What’s holding charities back from digital? – Your views
To kick off our #CharityDigitalViews series, Charity Digital News Twitter followers shared their shortfalls and pitfalls when it comes to digital transformation.
Each week, we pose a question to Charity Digital News Twitter followers, asking for their thoughts on the big digital and tech-related issues facing charities. To kick off the series, this week we asked:
“Beyond funding limitations, what are the obstacles holding charities back when it comes to digital maturity?”
According to the Skills Platform 2018 Charity Digital Skills report just under half of nonprofit organisations have no digital strategy, with funding cited as the biggest obstacle. Access to consistent funding support has always been a prime concern for charities, and with the question mark of Brexit and continued EU funding in many areas hanging over their heads, this is likely to remain a central concern for the sector. But we wanted to know what else is stopping charities from making the most of digital to drive their missions.
For Irene Mackintosh, Director with digital inclusion CIC Mhor Collective, it is the ability to upskill staff.
I’m thinking staff digital skills…. and support for their development.
— Irene Mackintosh (@irenewarnermack) August 3, 2018
Fitzgerald also recommends SCVO’s Digital Checkup tool as a simple way for charities to assess the gaps in their leadership and other areas of their organisation.
How about people at the top (trustees and senior managers) who have still not woken up to the digital age? In some cases they believe it doesn't affect them and can't see why it should others #CharityDigitalViews
— John Popham (@johnpopham) August 3, 2018
— John Fitzgerald (@johnfitzg) August 3, 2018
Leah Lockhart, Service Design and User Research at design agency Snook makes the point that knowledge, skills and confidence with digital come from having access to the right resources.
And lack of resource for up to date hardware/software, renewing these resources. Knowledge, skill, ability to be confident with 'digital' is linked to what ppl have available to work with. Not much use training people to do things they can't do when they are back at their desk.
— Leah Lockhart (@LockhartL) August 3, 2018
Registered charities can access donated licenses for software products on Tech Trust’s tt-exchange platform, although hardware for charities is more difficult to source. This website lists a number of UK suppliers.
Ultimately, the ability to make the most of digital comes down to seeing it holistically as part of your charity’s strategy as a whole rather than in isolation, tweeted Inside Outcomes.
Seeing digital as the bit of the organisation that sits in the corner (buying a website or having a database) rather than being an integral part of wider service design. Also seeing digital as being a one off capital purchase rather than an ongoing development.
— Inside Outcomes (@InsideOutcomes) August 3, 2018
This certainly chimes with Tech Trust’s recent survey of UK charities, which found that of the charities that have embraced digital as part of their overall strategy, 92% expect to increase their measurable impact and are far more optimistic about their ability to deliver on their goals.
Thanks to everyone who participated in our Twitter chat.