How can you assess digital maturity in charities?

In the last few years we’ve seen a plethora of digital codes, tools, principles and frameworks to help us define what successful digital transformation, leadership and practice looks like in the charity sector.

However, I’m also acutely aware that both charities and funders can struggle to implement best practice, whatever stage they are at, or even know what that should look like or how to translate codes and principles in to their everyday work and operations. The quantity of tools and resources available online isn’t helping, pointing in any number of directions as to what you should prioritise for development and what good looks like.

To this end, I’m working with CAST and Nissa Ramsay to identify a consistent set of standards to define, describe and assess the journey towards digital maturity. We believe that we need to identify common language, descriptions, areas of focus and definitions of success (or good practice) across these tools.

We are exploring if there are different benchmarks for success and development journeys that we can expect across the social sector and whether these are dependent on the size or scale of a charities’ operations and digital services. An organisation of 15 staff for example might have very different digital skills internally, compared to one with hundreds of staff and yet can have the same digital maturity.

To kick-start the process we’ve bought together over 50 different guides, codes, self-assessment tools, research papers and well-known blogs that focus on digital maturity, digital capacity and digital transformation. You can see this list of Digital Maturity Frameworks here on Airtable.

You can see on these snapshot gallery views that so far we’ve already found:

  • 15 Diagnostic Tools for organisations wanting to assess and benchmark their digital or data maturity

  • 25 Frameworks specific to charities or the social sector including diagnostic tools and other formats describing, documenting or reporting on research about digital maturity.

  • 15 Frameworks specific to digital service development. Interestingly, these aren’t the same as the two lists above (have a look at the Digital Maturity Frameworks Overview on Airtable)

Diagnostic Tools to Assess Digital Maturity (in businesses and charities)

Now we need your help.

We want to make sure we’ve identified the guides that are used most by charities when planning a digital project, undergoing digital transformation or advocating for further digital resources.

  • What tools and guides have you used recently to assess or reflect on what you’re doing well and where the gaps are around digital in your team or organisation
  • Have you recently come across something online that you’ve sent to your team, Directors or Trustees to flag what you need to improve, think about or change to improve your services or organisation
  • What resources would you recommend to other charities starting out on their digital journey?
  • What resources do you recommend to other charities who already have a great digital team in place?
  • Can you share with us what you have used to assess or benchmark your own digital skills on Twitter (#digitalmaturity, do tag me) send Nissa or Innovation Unboxed a Twitter DM, email us or simply drop the basic details in this form and we’ll continue updating and editing the lists (this is a ‘live’ work in progress— so the links above will continue to be up to date).

We’ll be writing future posts about what we learnt from this and hopefully (if this proves useful) announce some exciting plans to build on this later in the year.