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In an independent assessment of charities’ online websites, fewer than 2% achieved an ‘excellent’ rating. Two in five are failing. And their futures could be at stake.
For many charities, the pandemic has turned the issue of income from a constant challenge to an existential threat. As the UK leaves lockdown, the survival of many charities will rely heavily on their ability to leverage technology and their online capabilities. So how well is the sector equipped to manage?
In a first-of-its-kind study by Pixeled Eggs for the BIMA Charities Council, Charities in Need: The State of Website Performance in the Third Sector audited 411 small and mid-sized charities in the UK and assessed how well they achieve digital best practice on their websites.
The results show that a sector already in crisis is poorly placed to use digital as a way of bouncing back.
Researchers assessed charity websites based on their usability, platform and technology performance across mobile and desktop devices. They also assessed information seeker, supporter and beneficiary journeys.
Each was graded A-E (where A was excellent) and each charity received an overall grading.
Summarising the results as, “Below par performance from an exceptional sector,” Mark Iremonger of the BIMA Charities Council and Chair of Pixeled Eggs, said: “We were constantly surprised by the picture our study painted. Smaller charities seem better able to deliver an excellent or good user experience. Being a larger charity or having a greater income is no indicator of a great experience. What is clear from the data is that bespoke design gives charities the best chance of creating better online experiences.”
Giulia Merlo, Co-Chair of BIMA Charities Council said, “This is a critical time for the charity sector. Post-lockdown, many charities will be pinning their hopes on the ability of their websites to drive donations. Yet our study shows that many are set up to fail, and unless they take urgent action – particularly regarding mobile accessibility – many of them are going be left disappointed.”
Chris Flood, Co-Chair of BIMA Charities Council added, “Charities have lots of competing demands on their money – not least funding the causes they were established to support. But this report shows a stark contrast between those who are creating a great online experience and make donating easy, and those who are not. Without renewed focus on and investment in their digital offering, the future for many charities could be bleak.”
The BIMA Charities Council was established to connect third sector organisations with best in class agencies and private sector companies. Its work helps every charity get more from digital, regardless of size, reach or income.
BIMA is the UK’s largest digital and tech community with 5,000+ members spanning agencies, freelancers, academia, charities and brands. Across the UK, BIMA events and initiatives help to drive new thinking, encourage collaboration, build knowledge and recognise achievement. And through its 21 councils the BIMA community works to drive the digital and tech agenda on issues ranging from AI, data and sustainability to apprenticeships, inclusion and diversity.
Pixeled Eggs put insight-led digital experiences in easy reach of charities and brands to help them succeed in digital. Based in London, they are a multi-discipline team of strategic, technical, creative, data and project management experts who work in an iterative, collaborative process that puts user testing and prototyping at its heart
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