Each year Lloyds Bank presents its findings of the digital capabilities of both SMEs and charities in the UK. The research investigates an organisation’s ability to tackle cybercrime, for example, or the diversity of their workforce when it comes to digital technology.

This year’s research demonstrated significant improvement across the board, but shows that the north still trails the south in terms of digital capabilities within the third sector.

It is widely understood that charities can generate more revenue by engaging in digital services and tools, and at present the report shows that they lack capability in three key areas:

  • Accessibility: 95% of charity websites do not meet basic accessibility standards, meaning those with additional needs may be prevented from accessing vital information
  • Mobile-friendliness: Only 8% of charities have mobile-friendly websites, and because mobile and tablet browsing now accounts for over 50% of web traffic, charities are failing a huge number of their visitors
  • Online donations: 40% of charities do not receive donations online, meaning they’re missing out on huge fundraising opportunities online.

These numbers provide a massive opportunity for the region’s charities, yet highlight how much work needs to be done in order to truly take advantage of engaging with supporters on the internet.

Leeds-based social enterprise Charity Box aims to tackle these issues head on by providing digital services exclusively for charities. Founder Matt Saunders says “the opportunities for charities to utilise digital tools are immense, and charities can not only increase their fundraising but level-up their organisation generally. Whether a charity’s goal is to fundraise, reach service users or grow awareness of their cause, the internet is a great place to do it”.

There are over 10,000 charitable organisations in Yorkshire alone, and Charity Box’s mission is to help these organisations achieve better results online without breaking the bank. There is a growing awareness within the sector that being “digitally-enabled” can bring a host of benefits, and a realisation for many that having a solid online presence is becoming a necessary key to success.

“When the Digital Index report comes out next year, we hope to see a positive change in the numbers so that charities are better equipped to serve their stakeholders through digital means”, says Matt.