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Digital uptake accelerated among UK charities during the pandemic, with 83% changing their services to start offering them online during this time, according to the fifth annual Charity Digital Skills Report.
60% of charities also now have a digital strategy in place – up from last year’s 49%, while over two thirds now see digital as a prime concern for their organisation, with similar numbers planning investment in digital infrastructure.
The report, from Skills Platform and Zoe Amar Digital, is a barometer of digital skills, attitudes and support needs across the sector, and tracks how these have changed year on year. It also analyses how other key building blocks for digital change are progressing, including understanding user needs, leadership, strategy and governance.
This year, the survey also included new questions to uncover the trends in these areas as well as other topics, such as the future of work and what charities anticipate doing with digital going forwards.
As well as charities starting to offer online services during the pandemic, the report found that almost 8 out of 10 have been using digital to reach new audiences.
However, as well as acceleration in some areas of charities’ digital development, the report highlights a number of challenges:
– Digital inclusion has become an issue for the sector with 52% of charities worried about excluding some people or groups
– 32% of charities say IT is the biggest hurdle they face to achieving their digital plans
– 52% of charities would like their leadership team to provide a clear digital vision
– Charities would like to see more funders offer support with digital costs
– Almost half want to include core digital costs in all funding applications
365 charity professionals participated in the survey. Close to 90% of respondents were from registered charities and 49% were from organisations with turnover under £1 million. Over a third of responses (36%) came from CEOs or those in leadership teams, closely followed by those in digital roles (31%).