A Digital Champion superhero cartoon. The DC is dressed as a typical superhero and carries a laptop with "How can I help?" on the screen and a smartphone with "Hi there!" on its screen.

Being a Digital Champion

A Digital Champion superhero cartoon. The DC is dressed as a typical superhero and carries a laptop with "How can I help?" on the screen and a smartphone with "Hi there!" on its screen.
Cartoon by Chris Andrew.

Digital Champions can be of all ages and backgrounds. You might be a Digital Champion as a volunteer, or as part of your job role.

You don’t have to be a technical whizz to be a Digital Champion. You do need to be patient, understanding and a great communicator.

What is a Digital Champion? Not necessarily a technical whizz. A staff member, volunteer or client. Someone willing to share knowledge/skills. Someone who understands the benefits of digital. Someone with ideas.

You’ll offer friendly and patient support to learners, so that they build their confidence, know how to find further help, and stay safe online.

A man stands, near two other men seated at a table with a laptop. They are all smiling.
Shelves of books and files are visible in the background.
Digital Champions help others to improve their digital skills and benefit from using the internet safely.

The importance of Digital Champions at all levels

We believe Digital Champions are central to achieving digital inclusion and helping people with what they need and want to do online. Having the right Digital Champions with the right training in the right place can support your communities in a variety of different ways.

We believe having a blend of types of digital support is the best way to achieve inclusion.

Digital Champions aren’t always called by that name. In your organisation they might be called Digital Friends, Digital Volunteers, Digital Leaders or Digital Helpers, or just “that person who’s good at helping with computers”!

More formally, we can categorise Digital Champions into four main types:

  • Digital Leaders: people in strategic positions who understand the vital role of digital inclusion in service transformation. These leaders are vital if you want lasting, systemic change to happen across an area or a service.
  • Professional Digital Champions: dedicated outreach workers who are recruited by an organisation, partnership, or directly by us at Citizens Online to work solely as a Digital Champion. This person can often be a “Super Champion” – the driving force of a project, training and inspiring others.
  • Embedded Digital Champions — people who work in a specific role, such as being a Job Centre Plus advisor, a Citizens Advice counsellor, or in HR or training, who integrate Digital Champion work into their role. They’re being a digital champion, helping colleagues and service users, all the time… it just isn’t in their job title.
  • Volunteer Digital Champions: people who are recruited and trained by an organisation or partnership to support digital inclusion work, but are unpaid. They may be helping out at a drop-in, internet cafe, church hall, or library. Even just an hour or two a week can make a life-changing difference to someone. Find out more about volunteering with Citizens Online.

It is worth bearing in mind that volunteers don’t come “for free” — management time is required to recruit, train and support them, and they may leave the project at any time.

Digital Champions are the essential elements of our approach to digital transformation – they get the work done on the ground and make a huge difference. Read our stories about the impact that Digital Champions have or contact us to find out more about how we can support a Digital Champions programme in your area or organisation.