Skills Intelligence Publication

The Charity Digital Skills Report started in 2017 and it has since become the annual barometer of digital skills, attitudes and support needs across the sector. The Charity Digital Skills Report 2023 marks three years since the sector went into lockdown, triggering a wave of remote working, digital service delivery and online fundraising. Between 2020 and 2021, there were positive changes in how charities were using digital and learned about the impact that strategy, leadership, skills and trustees were having on digital progress. 

The other big change of 2023 has been the rapid development of generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools such as ChatGPT, Google Bard and Microsoft Copilot. Since the closure of the survey in the spring, there has been an explosion of interest in AI, with many charities asking what this could mean for them, how they could use these tools and whether they should.

In brief, the report aims to:

  • Track charities’ changing digital priorities post-lockdown and during the cost of living crisis.
  • Understand key trends in how charities’ use of digital is evolving.
  • Identify the support and funding charities need to progress with digital, including any barriers facing marginalised groups, so that we can make the case for change.
  • Measure where charities have skills gaps and what they need to grow their digital knowledge and confidence.

Highlights from the Report:

  • The biggest challenge faced by over half (57%) is needing to upskill staff and volunteers. This is closely followed by 41% saying they are busy firefighting and lack capacity to prioritise digital.
  • 42% are also using digital to explore how to work more effectively amidst the cost of living crisis.
  • The biggest skills gap for this group is learning about users from websites (61% are poor at this) and keeping up to date with digital trends (e.g. Tik Tok or ChatGPT), with 56% saying they are poor at this.
  • Other key skills gaps include using data to inform decision making and using digital tools for monitoring and evaluation, using SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) with half saying they are poor at this (55% in both cases).
  • Nearly half (47%) say their CRM is causing a significant challenge for their organisation (this compares to 54% of all responses)