Almost two thirds (64%) of charities have excellent basic digital skills. Yet there are significant skills gaps in collecting and analysing data, using data to inform decision making and user research.
- There has been a small increase in charities with excellent basic digital skills (64%, rising from 58% in 2022). Slightly less charities than last year (48%, compared to 52%) have excellent remote working skills.
- There is room for improvement with charities’ use of digital service delivery, with nearly a third rating themselves as poor (28%).
- There has been little movement in the numbers of charities lacking skills to collect, manage and analyse data. 59% rate themselves as fair at this and 28% as poor. These data points have barely changed since 2020, showing how charities need support in this area.
- Half of charities (52%) rate themselves as fair at using data to inform decision making and strategy and at using digital tools for monitoring and evaluation (53%).
- More than 4 out of 10 (43%) say they are poor at user research, which has barely changed since last year.
- Overall, skills are lowest in undertaking user research (43% are poor at this), using digital tools for monitoring and evaluation (39% are poor at this) and using data to inform decision making and strategy (36% are poor at this).
- Interestingly, there is little variation in skills ratings between small and large charities.
“Improving digital skills across the board would help us become more adaptable as an organisation and not settle for things that ‘just don’t work’, by continuously horizon scanning and seeing what trends and opportunities are out there in the digital space, we can see where improvements can be made more consistently and with the right investment (especially if we can point to direct ROI and get buy-in from the Board).”
“Digital skills could help us improve our social media reach, develop online services, enhance our website, increase our effectiveness/efficiency and cost savings, more successes at fundraising etc.”
“Benchmarking is vital so you can measure yourself as to where you are now and where you’d like to be. Communicating digital improvement to a team of 100 staff is challenging.”
Almost 1 in 5 charities are excellent at social media. However, many report skills gaps for email marketing, websites and digital fundraising.
- Like last year, 1 in 5 charities (26%) see themselves as excellent at social media.
- There continues to be a digital marketing skills gap in the sector. More than half (58%) are fair at creating accessible, engaging content, and 50% say that they are fair at email marketing. Like last year, 26% say they are poor at email marketing (25% in 2022).
- The same number as last year (56%) rate themselves as fair at making the most of their website.
- More than half (52%) say they are poor at Search Engine Optimisation and ads, a significant increase on the 42% who said that they were poor at this last year.
- Just under two thirds (57%) say they are poor at learning about users from their website and analytics data, a significant increase on the 42% last year.
- More than half (56%) say they are poor at keeping up to date with digital trends such as TikTok and ChatGPT.
- More than half (55%) say they are poor at digital fundraising, an increase on the 49% last year.
- A similar number to last year (28%) say they are poor at online retail.
Overall, these trends show a strong need for digital skills support across the sector.
8 out of 10 charity professionals want to work for a charity that is growing digital skills.
- 83% of respondents say that it is either very important or important to work for a charity that is developing its digital skills. This is less than the 88% last year.
- 15% were neutral about it, compared to 10% last year.
- Only 2% said it was not important or very unimportant.
- This is slightly more important for those working in large charities, with 84% stating it is important or very important to work for an organisation actively developing digital skills, compared to 75% of small charities.
The top three things charities could achieve are attract more funding, improve their brand and profile and get better insights from their data.
- Charities’ top priority is to improve their skills so they can attract more funding, which has risen from the fourth highest priority to the highest this year. 4 out of 10 charities see this as vital.
- 40% want to improve their brand and profile, falling from last year (47%).
- Getting better insights from their data continues to be a priority for charities, although slightly fewer charities see this as important this year (38% this year and 46% in 2022).
- Spending less time on administrative tasks is a growing need for charities, at 37% compared to 31% last year. This may be where tools such as ChatGPT and increased automation could help charities.
- A third of charities want to support more people (33%) and grow their reach (32%), similar to last year.
- Given the priorities above, it’s perhaps surprising that some of the actions that would help charities achieve them did not receive higher ratings, including delivering strategy more effectively (29%), delivering better services (26%), developing new digital services, products and campaigns (22%) or developing staff and retaining talent (20%).