“Going digital”

Published by Peter Barton on 17 April 2019

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Tech Trust carries out an annual survey of the third sectors’ perceptions of digital technology. Their latest survey was carried out in September and October 2018 and 1,100 different organisations participated.

The charities that took part in the survey can be broken down as follows:

  • Micro (Income under £100K) – 44%
  • Small (Income between £100K and £1m) – 38%
  • Medium (Income between £1m and £5m) – 13%
  • Large (Income over £5m) – 5%

The major findings of the survey included:

The Cloud

  • 72% of charities use the Cloud for core apps (63% in 2017)
  • 47% consider improved security one of the top benefits of the Cloud whilst 18% of non-Cloud users gave security concerns as their main reason for not using it
  • 37% store contact information in the Cloud

Tech Trust state that there is a Cloud tool available for almost every operation or business process, many of which are discounted or free for charities.

Investment in IT and digital

  • 31% of charities are planning to spend more on IT next year
  • 25% of charities plan to focus their budgets on training in digital
  • Almost two-thirds of charities prefer to invest in equipment (hardware and software) rather than training their staff. Charities might want to consider using Cloud services rather than buying and maintaining servers and on-premises software, as this could free up budget to spend on training or delivering/improving services.

IT competency

  • 49% of charities consider they have average IT competency, 24% claim below-average competency and 27% claim to be above-average
  • 33% of trustees consider themselves below-average in IT competency whilst 40% of charities consider their trustees to be below-average

Charities are more aware of the importance of having trustees who are IT and digitally competent, but that awareness has not translated into action. Tech Trust argue that this skills gap is holding charities back as, in the long run, digital skills will benefit charities.

Security

36% of charities believe they do a good job in defending against cyber-attacks, whilst 23% think they don’t do enough

It is estimated that cyber crime will cost $6 trillion annually by 2021, which is twice the figure reported in 2015. Should charities be taking stronger steps to improve their cyber security? As more and more information is stored digitally a breach of a charity’s IT systems could result in lost information, lost resources and lost reputation.

Digital fundraising

  • 70% of large charities fundraise online compared to only 44% of micro charities
  • Most charities who fundraise online raise between 0% and 5% of their total income although 15% of charities raise more than 20% of their total income online

Potential donors to your charity will want the giving experience to be as easy and quick as possible. Online donation platforms can help but so too can improving your charity’s website. In 2017 donations through websites, social media and apps accounted for £26 of every £100 donated.

The full survey results can be found here.

Conclusion

Trustees need to consider whether “going digital” would help their charities to operate more efficiently by:

  • improving the service provided to their beneficiaries
  • increasing income, and
  • more effective utilisation of scarce resources.

There is plenty of help available. Please speak to your usual Kreston Reeves contact to see how we can assist.

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