Nonprofit digital expert Zoe Amar reveals how digital skills in the charity sector have changed over the last year, ahead of 2018’s Digital Skills Report.
Last week we partnered with Skills Platform to launch the survey to build this year’s Charity Digital Skills Report, which aims to take the pulse of where the sector is at with digital. We’ve already had lots of fascinating responses and are looking forward to sharing the results with you all on 14 March.
Our 2017 report painted a worrying picture of where the charity sector is at with digital, with 50% of charities not having a digital strategy. The data on charities’ digital skills was also very mixed, with organisations rating themselves as good at email marketing and social media, but admitting skills gaps around digital fundraising (61% of charities rated their digital fundraising skills as fair to low) and 64% rating themselves as fair to low with using, managing and analysing data.
Our report was not the only one arguing that, whilst there is plenty of good practice out there, the sector needs to raise its game with digital overall. Lloyds Banking Group’s Business Digital Index 2017 showed that more than 100,000 charities do not have basic digital skills, with the number of charities with low digital capabilities growing from 12% to 16%. Their report also showed that highly digitally capable charities are twice as likely to save time and see an increase in donations, and ten times as likely to save costs.
Meanwhile Charity Digital’s recent research showed that 58% of charities don’t have a digital strategy, but 92% of those who do are confident about increasing their impact. Whilst I don’t want to second guess the results of our report until responses close on 16 Feb, I wanted to share my observations about how I have seen digital skills change across the sector since last year.
However I’d like organisations to take a more well rounded view of what this really means. I still see too many charities where they are just investing in training people up in SEO, social media, enewsletters and other digital marketing channels. This is a good place to start, but you also need to look at how you can help your colleagues be more confident about digital (e.g. having a clear vision and being able to make swift decisions), improving their attitude (e.g. being open to new ideas, collaborative and unafraid of failure), developing their understanding (e.g. being able to communicate their digital skills) and motivation (e.g. the desire and energy to do things differently).
Plenty more trends will come out of the Charity Digital Skills report. We won’t know how the sector is faring with digital though unless you tell us what you think. We’d love to hear your views, and we’d be really grateful if you could encourage your network to share their opinions too. Together we can build a picture of where charities are at with digital right now- and what they must do next to move forward.
You can take the Charity Digital Skills Report survey here. There are £200 of Amazon vouchers to be won courtesy of The Clear Lessons Foundation.