One of the biggest challenges facing the non-profit sector is attracting staff and volunteers with the right skills and then retaining them.

The Charity Digital Skills Report 2018 shows that the skills gap continues to widen. Developing and retaining talent has therefore become even more of a priority for the sector. 65% of charities say they believe that developing digital skills will help to retain staff. This is an 8% increase from 12 months previous when 57% of charities identified digital skills training as a priority.

A big advantage non-profits have is the ability to foster employee commitment around the organisation’s mission. Employees want to be able to use their skills and abilities to make a difference to their organisation’s cause. By sharing the ‘big picture’ with employees, managers are better able to help employees connect their roles to the mission and enable them to feel more engaged.

Creating an open, creative culture

A digital culture embraces information and insight and recognises the true talents of the individual – such as creativity and entrepreneurship. It transforms both the organisation and the working experience of staff. It entails flexibility, responsiveness and adaptability from both parties. A strong digital culture will:

  • Support collaboration through access and availability of data from anywhere
  • Use familiar productivity tools so employees can focus on core work
  • Promote flexible working

By adopting the latest digital technologies and transforming corporate culture, there are considerable benefits: a flexible team uses time more productively, is more collaborative and generally more satisfied so more likely to stay in the role. Digital transformation means enterprises can harness efficiencies by helping people work better together. This reduces the pressure to purely assess employees in terms of cost and overhead.

Simplifying the volunteer process

Many non-profit organisations are heavily dependent upon volunteers. Recruiting volunteers can be a complicated and time-consuming process. With limited resources, it is often a challenge for non-profit organisations to attract and retain volunteers with the right experience and skillsets.

It is important that not for profit organisations make the volunteering process as easy and enjoyable as possible. Digital technology helps motivate and retain precious volunteering resources. Volunteers should be able to access all the information and documentation they require to do their work from a single platform. Easy-to-use portals, for example, will provide them with the right information in a quick and intuitive way. They should be able to communicate and co-ordinate activities with fellow volunteers as simply and easily as possible. In other words, technology should enhance – not hamper – the volunteering experience.

Attracting the digitally savvy

Attracting talent with the right digital skill sets who can help charities transform is key. This can be a positive experience for both the organisation and the volunteer/staff member. Employee and volunteers can help non-profits identify where and how to change, and what technologies to adopt. For the individual, it is an opportunity to hone skills, build experience and enhance their attractiveness for potential future employers. It is a win-win for both parties.

Girlguiding has transformed its volunteer experience through digital transformation. Logging into Girlguiding’s new self-service membership solution gives volunteers and staff access to membership enquiries and existing member data to update personal information. A training website provides help files, videos and webinars to help volunteer users. The portal provides seamless on-boarding of new volunteers, with tasks being completed in just a few clicks. It is now easier for unit leaders to organise events as they simply add the event into the portal. This transformed online experience has helped to engage and retain Girlguiding’s volunteers.

To learn more about the digital skills gap in the charity sector, download our Not for Profit Whitepaper.