A new report has outlined the digital challenge charities face if they are to adapt to a changing society.
The Charity Today report, published by ACEVO, the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), the Institute of Fundraising and CharityComms, is aimed at giving people a better understanding of the contribution made to public life by charities as well as giving an insight into how they operate and how they are changing.
The report highlights how, every day, charities spend £136.4m – equivalent to £1,578 per second – improving lives and supporting communities.
The analysis also highlights the huge role charities play in many aspects of our everyday lives. This ranges from the £500,000 spent every hour by medical research, hospital and rehabilitation charities to the £11m spent every day by housing charities and associations keeping a roof over people’s heads to the 800 cats rescued every week by animal welfare charities.
The digital challenge
Discussing the rise and rise of digital technology, the report said that charities are no different to any other sector in that they are both challenged and encouraged by the rise of digital and the way in which it has empowered users, in this case to do good outside of traditional structures.
“Just as any sector/institution might ask itself how it can be relevant to the millennial generation, so too might charities,” it continued. “The sector has to face up to whether or not charities and volunteering as we currently know them are relevant to a generation that has been brought up in a digital age and look to different forms and mechanisms for social action (such as online platforms, petition sites, crowdfunding).
“Charities face the challenge of operating in a digital world where people buy, sell, talk and meet online. They have to be efficient, while recognising that a charity, however large, is not the same as a supermarket or a bank.”
ACEVO Chief Executive Vicky Browning said: “Charities measure their success by the good they do, not the profits they make. As organisations driven by values, it’s vital we operate to high standards and with real transparency. In recent times, poor processes and poor practice have been revealed in some areas of the charity sector. It’s right that charities respond to this – and they have.
“But while legitimate criticism is healthy, there’s a danger of letting it tarnish our sense of the value of charities, disproportionately damaging their worth and ability to function. We mustn’t lose sight of the huge contribution charities make in so many areas of daily life, and to the nation as a whole.”
The full report is available here.
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