Over the last two years, the sector has gone through a period of intense digital adaptation. In the 2020 and 2021 Charity Digital Skills Reports we tracked how charities’ use of digital was changing and the effect this was having on strategy, leadership, skills and operations. This year we wanted to find out what role digital was playing for the sector on the ‘road to recovery’ phase of the pandemic.

The sector has had a tough time since we went into lockdown in 2020. In the 2022 Report we wanted to find out more about what support the sector needs, as well as the funding and other resources that funders can provide, particularly for organisations of different sizes, at different stages of digital and for those led by and serving groups facing structural inequity.

Established in 2017, The Charity Digital Skills Report is the annual barometer of digital skills, attitudes and support needs across the sector. Everything you have told us via the surveys has helped us track how charities are evolving, as well as gathering insights into areas that are critical success factors for digital progress, such as understanding users, leadership and governance and strategy.

This year, we redeveloped the survey extensively to capture a snapshot of the sector at this pivotal moment of change and to discover where it needs help with digital to maximise its impact. That’s why we’ve asked new questions to uncover exactly what funders need to do to help get the sector onto a sustainable footing. This has to be done in an inclusive way, so we have also gathered insights into the different support needs of organisations led by and serving minority groups.

Our report aims to:

  • Map charities’ digital priorities as we enter the next phase of the pandemic. How important is digital in their future plans and where do they see it in their future?

  • Understand the key trends in how charities’ use of digital has changed over the last year, so that you can benchmark your organisation.

  • Track progress made over the last five years and what this means for the sector.

  • Measure where charities have skills gaps and what they need to grow their digital knowledge and confidence.

  • Gather data on what funding and support needs charities have to help them move forward with digital so that we can take these findings to grant makers and recommend what they need to do more effectively.

We’d love to hear what you think about the report, how you are using the findings and how we might build on this next year in our feedback form.

We are delighted to be working as part of Catalyst again on the report. Catalyst is a collective of individuals and organisations (like charities, funders, agencies and freelancers) with a shared vision: a digitally enabled and resilient social sector. The report will be an essential resource for Catalyst’s work of developing an ecology of interconnected digital support initiatives, shared infrastructures, learning networks and community spaces that experiment with new ways of organising to drive systemic and societal change. The report will be an essential resource for their work in helping civil society rebuild from COVID-19 in a more responsive, sustainable and equitable way.

We are also delighted to be supported by Comic Relief, The Clothworkers’ Foundation, M-hance and Digital Wonderlab.

There are some encouraging findings in this year’s report about charities’ commitment to digital and their plans for the future. Our data reflects that digital growth has stabilised although many organisations still have ambitions to do more.

One of the aims of our report has always been to democratise digital across the sector, showing how every organisation, regardless of size, can grow their skills and use digital to make an even bigger difference. We were concerned to find that the gap between charities who are at more advanced stages of digital has become more pronounced this year. As a sector, we must commit to digital being for everyone and not something that is split between the digital haves and have nots. We will achieve far more from digital if we collaborate with each other and learn together. Thank you for supporting our report.

Zoe Amar and Nissa Ramsay