Apr 16, 2020
In episode 74, we talk to Cassie Robinson, Senior Head of the UK
Portfolio at the National Lottery Community Fund, and a prominent
writer and thinker about the intersection of tech, civil society
and philanthropy. I a wide-ranging conversation against the
backdrop of the covid-19 pandemic, we discussed:
- How is the Covid 19 pandemic affecting National Lottery
Community Fund and the organisations it works with?
- What has happened so far that should give us hope?
- Will the short-term, enforced digital transformation that many
civil society organisations (CSOs) are undergoing right now result
in longer term changes within the sector? And what support may be
required for that to happen?
- What new challenges and unintended consequences might arise as
a huge number of CSOs become reliant on platforms and digital
- What role will civil society need to pay in ensuring that
short-term policy changes re data and technology that are driven by
the need to respond to the covid-19 pandemic do not result in
longer-term human rights and civil liberties issues?
- Will funders and CSOs become more aware of/focussed on tech
issues as a result of this period of enforced digitisation?
- Is civil society engagement on tech issues too
narrowly-focussed on human rights and international
- What more needs to be done to engage wider civil society in
- We are seeing more focus on the idea of decentralised or
non-hierarchical governance models for social change movements - do
you think this will filter into wider civil society? What
opportunities and challenges might this bring?
- Do charities and civil society organisations need to make a
case for the continuing value of centralised or hierarchical
structure in some cases? (I.e. can we “make infrastructure cool
again” - if it ever was…?)
- What support can traditional funders give to networks and
- Is the renewed focus on locality and place during the pandemic
going to lead to longer-term shift towards
- Does the nature of the current pandemic crisis mean that we are
seeing more focus on mutuality and collectivism rather than charity
and philanthropy, and will this affect anything longer term?
- Will we see more funders and CSOs thinking in terms of
collaboration and systems, rather than individual action, as we
move into a post-covid future?
- Will philanthropy’s prominent role so far in the response to
the covid-19 crisis lead to less criticism in the future? Or