The pandemic has served to accelerate some areas of charities’ digital development, with 60% now having a digital strategy in place, according to the latest Charity Digital Skills Report. Other areas however, have seen little progress.
Now in its fifth year, the Charity Digital Skills Report is an annual barometer of digital skills, attitudes and support needs across the sector. The report tracks how these have changed year on year and analyses how other key building blocks for digital change are progressing, including understanding user needs, leadership, strategy and governance.
This year, the survey has been redeveloped to ask new questions to uncover the trends in these areas as well as other topics, such as the future of work and what charities anticipate doing with digital as we come out of the pandemic.
The report shows that the pandemic has been a push for the sector to embrace digital with the aim of staying relevant, helping more people and developing new ways of working, fundraising and offering services. However, whilst there has been acceleration in some areas of charities’ digital development, there has been little progress in others.
- 60% of charities now have a digital strategy in place – up from last year’s 49%
- Over two thirds of charities (67%) now see digital as a prime concern for their organisation, with similar numbers planning investment in digital infrastructure
- The pandemic saw 83% of charities changing their services in response to demand, starting to offer online services
- Charities have been using digital to reach new people during the pandemic. Almost 8 out of 10 (78%) have deployed digital to speak to new audiences
- Digital inclusion has become an issue for the sector with 52% of charities worried about excluding some people or groups
- 32% of charities say IT is the biggest hurdle they face to achieving their digital plans
- Just under a third of charities (31%) say their staff are burned out from the demands of intense remote working
- More than half of charities (52%) would like their leadership team to provide a clear digital vision
- Funders need to up their game with digital funding. Almost half (47%) of charities want to include core digital costs in all funding applications
- Charities need guidance on understanding users with 44% thinking they are poor at user research to inform new services
The survey saw 365 charity professionals participate. Close to 90% of respondents were from registered charities and 49% were from organisations with turnover under £1 million. Over a third of responses (36%) came from CEOs or those in leadership teams, closely followed by those in digital roles (31%).
The full report can be downloaded here, and authors, Zoe Amar (Zoe Amar Digital), Laura Clough (Skills Platform) and Nissa Ramsay (Think Social Tech) are holding a webinar today, Wednesday 14 July 1-2pm to discuss the results and what can be learned from them.