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Digital attitudes & skills for heritage survey opens for 2021

The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Digital Attitudes and Skills for Heritage (Dash) survey opened this week to help UK heritage organisations better understand their digital environment. 

This is the second year of the survey, which will map how digital attitudes and skills have changed during another year of lockdowns and disruption to the UK heritage sector.

The survey represents the only comprehensive measure of how the sector makes use of digital, enabling heritage leaders to gain insight and support staff, trustees and volunteers.

Identify opportunities to improve

Taking part in Dash allows organisations to gather and respond to feedback from their people and identify opportunities to improve.

“Last year’s survey provided vital sector intelligence, enabling the National Lottery Heritage Fund to respond effectively through its wider Digital Skills for Heritage initiative to the very real needs of a sector as it responded to lockdown,” Josie Fraser, Head of Digital Policy at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said.

“As a result, we are currently supporting projects that establish digital volunteering roles and make better use of digital to connect more of the public to heritage. Digital has become a significant part of everyday life, and its many benefits have been well demonstrated by heritage organisations over the last 18 months. This year’s results will be vital for all organisations who support and work with the sector – and for the sector to continue to build on how it makes great use of digital.”

Last year 4,120 staff, trustees and volunteers working across the UK completed the National Lottery Heritage Fund Dash survey.

Findings from last year include:

  • Only 53% of staff said they felt able and confident about using social media to promote events.
  • 46% of volunteers say that they never discuss their digital skills with others.
  • Only one in six heritage sector staff get the chance to share their digital practice with others.
  • Staff want time to practise digital skills, mentoring from experienced colleagues and the opportunity to swap skills and collaborate with others.

Completing the survey allows organisations to:

  • highlight the strengths and gaps in digital skills
  • get the whole organisation talking about how it uses digital
  • help identify where to focus training or funding efforts
  • provide a boost to the whole organisations’ digital development

The seven steps of the Dash Survey process:

Step 1

One person from each organisation working across heritage – ideally the digital lead – signs up to the survey on behalf of their organisation.

The sign-up page also enables organisations to describe their digital support needs over the next three years. Organisations that have want to volunteer to share their own digital expertise and practice can also let us know via the form. This information will be triaged across the Digital Skills for Heritage projects.

Step 2

The lead contact is sent a bespoke web link, via email, from the Dash support team. It takes up to one week from submitting your sign-up form to receiving your email.

The web link is only for people in their organisation to use (do not share with others outside of your organisation). This link allows an organisation to collect data only from their people.

Step 3

The lead contact shares their organisation’s bespoke web link of the survey – ideally by email or text – to their organisation’s staff and volunteers, ensuring that everyone knows DASH is:

  • Voluntary to complete
  • Completely anonymous (it asks for age category, gender and broad job role area, but no personal details)
  • Can be completed easily on a smartphone, tablet or computer

The Fund recommends sending it to as many people as possible to collect data that represents a broad and balanced view of digital skills and attitudes.

Step 4

Staff and volunteers in an organisation complete the Dash survey. Surveys will close at midnight on Sunday 7 November 2021.

Step 5

Once an organisation has collected 10+ responses the lead contact will also be given access to a live data dashboard which allows them to view their organisation’s summary data as it comes in. This will not include answers to free text questions; these are shared at the end of the project.

Step 6

Once surveys close, the Dash Champion of each organisation will be emailed a file containing all of the data collected from their people, including all free text questions. It will take up to two weeks for the Dash team to send these emails.

Organisations can use their data for strategic planning, tracking annual trends, and benchmarking with the national dataset. The Fund will provide them with a ‘How to use your data’ document.

Step 7

The Fund will analyse all data collected and use the information provided to summarise digital attitudes and skills across the heritage sector, identify gaps, and highlight great practice. The Fund will share a sector wide report on the findings in December 2021.

About the author – Adrian Murphy

Adrian is the Editor of MuseumNext and has 20 years’ experience as a journalist, half of which has been writing for the cultural sector.

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