Fewer small charities prioritising digital skills

A report by the Weston Charity Awards has found tech and strategy skills are seen as less important than a year ago for small charity bosses.

Joe Lepper | 2nd Dec 19
person using digital skills on laptop

The proportion of small charities prioritising technology and digital skills has fallen over the last year, a survey has found.

Small charity leaders were asked by Weston Charity Awards to list the three professional skillsets they believe their organisation would most benefit from.

Only 33 per cent listed IT and digital skills as one of their three priority areas for staff this year, down on 2018’s survey, where the figure was 38 per cent.

Prioritising strategy expertise is also seen as less important, due to time and financial pressures. This was listed as one of the top three skill sets of its staff by 23 per cent of charity leaders this year, compared to 24 per cent the previous year.

The Weston Charity Awards celebrates the work of charities with an income of less that £5m a year in Wales, North of England and the Midlands working in the community, welfare and youth sectors. Applications open on 2 December and close on 10 January, 2020. It is run by the Garfield Weston Foundation and the charity Pilotlight.

“The resilience of small charity leaders is remarkable and should be celebrated,” said Philippa Charles, Director of Garfield Weston Foundation.

“Smaller charities tell us they struggle to find the time and money to invest in long-term strategy but they also fear the risks of failing to do so.”

The 20 winners will be handed a year of leadership coaching from Pilotlight and £6,500 in unrestricted funding.

The survey involved 271 charity leaders across England, Wales and Scotland and took place in October and has been released as part of the Weston Charity Awards Small Charity Leaders Insight Report 2019.

Gillian Murray, Chief Executive of Pilotlight, added: “It’s incredibly tough for small charity leaders to find the time to plan for long-term improvements whilst dealing with day-to-day frontline challenges but there’s lots of evidence that doing so can transform a charity’s fortunes.”

Diversity issues

The survey also found a mixed picture regarding diversity and inclusion among their organisation. Half are working on improving diversity among their trustees, with another quarter saying they need to do more in this area. “Whether the remaining quarter are blind to the problem or have already cracked the issue is open to interpretation”, states the report.