Charities’ use of digital handed ‘amber warning’

Digital toolkit Charity Excellence Framework has found considerable scope for improvement among charities in areas such as using social media analytics and online advertising.

Joe Lepper | 3rd Jan 20
person using online toolkit on laptop

Charities’ use of technology needs to improve and has been handed an ‘amber warning’, according to latest analysis by a digital toolkit aimed at improving voluntary sector performance.

Charity Excellence Framework has released its ‘state of the sector’ report, which is based on 1,500 questionnaires among charities about their organisation.

This hands different aspects of a charity’s work a traffic light score, in areas such as strategy and fundraising. This ranges from ‘green’, where most charities are performing well, to ‘amber’ where charities are weak and could improve.

In terms of communication, 33 out of 43 areas are given an ‘amber’ warning. This includes use of their website to help charities be cost-effective and raise funds.

Also rated ‘amber’ is charities’ use of Google Ads to attract public attention as well as use text donation services.

Other areas with scope for improvement include using social media analytics to track data around audience reach and engagement.

For fundraising 40 out of 64 areas are rated with an ‘amber’ warning. This includes having a robust customer relationship management (CRM) system in place that is easy to use, with good functionality.

“There are lots of opportunities for charities to achieve a great deal more, often fairly easily and at low/no cost,” said Charity Excellence Framework Founder Ian McLintock.

“The challenges around digital are well known and too many charities are still missing out on opportunities such as contactless, text donations and the Google Ads Grant, and even in using basic analytics.

“All six of the website assessment metrics are ‘amber’, including for fundraising and cost effectiveness. This suggests potential to not only achieve more, but also be better off financially in doing so.”

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Effective use of video

Areas to be handed a ‘green’ rating include ensuring social media posting is being used to engage with supporters and using video effectively.

The results are based on 2019 questionnaire responses and are broadly comparable to data collected in 2018, “suggesting that whilst real progress has been made in some areas and by some organisations, overall the situation is largely unchanged,” added McLintock.