Digital Funding

46% of charities are looking to access grants from funders to cover digital costs. 


  • 46% have applied for grants to cover digital costs, whilst 44% haven’t.
  • 10% are not sure if they have or not.

  • This was a filter question. The 214 organisations who said ‘yes’ were asked further questions about funding. An average of 208 responded to these.

Close to 40% have accessed funding for laptops and devices this year. 


  • This filtered question was answered by 208 charities who applied for funding for digital costs this year. All percentages relate to those who answered (rather than the 504 who responded to the survey overall).

  • Almost 4 out of 10 (38%) have accessed grant funding for laptops and other devices, whilst 1 in 4 (25%) have sought funding for software and subscriptions.

  • Only 12% have found funding for a new CRM, despite 54% of the 504 completing the survey saying their CRM is causing significant challenges to their organisation.

  • Just over 1 in 5 (21%) have had funding for developing their website and 18% for digital service delivery, with 5% getting funding for user research.

  • Only 13% have had funding for digital roles, 9% for consultancy and 4% for data roles.


These results are surprising given that over half of respondents say their CRM is creating significant challenges for their organisation.


“As funders generally aren’t interested in investing in organisational development and expect us to keep core costs to a minimum, it is really hard to get digital development to the top of the priority list.”

More than 4 out of 10 charities say their digital funding needs have grown significantly, representing an increase from last year. 


  • This filtered question was answered by 206 charities who applied for funding for digital costs this year. All percentages relate to those who answered (rather than the 504 who responded to the survey overall).

  • The number of charities’ whose digital funding needs have increased significantly has risen this year. In 2022, 33% said that their needs had increased significantly, compared to 41% this year.

  • 36% said that their needs have grown a little, slightly less than 40% in this category last year.

  • 18% say that their needs have stayed the same. This has declined from 26% last year.

  • A mere 3% say that their needs have decreased a little and 2% say they have decreased significantly. 


These answers could indicate the impact of the cost of living on charities’ needs for digital funding.

Charities need funding for core digital costs, with more than a third needing funding for staff time.

  • This filtered question was answered by 206 charities who applied for funding for digital costs this year. All percentages relate to those who answered (rather than the 504 who responded to the survey overall).

  • More charities than last year, and notably over a third, feel that funding is designed for digital service innovation (38% compared to 29% last year).

  • Almost 4 out of 10 (37%) are concerned that they have to commit to a solution upfront, feeling that they need time for discovery. This is a slight increase on 33% last year.

  • The theme of charities feeling frustrated about lack of funding for core digital costs has continued from last year, with 36% worried that they can’t include staff time for core digital roles, 31% unable to include general digital costs such as software licences and 27% not able to include IT costs.

  • A third (33%) say funders need to be clear on what digital costs they can apply for, indicating there is scope for better communication about this.

  • 23% are not clear what digital costs they will have. This has dropped significantly from 41% last year.

  • 29% say that funding is designed for face-to-face services, up from 23% last year.


“I just wish funders saw the need for funding digital in of itself. We have utilised it really well up to now, but when you grow and being volunteer based you need to have a roadmap of what to do next, what you do need to invest in and when you have people with lived experience running grassroots digital organisations you need mentoring support.”


Have you experienced any barriers or discrimination when accessing digital funding or support?

This open question gathers insights into any barriers that charities might be facing, relating to equality, diversity and inclusion. These highlighted a lack of digital funding overall, as well as a lack of accessible and appropriate funding for small charities or organisations that serve specific marginalised communities. Responses fell into three categories.


Difficulties accessing funding and support due to resource constraints

“Lack of internal capacity and expertise makes it challenging to identify next steps, and then apply for funding to realise these goals.”

“As a small charity it feels harder to access digital funding, there seems to be a preference for organisation size (larger).”


“It has been hard to know where to start with digital funding and support.”


“A lot of free accessible training is geared at London based charities.”


Challenges accessing funding due to additional needs

“The groups we work with are often digitally excluded. Elderly clients who aren’t engaging with digital and socially/economically disadvantaged who have no access to connected devices.”


“As an autistic person, it has been almost impossible to successfully apply for funding or support.”


“Chronic fatigue and AuADHD means I struggle to complete application forms and interact with the methods of connecting with organisations who offer digital expertise and resources.”


Digital funding limitations

“Very hard to access money for digital. Even more tricky to get money for improving or updating digital rather than new tech.”


