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13% of charities showed almost no digital activity in 2019

13% of charities showed almost no digital activity in 2019

Lloyds Bank’s latest Charity Index has revealed that 13% of charities (26,000) have shown almost no activity this year: a 10,000 increase on 2018. 12% of charities also say they do not attribute any benefits to being online.

However, compared to 2018 there are also 24,000 additional charities who are almost digital by default, and overall charities are reporting more benefits to being online.

These include:

  • Simplified process of taking donations (54%)
  • Increased interaction and feedback with donors or supporters (51%)
  • Attracting more donors or supporters (51%)
  • Increased sales or donations (35%)

One-third of all charities with high digital capability saw an increase in turnover in the last two years compared to only one in five (19%) with low digital capability.

While more charities are taking donations online however, 40% of charities still lack the digital skills required to set up the ability to do so.

The report also shows mobile app and browser use has remained low, with 19% of charities using mobile banking 
but only 11% logging in three or more times a year, and only 37% set up to take digital payments.

The biggest barriers to doing more online include 45% of organisations having leaders that don’t think digital is relevant, staff lacking digital skills in 42% of organisations, and 39% not seeing it as being worth the investment. 37% of charities also do not understand which technologies they should invest in to drive their organisation forward.

This is the sixth annual edition of Lloyds Bank’s Charity Digital Index, which uses the behavioural and transactional data of charities to build a view of digital capability in the UK. This year it also includes the first measure of UK Essential Digital Skills, which has evolved from its predecessor the Basic Digital Skills framework to fully reflect the range of skills organisations need to safely benefit from the digital world both today and in the future.

It shows that in total, 111,000 charities (56%) have full Essential Digital Skills needed to operate in 2019, with the digital tasks charities are most likely to be able to do being: digitally communicating with customers and suppliers (91%), keeping software up to date (81%) and responding to customer queries (80%).

Charities with the full Essential Digital Skills are also 1.5 times more likely than those without to have had an increase in revenue, resulting in more resources for people and potential benefit for end users.

Ed Siegel, Chief Executive, Charity Bank comments on Lloyds Bank’s UK Business and Charity Digital Index:

“In an increasingly digital world, it’s great to see that more and more charities recognise the importance of technology and are harnessing the benefits it provides. However, while uptake is on the increase, there are still 26,000 (13%) charities that have shown almost no digital activity in 2019 and risk falling behind the curve as a result. 

“Investing in technology drives efficiencies throughout any business, can open up new streams of income generation and protect organisations from the risk of cyber attacks; according to official data one in five charities have experienced a cyber breach in the last year. However, it’s also really important to invest in the workforce’s digital skills to ensure it is being used as effectively as possible, to maximise the benefits in the years to come.  

“While investing in technology may feel like a series of large upfront costs, charities should feel reassured that there is help at hand and lenders like Charity Bank are supporting organisations looking to improve their processes and systems so they can deliver a bigger impact to the communities and areas in which they operate.”

The full report including calls to action created in partnership with Zoe Amar, Director at Zoe Amar Digital and Chair of The Charity Digital Code of Practice, can be downloaded from the Lloyds Bank site.


Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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