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Guest post: Digital in the charity sector

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There is a growing digital skills gap in the charity sector.

On 30th September, we held a networking breakfast at our Innovation Centre in London. We brought together key voluntary sector organisations to discuss, and be inspired by how digital can benefit the charity sector.

Accenture’s corporate citizenship initiative, Skills to Succeed, helps to address the global need for skills, and has a particularly focus on young people in the UK who are not in employment, education or training (NEET). By showcasing this initiative we demonstrated how digital can maximise impact.

What does digital mean to you?

Tim Cody, Managing Director, Accenture’s Management Consulting lead for Financial Services and Roy Jubraj, Managing Director in Financial Services, started the session by understanding what digital means to everyone. We discussed how digital applies to the charity sector, but also how young people increasingly need digital skills to impress employers.


For a charity organisation, digital was discussed as an opportunity to create a personalised experience and enable conversation between donors and beneficiaries. With more and more jobs set to be automated, charities that are helping people to move into work need to work closely with employers to understand what skills are needed.

Changing Attitudes

Accenture worked with Lloyds Banking Group on the Lloyds Bank Business Digital Index. Here, we talked to Claire Allington from Lloyds, Digital Inclusion, and Rob Stubbs, Accenture Research, to discuss the findings from the research with respect to the charity sector.

Year on year, results on the Digital Maturity Index show a lack of engagement with digital among many charities. Attitudinal barriers were one of the key factors:

approximately 70% of charities didn’t see digital as important;

50% didn’t see the point of a website;

two thirds didn’t see the point of social media.

In essence, most charities feel ‘It’s not relevant to me’ or ‘I’m doing it already’.

The good news is, these barriers are possible to overcome and working with digital can lead to greater opportunities, more donations.

Businesses and charities working together

Accenture’s Skills to Succeed programmes bring digital skills to young jobseekers, as well as using digital to reach more jobseekers via online learning. We invited discussion on the potential of digital in the charity sector. The consensus was that the charity sector can’t realise this potential alone; businesses can play a pivotal role through their volunteer programmes to help charities to build their digital capabilities.

Accenture is committed to this vision and has worked with a number of charities and businesses to run a one-day workshop to define digital transformation plans and the training necessary to execute them. We have also built a suite of 50 hours of digital skills training which has not only been used for the charity sector but also for entrepreneurs and young people who are looking for a job.

This session proved to be an inspiring start to the day which left everyone feeling excited about the possibilities of digital.

As one of our partners summarised:

 Digital is not a cost, it's an opportunity

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1 comment

  1. Comment by LInz Darlington posted on

    Interesting article, really surprised at how low digital engagement is amongst charities, particularly when considering the huge growth of online fundraising platforms (such as crowdfunding websites.) Couldn't agree more with how important digital technology is for increasing the reach of charities, and for the not-for-profit sector as a whole.