Charities struggling to ramp up digital service delivery, report suggests

Charities are struggling to ramp up their digital capabilities to support beneficiaries, a survey of.

Around half (55%) of charity managers said their digital improvements have been mostly behind the scenes rather than in frontline support for beneficiaries.

While four out of ten (41%) charities are actively investing in new technology, around half (48%) have a digital or overall strategy in place that mainly looks at challenges such as pivoting fundraising online.

Meanwhile, only around a half (47%) of senior charity managers said they have access to digital reporting and that these reports were not widely shared throughout the organisation.

Just over a third (38%) says their level of digital maturity was “a work in progress”.

The survey has been carried out by the tech firm The Access Group in its 2020/21 The State of Digital Maturity in the Not for Profit Sector report.

“This year will be remembered as one where the fundraising, comms and marketing departments in charities and not for profits, along with scores of volunteers, had to pivot from face to face interactions and multiple revenue streams, into a new digital only world where the ability to receive online donations became a must,” states the report

Optimism

In the report, digital strategist Ian Patterson is optimistic about the progress of digital among charities and is particular pleased that more senior leaders are embracing the use of technology in the sector.

He said: “Some might say that Covid-19 was a powerful catalyst that sharpened attentions and gave not for profits the permission, impetus, and investment to deliver against digital expectations.

“In reading the survey findings it’s clear to me that we are way past grass roots, having now reached a new plateau of digital maturity within this sector, a stage where technology is no longer a barrier, and approval at senior level is no longer holding us back.”

He added: “Most telling is that important digital topics are commonly understood and accepted today, in the conversations we have and the publications we read. For a long time digital transformation was met with frustration and even denial by some, but now we have reached an equilibrium, forged out of a need to work together during difficult times, whereby digital disruption, transformation and maturity are accepted and acted upon.”

Among investment in digital maturity has been The National Emergencies Trust’s handing out of £12m to charities to help them ramp up their digital and telephone support to at risk groups amid the pandemic.

Age UK, Shelter and Mind are among those to benefit.

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