50 per cent of charities do not see digital as a priority, finds poll

23 Mar 2017 News

Half of charities surveyed are not prioritising digital because other pressures are seen as a “higher priority”, according to the results of a survey published today. 

The Charity Digital Skills Report was published today by the Skills Platform and Zoe Amar Communications. It warns that charities continue to struggle to adopt digital technology and identifies a number of barriers. 

Some 485 professionals from charities of all sizes responded to a survey. Just 9 per cent said they had fully embedded a digital way of working across their organisation.

Respondents said the main barriers to using digital technology were a lack of skills, 57 per cent, and lack of funding, 52 percent. 

Half of respondents also said that their charity is “facing other challenges and they are seen as a higher priority than digital”.  

Other barriers cited by those polled included the need for culture to change (43 per cent) a lack of confidence (35 per cent) and lack of leadership (28 per cent).

‘Further behind than we expected’ 

Half of charities said they did not have did not have a digital strategy, and 35 per cent said they were using digital, but did not have a strategic approach. 

Dan Evans, product marketing manager at the Skills Platform and co-author of the report, said that the results demonstrated that charities are “much further behind in digital transformation that we would have predicted”. 

Martha Lane Fox, executive director of Doteveryone, wrote in the foreword that while the “findings are worrying” there is “one positive: a clear opportunity for charities to take on digital transformation”. 

She added that transformation needed to be led from the top. 

“If boards and leadership teams don’t start owning the development of their digital skills, more than half of the charities who responded are concerned their organisations will become irrelevant, fall out of touch with their audience, and lose ground to competitors,” she said.

Report methodology

Between January and February 485 charities responded to a survey. 

A quarter of respondents had incomes of more than £10m, 12 per cent fell in the £5m to £10m income bracket, 28 per cent in the £500,001 to £5m bracket, and the rest had income below £500,000. 

Just over 40 per cent of respondents were based in London and 47 per cent said they worked in digital at their charity. 


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