Charities need to adapt to the digital age or risk facing serious problems


Charities need to adapt to the digital age or risk facing serious problems

The relationship between digital technology and the third sector has become increasingly strained over the past few years. A new report in partnership with CharityComms has highlighted that 80% of specialists in the digital sector have agreed that technology requires a fundamental shift in the way charities operate, however, only 34% believe that their leaders fully understand this.


This comes as a bit of a surprise after the excitement that surrounded charities’ embracing social media. For example, viral hashtags being utilised to promote a charity’s cause, such as the Ice Bucket Challenge. There has been further statistics to support that Charities haven’t yet fully embraced digital, Lloyds Bank’s research from 2015 revealed that charities have the lowest score of all industries for ‘digital experience’ with more and more admitting they lack basic digital understanding and skills.


Digital is here to stay…

…and this isn’t something that is likely to change, and reliance on digital technology is only set to grow. Charities that don’t begin adapting to digital, run the risk of becoming obsolete. Carol Rudge, Head of not for profit at Grant Thornton supports this, she commented: “Digital is a game changer […] without an informed and considered digital strategy – and more importantly, the internal governance and operations to support it – funding may erode, huge opportunities will be missed and charities will face an uphill struggle against their peers who have embraced it.”

Despite this seemingly daunting prospect, this underlies a huge opportunity for charities who are yet to turn to digital. Megan Griffith Gray, head of digital and communications at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), feels that we are “on the cusp of a digital revolution in the voluntary sector. We have a chance to reinvent the way our organisations are run and deliver services – but only if we’re brave enough to take it.”


Start Small

Moving to digital is a daunting prospect, so why not start small and focus on your charity’s social media presence. Find out how to get your social media right this year, this will help build confidence in the digital sector and will give charities real time insight into their target audience.


What is CAN doing to adapt?

We recognize the importance of adapting to become more digitally coherent, most recently we launched our new internal social community CANNECT, this helps the organisations who live with us, collaborate and ‘CANNECT’ across all our mezzanine sites, share news, share ideas and get social.

In addition to CANNECT we have also launched digital noticeboards across our CAN Mezzanine locations known as ‘CANvas’ screens, these are a further way of showcasing in-house events and news in an informative, engaging and eye catching way.

In terms of a social media presence, CAN has noticed that there has been a shift in the way our customers connect with us. Our Twitter following has consistently grown year on year and more importantly engagement rates have soared alongside this growth. Visits to our website also continue to grow both indicating a strong and continually growing move towards a digitally focused way of finding information and connecting with each other.

Category: Sector news