We’re delighted to partner with Skills Platform to reveal the results of this year’s Charity Digital Skills Report, the annual barometer which measures the progress of digital within the UK charity sector. The results show some improvements, but is the pace of change fast enough? Read the report.

We are extremely grateful to Tracey Crouch, Minister for Sports and Civil Society, and Margot James, Minister for Digital and Creative Industries, who have written the foreword to the report.

This year’s report reveals lack of funding is the number one barrier to digital progress (58%) which is a significant increase from 52% in 2017. Skills is the second biggest challenge at 51% (down from 57% last year when it took the top spot). There is a growing concern about culture, with 46% saying that it needs to change. Charities also still feel constrained by infrastructure and processes. And 1 in 3 state that a lack of trustee buy-in is holding their charity back in digital.

Leadership has emerged as a significant issue in the report, with charities telling us that:

  • There is a growing expectation that charity leaders must understand trends and how they affect their charities. 63% now want this, rising from 58% last year. On a similar note, 53% want them to have some experience or understanding of digital tools, growing from 46% last year.
  • 42% think that better leadership skills such as being more decisive, focused and collaborative would help their charities in digital, rising from 38% in 2017.
  • The majority of charities (69%) cite their board’s digital skills as low or having room for improvement, an improvement of 2% on last year. Trustees must still however prioritise the development of their skills in this area.
  • Despite the significant digital skills gap on the majority of charity boards, 78% of people either don’t know what is being done to change this, or state that their organisations don’t have any plans.
  • There is still demand for boards and leadership teams to develop their digital skills. 65% are worried that they will miss out on opportunities for digital fundraising (down 1% from last year).
  • For the first time this year, we asked people if lack of trustee understanding or buy-in for digital was a barrier. 1 in 3 (33%) see it as an issue.
  • The same number of charities (28%) as last year still see lack of leadership in digital as a problem.
  • There has been a big increase in worries about the lack of the leadership support needed to develop more digital products and services, rising significantly to 51%, up from 42% last year.

Read more of the findings in the report. Do share your thoughts with us using the #charitydigireport hashtag.

Leading figures across the sector have also commented on the findings, including Sarah Atkinson, Director of Policy and Communications at the Charity Commission, Vicky Browning, CEO at ACEVO, Mandy Johnson,
CEO at the Small Charities Coalition, David McNeill, Digital Director at SCVO and Lara Burns, Chief Digital and Technology Officer at Age UK.Read their views.

There is a lot to absorb in the report. Whilst there are some small positive developments, the key message for me is that charity leaders and funders must drive digital change. Read my in depth analysis of the results and what they mean. 

Once again I think these findings are a great opportunity for the sector to ask itself what role digital plays in its future. The report highlights how digital skills can help charities increase fundraising, achieve their goals and reach more people. I’d love to hear what you think, so do tweet me @zoeamar using the hashtag #charitydigireport.

Read The Charity Digital Skills Report.