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The digital infrastructure of the charity sector is extensive and many staff quite reasonably take it for granted as that is all they've known. But where did it come from, when digital was new? How did today's resources come into being? Who built them, funded them, developed them? Where is the history of this construction? As the sector faces an even more profound digital leap forward in the form of AI, are there lessons from the early days of digital infrastructure specifically for charities that we can learn from? Howard Lake shares his experiences with creating UK Fundraising in the 1990s and watching the charity sector's responses to the opportunities and challenges of digital channels. He presents a timeline of developments, covering websites, listservs, conferences, books, and resources, highlighting the self-help approach that kickstarted most resources, and the existing infrastructure bodies' and funders' responses. Join VAHS for a fascinating insight into the shift - or shifts - from an analogue charity world to an increasing digital one. And discuss whether developments 30 years ago can help the sector in its current situation.

Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. He founded UK Fundraising (, the news and community site for fundraisers, in 1994 and sold it in 2022. Before that he was a fundraiser at Oxfam, Afghanaid and Amnesty International UK. He has been Chair of judges for the National Fundraising Awards, co-founder of social enterprise jobs board GoodJobs, creator of Fundraising Camp, and author of the first book on digital fundraising (1995). He is now director of Giving X Ltd, which is exploring how we can grow giving on a massive scale to support all organisations. His MA in Information Science is coming in handy as he spends time exploring how AI can help support all fundraisers.

Sarah Hughes ( is a tech-for-good entrepreneur who focuses on growing philanthropy and social impact through collaboration. She worked in cross-border projects in the EU followed by a pioneering stint at the Charities Aid Foundation, designing some digital transformation firsts for the Third Sector, then onto consultancy and startups. Alongside her present role as Philanthropy Network Director at the Beacon Collaborative, she is an adviser with Apps for Good and Charizone, trustee of Project Lighthouse and co-founder of a therapeutic music app called Mishi (

All welcome- this session is free to attend, but booking in advance is required.