More than a third of charity bosses believe their staff are not digitally savvy, with more than four out of ten applicants also missing out on technology expertise, according to a report being released later this week. The National Council for Voluntary Organisations report is to reveal that 36% of voluntary sector employers believe their staff are missing digital skills and 43% say that their job applicants are without these skills too. The proportion of charity sector staff with digital skills is better than in the public sector but a little worse than among businesses, the research will reveal.
“Nevertheless, this skills gap is a serious strategic weakness for the sector as we look to adapt and maximise what we can do in a digital age,” said Megan Griffith Gray, NCVO Head of Digital, Data and Planning. “We’re at a crucial time for turning this around. The sector can’t afford to wait and hope things gradually improve over time, or we’ll be left behind and it will be hard to recover.” She said that the lack of digital skills among many charity workers mirrors previous research in the Lloyds Bank Charity Digital Index, which found that 48% of charities do not have basic digital skills. This is in areas such as problem solving, using technology to reduce costs and utlilising analytics to improve websites. Analysis of the Lloyds Bank research by Reboot found that more than half of UK staff across all sectors lack digital skills including managing privacy settings on social media and avoiding suspicious links and pop ups.
The NCVO is one of a number of organisations involved in the Catalyst initiative to improve digital skills within the voluntary sector.
"There are organisations doing amazing digital work, but for many, especially smaller organisations, it’s hard to know where to start,” said Griffith Gray. “That’s why NCVO has been involved in helping to create a new initiative called the Catalyst. “The Catalyst is a coalition of major foundations, civil society organisations including NCVO, digital design agencies and the government, seeking to massively accelerate the use of digital in the UK’s voluntary sector. We’re proud to be a founding member. "One of the focus areas for the Catalyst will be to increase the quality and range of support available to help organisations build their digital knowledge and skills.”