Sky Badger tells us what it means to be a digital charity

Annika Howard
Mother and young children looking at a tablet computer

I spoke to Naomi from Sky Badger, one of our members, to find out more about how they run their service entirely over the web and their band of virtual volunteers.

Helplines rock. It’s quite that simple.

For Sky Badger, helplines are a vital part of making sure we can find bespoke and often desperate help for the thousands of families with disabled children we support in the UK.

This year alone, we’ve supported over 2,500 families through our helpline and email helpdesk alone!

So, who is Sky Badger?

We are a digital charity that finds families with disabled children the help they need. We find help financially, socially, legally and emotionally. We do this by building bridges between disabled children and the charities and services available to help through our website, helpdesk, social media platforms and the Sky Badger School Awards, a disability awareness programme for primary school children in the UK.

Sky Badger is now five years old, and since 2012, we have supported over one million families with disabled children. We like to think of ourselves as the ‘virtual mum at the school gate’. The mum that knows all the good stuff.

Sky Badger runs things a little differently though. Because all of our staff are either disabled or parents of disabled children, we need to work really flexibly as to when and where we work. With that in mind, we have built a totally online way of working. We have no offices, no photocopier and no coffee machine…even though we’d quite like a coffee machine! Everyone works remotely from their homes and we all keep in contact through our charity’s CMR (Customer Relationship Management) and social media platforms. Without being able to do this, most of us would not be able to work at all. IT makes things easy for us, in fact, engaging with new technologies, means that we can manage our helpdesk cases easily and be sure that all of our communications are totally confidential and secure.

Even our volunteers work remotely. We call them ‘pyjama volunteers’. One of the more difficult tasks we have is finding new support for families. New organisations spring up all the time and knowing that our younger volunteers (16-25) are Google kings and queens, we can use them to help us research new opportunities for disabled children and shout about them on our website.

All in all, Sky Badger is having quite an adventure. I would totally recommend all charities to set up a helpdesk or helpline. It’s the easiest way to really connect to the people we want to help."

Naomi Marek OBE, Chief Executive, Sky Badger

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