewed by thousands of people.

These digital initiatives were so successful in terms of reach and views, we were able to fundraise from our online community using a simple proposition: Pray, give and save lives. That was really successful."

The Results

"We have witnessed a record amount of online income and seen the fastest growth in the acquisition of new regular givers in our organisation’s history thanks to digital innovation such as large virtual events.

By embedding a ‘people-first’ approach, there has been a significant increase in engagement and online audience growth – over the last year, we have grown new followers by 242% and increased engagement by 114%.

We have also strengthened our relationship with supporters and partners through demonstrating impact and reached new online audiences. The results have also led to new partnerships. 

The Code helped us develop the right strategy and create the right culture and it is adaptable to all sizes of charities. The Code has been so successful for us - we would encourage others to use it too!"

- Dean Gillespie, Digital and Data Manager, All We Can


The Code in 7 Weeks

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“Like any organisation, charities can learn a lot about what they do, who they serve and the impact they have, by drawing on their data."


Giselle Cory

Executive Director, DataKind UK and Code Champion

“It’s no longer good enough as a Chief Executive to say:
‘I don’t do digital’.”


James Blake

CEO, YHA (England and Wales) and Code Champion