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Bridging the digital divide

Josh Thompson-Smith Mar 22, 2024
CEO of Oblongata, Josh Thompson-Smith

In an era dominated by digital advancements, the third sector (charity organisations, not-for-profit and social enterprises) plays a crucial role in addressing societal issues. However, despite the transformative potential of digital innovation, there exists a significant gap in its adoption within the UK third sector.

This article delves into the reasons behind the limited utilisation of digital tools and explores the implications for these organisations.



The digital divide
in the third sector


According to recent statistics from the UK Charity Commission, only a fraction of third-sector organisations actively incorporates digital technologies into their operations. In 2021, a mere 42% of charities had a digital strategy in place, with an even smaller percentage effectively implementing it. This digital divide is not merely a technological gap; it represents a disparity in the ability of organisations to harness the full potential of digital innovation for social impact.



Barriers to adoption


Several factors contribute to the slow adoption of digital innovation in the third sector. Limited financial resources pose a significant hurdle, with many organisations struggling to allocate funds for technology investments. A 2022 survey revealed that 60% of charities in the UK considered budget constraints as a primary obstacle to adopting digital technologies.

Additionally, a lack of digital literacy among staff and volunteers inhibits the successful integration of technology into daily operations. Training programs and resources are essential to empower the workforce, fostering a culture that embraces digital tools.



Impact on efficiency
and outreach


The consequences of limited digital adoption in the third sector are profound. Charities and non-profits that fail to leverage technology may find themselves constrained in terms of operational efficiency and outreach. Digital tools can streamline internal processes, enhance communication, and expand the reach of campaigns, ultimately maximising the impact of the organisation's mission.


for improvement

To bridge the digital gap, we work with third sector clients to prioritise digital literacy internally and strategise how this is translated for external and online audiences. Recognising the unique needs of the third sector, tailored solutions and incentives can be designed to encourage organisations to embrace, not shy away from, digital innovation and transformation.

While the UK third sector grapples with limited utilisation and adoption of digital innovation, there is a growing recognition of the need to bridge this gap. By addressing financial constraints, promoting digital literacy, and fostering collaboration, the third sector can unlock the full potential of technology, ensuring that third sector organisations are well-equipped to address the evolving challenges of the modern world.

It is a collective responsibility to empower these organisations, enabling them to amplify their impact and drive positive change in society. That’s where Oblongata can help; by partnering with us we can bring your online vision to life.

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