According to the 2022 Charity Digital Skills report, more than 1 in 3 (38%) of charities say upskilling staff and volunteers is the second greatest barrier to digital progress.

This comes at a time where demand for digital skills has never been greater with the increased numbers of people working remotely and the increase of roles which demand a level of technology proficiency.

So how can you assess the digital skill level at your organisation and where do you start to build your team’s digital skills?

How can digital skills enable or disable your team?

There are many and varying digital skills you can attain, and whether you have acquired them or not, affects an individual’s ability to contribute to your organisation. Here are some examples or how digital skills can enable or disable your team:

  • Ability to use the internet search engines to solve problems: When you use search engines, it is actually a composite of different skills; translating your question into a search term, evaluating the results and collating the results to form an understanding or solution to the problem. Therefore, you may be able to use search engines, but are you proficient in getting what you need from it?
  • Using applications: Applications and tools such as Outlook and Zoom are embedded in the way we work. These tools enable your team’s productivity if utilised and adopted well.
  • Being data driven: To be part of a data and information driven culture, your team need to understand what data is and how you can use it.
  • Safe use systems and communications tools: If you team does not know how to safely use systems and communication tools, this poses a significant risk of exposing your organisation.
  • Ability to contribute to digital discussions and initiatives: There is a working assumption people are confident in digital future, but this may not be the case for everyone in your team. If members of your team are not confident in a digital future, conversations on digital initiatives can feel quite threatening.

Questions to ask when assessing digital skills in the workplace

  1. Skills: Who is responsible for recognising what level they should be at? Who is responsible for improving them?
  2. Confidence: Are you making fair assumptions about how comfortable users are? Their level of confidence will impact the technology you choose to implement as well as whether it will be adopted.
  3. Learning: What learning resources are available? Is there a reasonable expectation that these resources will help? Who is proactive in identifying and sharing them?
  4. Barriers: Does your charity culture provide a safe space for those who want to upskill? Is there a sense of risk and peer pressure in flagging digital skills challenges?

Tools and resources

  • Charity digital code – The Charity Digital Code of Practice is for charity professionals looking to get more strategic with digital. Their fifth principle is on digital and is a great starting point specifically for non-profits.
  • NCVO – Created principally for voluntary organisations, NVCO has process driven resources taking you from start to finish on establishing where you are and what you can do about it. Also includes practical templates.
  • Governments Essential digital skills framework – This includes context and articulations of what standards you should be looking for and the expectations for good digital skills.
  • SCVO – Includes online tools to complete a self-assessment and provides report for areas to look at. This is particularly useful for volunteers.


There is no doubting that digital skills in an important consideration for your non-profit. When embarking on assessing and building the digital skills in your organisation, here is some important things to remember:

  • Audit your skills – sensitively identify groups and individuals who can contribute more with the right digital skills.
  • Be prepared to invest – addressing the digital skills could involve learning tools, training, HR and line manager time, but building your team’s digital skills can result in happier more productive workforce.
  • Make it a team sport – bring together senior leadership, HR functions, line managers and other agents of change in your approach.
  • Be long term, be varied – Develop rolling learning approaches that work across different learning styles, backgrounds, starting points
  • Invite feedback – open channels for constructive feedback and improvements for your digital projects, systems and working environments.

To find out more, watch our webinar on demand on Why digital literacy skills are the hidden success factor for any digital project.

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