“We’ve experienced challenges where support is either too basic, assuming as a small charity we have very low competence, or too ‘big’ for us.”


“Funders want to support generic digital provision, not targeted for specific BMER communities such as ours.”

“We have some barriers to access innovation funding e.g. Ufi Voch Tech. They follow a proof of concept model/challenge fund process which is relatively new for charities in Wales (they have not worked like this before). This is proving to be a barrier.”

“Difficulties finding funding. It appears to be an underfunded area. We have needs ranging from CRM costs to data protection support, but it is very difficult to find funding for costs of products/services such as these – all funding is tied to direct social outcomes.”

A growing number of charities (45%) need funding for a strategic approach to digital. The results to this question show that there are significant digital funding needs for charities that are not being met by funders. 


  • This filtered question was answered by 211 charities who applied for funding for digital costs this year. All percentages relate to those who answered (rather than the 504 who responded to the survey overall).

  • What charities need funding for most is time and support to develop a strategic approach to digital. This need has grown  from 38% last year to almost half (45%) this year.

  • Over a third (37%) need funding for computers, devices, IT and infrastructure. This is a similar number to last year, showing that this is a key area of demand from funders.

  • Charities need funding for skills, including training staff and volunteers (36%) and bringing in external expertise (35%). The latter need has grown from 25% last year, showing the need for access to advice.

  • Similarly, close to a third of charities (31%) need someone to lead on digital change and just over a quarter (27%) need funding for core digital staff. However, the previous question shows that only 13% of charities have accessed funding for digital roles. These numbers are similar to last year, indicating that this is still an unmet need and that this need is growing.

  • Charities also require funding for digital tools. A third need funding for software and subscriptions (33%) and 27% for a CRM.

  • There is also a cluster of needs for funding to improve digital services, including development of existing products and services (32%), developing innovative solutions (21%), user research (16%) and monitoring or evaluation of services (16%).

  • The need for funding for digital inclusion support has declined from 24% to 18% this year.

  • It’s surprising that just 11% want time or support to collaborate with others on shared solutions as this could help stretch funding further.

Almost two third of charities need advice about digital funding applications, showing the need to make this process accessible.


  • This filtered question was answered by 209 charities who applied for funding for digital costs this year. All percentages relate to those who answered (rather than the 504 who responded to the survey overall).

  • Charities have a growing need for advice from funders about digital funding applications. Almost two thirds (63%) would find it very helpful to have this, an increase on the 47% who needed application advice last year.

  • More than half (59%) would find additional support to progress with digital very helpful, whilst almost half (48%) say that support for an audit of their digital strengths and weaknesses would be very helpful, a similar number to last year.

  • Charities would also find the following forms of support very helpful: user research and digital design training (45%, up from 38% last year), peer support and advice from similar organisations (40%) and introductions to trusted agencies and consultancies (34%, a slight increase from 31% last year).


Do you want to tell us anything else about your experiences of applying for funding for digital?

In this free text question we asked charities to share their experiences. The 33 responses were incredibly varied, but there were key consistent themes. Most common was the challenge of identifying funders who will support digital projects or what costs they will cover, especially if the criteria is not clear. Some also referenced their poor success in attracting digital funds, citing that funders preferred face-to-face delivery or new digital projects. Respondents told us that: 


“We’ve not seen many funds that are specifically for digital … we would like to find funding to continue to upgrade our app, and obtain funding to increase content to the app, otherwise it will stagnate. It wasn’t cheap to develop, so it would be a pity to lose all the great work we have accomplished so far in the build.”


“As one of the only charity tech start-ups in the UK, our progression has hinged on key injections of venture philanthropy in our early years and social investment to keep us going. We’ve felt totally blocked and unsupported by the broader grant funding.”


“We have generally struggled to attract grant funding for digital activities.”


“Identifying funders who are pro-digital is quite challenging. It comes up time and time again in any trust fundraising hubs/groups that I am in. The question of ‘where can we go for digital funding’’ rears its head weekly and there don’t seem to be many names coming forward to have managed to successfully secure funding in this area.”


Overall, most felt that funders were largely unsupportive of their digital work, ambitions and support needs. However, some also cited positive examples of change and funding they had accessed:


“We are in receipt of Power to Change’s latest Powering Up programme which covers digital – £8000 to spend on bringing on outside support, £5000 unrestricted towards our time on or off the project and £3000 on team wellbeing.”