Half of UK charities lack a 'digital strategy', says report

A report has found that half of all charities in the UK are without a digital strategy, partly due to significant barriers with a lack of skills and funding.

Skills Platform's Charity Digital Skills Report revealed the shocking discovery, highlighting that less than 1 in 3 charities (27%) have already coordinated their digital and organisational strategies, while only 9% have been through a complete digital transformation that is now firmly embedded within the charity business.

Exactly half of all respondents stated that they had chosen to put other organisational challenges further up the priority list.

Commenting on the report, Sarah Atkinson, director of policy and communications at the Charity Commission, said: “It is encouraging that most respondents to this survey recognise the difference strategic engagement with digital can make to their charities’ success."

"But there is clearly a gap between the awareness of charity professionals and the skills and engagement of many charity boards. It is of concern that almost three quarters of respondents rate their trustees’ digital skills as low or having room for improvement.”

The two biggest obstacles highlighted by the report, however, were lack of skills (57%) and funding (52%) for charities in the UK.

The majority stated that the biggest threat to their use of a digital structure in the future was lack of resources and skills, as well as a weak or unstable infrastructure:

  • 67% said they definitely needed additional resources
  • 53% said their infrastructure needed attention
  • 49% lacked the appropriate skills
  • 61% of charities surveyed rated their own digital fundraising skills as fair to low
  • 69% rated their digital business development as fair to low
  • 71% said their board's digital skills were also low or could be improved

With all this in mind, charity professionals also recognised that there was a need for increased awareness and effectiveness when it comes to digital strategy implementation within an organisation. A total of 485 charity professionals were questioned for the report:

  • 75% think growing their digital skills would help them increase fundraising
  • 71% see opportunities to grow their charity’s network
  • 69% see the potential of digital to deliver its strategy more effectively