The Growing Need for Tech Skills on Charity Trustee Boards

In an increasingly digital world, the charity sector faces unprecedented challenges and opportunities. As organisations strive to leverage technology for social good, the role of technology skills on charity trustee boards has become more vital than ever. From fostering innovation to mitigating cybersecurity risks, trustees with digital expertise are instrumental in guiding charities through the complexities of the digital landscape.

Leadership in the Digital Age

The recent Charity Digital Skills Report 2023 sheds light on the pressing need for digital leadership within the charity sector. Shockingly, nearly a third of charities lack dedicated digital leadership, hindering their ability to harness the full potential of technology. However, those with digital leaders at the helm are better positioned to articulate a clear vision for digital transformation, develop robust strategies, and navigate emerging digital trends.

It’s concerning to see that just under a third of charities (28%) don’t have anyone in charge of leading their digital progress, an increase on the 22% from last year who did not have anyone pushing forward with digital. However, just over a third (31%) have someone who is leading on digital as part of or in addition to their main work.

Once again, more than half of charities (56%) said that the number one thing they want from their leaders is a clear vision of what their organisation could achieve with digital, marking the fifth year running that charities have highlighted that they need leaders to define a vision for digital, and demonstrating why leaders must allow time for considering a strategic digital approach.

Empowering Trustee Boards with Digital Skills

Charity trustee boards play a crucial role in shaping an organisation's strategic direction and ensuring its long-term sustainability. Yet, many boards lack adequate digital skills, posing a significant barrier to effective decision-making in the digital age. While progress has been made, with a notable increase in trustees with good digital skills, there is still much room for improvement.

For example, there is still potential to grow trustees’ digital skills: 57% have skills that are either low or have room for improvement. Whilst this is an improvement on the 64% in 2022 there is still a long way to go. When looking at those delivering digital services, the results are still similar, with only 40% saying their board has good or excellent digital skills. 

More than half of charities (56%) say they are poor at keeping up to date with digital trends such as TikTok and ChatGPT. Spending less time on administrative tasks is a growing need for charities. As such, this may be where tools such as ChatGPT and increased automation could help charities. 

The digital divide extends beyond trustee boards to encompass staff, volunteers, and service users. Charities must prioritise upskilling initiatives to equip their workforce with the digital competencies needed to improve their tech stack and approach to using technology to improve services and future-proof their operations. Furthermore, addressing digital exclusion among service users is paramount to ensuring equitable access to essential services and support.

Unlocking the Potential of Technology

At Global Resourcing, we recognise the critical role of technology in driving social impact. With our extensive network of senior professionals, including Chief Information Officers, Chief Digital Information Officers, and Chief Technology Officers, we are uniquely positioned to support charities in their digital journey, whether with substantive employees or specialist Trustees.

Our track record in the public and not-for-profit sector speaks volumes, with successful campaigns and consulting projects spanning user experience, data transformation, recruitment, and diversity advisory.

Our commitment to diversity and inclusion extends beyond rhetoric to tangible action. As signatories of the Tech Talent Charter, we are dedicated to fostering diverse and inclusive workplaces. Through events, roundtables, and publications, we facilitate meaningful conversations and drive practical change within the tech community.

The digital revolution presents both challenges and opportunities for the charity sector. By prioritising digital skills on trustee boards, charities can harness the power of technology to drive positive social change. 

For support in finding the best talent for your organisation, contact our team today.
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