How Can Businesses Tackle Digital Poverty?

People working in an office with computers

Without these skills, many people risk losing out on access to education, job opportunities, and healthcare services. They’re also likely to experience a decline in their mental wellbeing.

Digital poverty can look like:

  • Not being able to afford broadband
  • Limited or no internet access
  • Not owning or having access to a computer/phone
  • No opportunities to learn digital skills 

We have previously discussed how even Charities are affected by Digital Poverty and how it can limit their functionality and negatively impact their  fundraising strategy.

Did you know?

Over 1.7 million UK households don’t have access to the internet 

83% of UK adults consider using digital devices important to accessing essential services such as GP appointments or local government services 

 1 in 5 children did not have access to a device such as a laptop during the pandemic

Post-pandemic, the digital divide has grown more severe, with lower socio-economic areas being disproportionately affected. Third Sector organisations have now identified a growing need for access to digital training in these areas and have begun to work with their local communities to tackle the problem. 

Being a responsible business, means being active in the community!

Business can give back to their communities by sharing already established skills and any extra resources they may have. 

As these kind of CSR initiatives are more widely recognised, businesses are finding ways to demonstrate their company values whilst leaving a positive impact on society. One example is the company engaging with their local community through a charity-partnership that aligns with their values. 
 

How to find a charity and start tackling Digital Poverty

You could start by reaching out to them to build a mutually beneficial relationship that works to tackle issues like digital exclusion, supported by strategies found in our corporate fundraising sector guidance. Think about what the charity would need from you.  

  • Can you provide them with access to digital training? 
  • Can you share your audience reach to boost cause awareness? 
  • Can you help them to improve their fundraising strategy?

Consider how you might support their fundraising, and help support their services? Could you sponsor their contactless donation devices, promote their cause in your business spaces, and start talking about your value-aligned partnership. Our Donation Station helps to promote partnerships through contactless fundraising and branding while providing a steady income stream for the cause. 

 

How to support charities using your business skills

A recent report shows that only 21% of non-profit service professionals rate their customer service at excellent, compared to 42% for their corporate counterparts which shows how businesses have a leg-up, not just in digital but in other areas like customer service as a result. 

What a brilliant opportunity for businesses!

If companies are at an advantage when it comes to digital, they’re able to use this position as a source of good for their local communities. This can be defined as Corporate Digital Responsibility. 

Picture this… 

You are a business with expertise in digital 

You collaborate with a charity or community organisation to help share your expertise with those experiencing digital exclusion 

The charity or community then gain digital knowledge and skills  

This in-turn opens up job opportunities and helps to bridge the digital divide  

Your company then benefits from CSR, showcasing  your values to your employees and customers

Tackling digital poverty in communities

Post-pandemic, there has been a realisation that not everyone has the same opportunities and access when it comes to digital.

Covid restrictions meant:

  • Contacting family and friends required a phone or computer
  • Students were asked to learn from home via a laptop or computer
  • Staff were asked to work from home where possible via laptop or computer
  • Services such as banking, GP appointments and benefits moved exclusively online

“Partnerships with local charities, business and civil society organisations can help to better position local authorities to address local digital needs and can provide more social value return on investment.”

– The British Academy

Impact Awards - Who's tackling Digital Poverty?

There are a number of organisations and campaigns across the UK already pulling down the barriers to digital, to reduce digital poverty and improve skills. Luckily we got a front seat (and a nomination for our Donation Station) at the Impact Awards, where many were recognised for their work!

Here are some of our highlights:

Digital Poverty Alliance

Digital Poverty Alliance were the sponsor for the Digital Poverty category at the event and have long recognised the need to spread awareness around the topic. Their mission is to end Digital Poverty by 2030 through collaboration with like-minded organisations.

NHS: Midlands Partnership Foundation Trust

The winner of the Digital Poverty category, this initiative helps patients to access online consultation and socially engage with family and friends through technology that requires low level digital skills. By simplifying the process and removing the access barrier they are helping to reduce appointment travel times, increase patient wellbeing and help tackle isolation. 

We Are Digital

Working to end digital poverty, this company shares their knowledge and resources with the UK’s most disadvantaged. They have partnered with businesses such as Lloyds Bank and Santander, as well as agencies like The Department for Education.  

Internet Matters

As children gain access to the internet, their online safety needs to be addressed. However, not all parents or care-givers have the knowledge to limit or deal with online threats. This non-profit aims to educate younger generations through engaging teachable content, available to teachers across the country.  

Currys – Tech4Families

In collaboration with Digital Poverty Alliance, Currys has made it possible for their customers to donate to the Tech4Families scheme. These donations help fund the buying and distributing of laptops for families in the UK in aid of digital inclusion. 

We were honoured to be shortlisted as finalists in the Social Transformation category at the Digital Leaders 2023 Impact Awards. 

Our Donation Station was recognised for it’s adaptable and innovative design, as well as it’s ability to help Charities and Businesses successfully fundraise through contactless technology.

The event was full of incredible organisations, looking to make the world a better place through digital transformation – it was a fabulous night with lots of important conversations!

Who are GWD?

We help socially-minded organisations transition to digital systems, building stronger relationships through impactful products and services.

Our experience goes back two decades, with a foundation building and providing critical digital services and products for the financial services and retail industries.

With a long-proven ability to handle challenging projects and a team of trusted experts, we work hard to solve problems and deliver change that helps others.

Donation Station Lite

Discover our latest range of contactless products

The Lite range features two of our most accessible products; the Pocket and the Express.

Built with simplicity in mind, these small-scale, portable devices are ideal for collecting donations on the go. 

Attract Loop

Part of the Donation Station’s key visual design features, the Attract Loop are screensavers purposefully designed to run on a loop. Created by GWD with your input, they use visuals or photography, plus an emotive call to action, to catch the donors interest and lead them towards donation through interactive storytelling.

Customisation

The entire Donation Station is open to branding, from external display to on-screen logos, photography and your brand look and feel.

Our design support service can adapt visuals and graphics to suit your brand.

Wifi or 4G/5G Data SIM

Where you need it, the Donation Station can be supplied with Data or Wifi connectivity.

If using the device in a remote location or at an event, it’s worth considering the signal strength available – GWD can support you to ensure there’s a smooth running operation on the day.

Safe & Secure

All data is transmitted with full encryption, so you can be sure that all individual donor data is safely used, in accordance with GDPR regulations.

Choice of Donations

Giving choice on where the donor wants their money to be spent empowers them further. The Donation Station asks this question and gives charities freedom to present their causes and activities as separate campaigns.

Gift Aid Up Sell

An integrated Gift Aid function on all Donation Stations helps boost fundraising a further 25%. This tax relief can be claimed from HRMC from any donor that supplies their contact details and makes a declaration, as a UK tax payer. The Donation Station is designed to encourage and secure this additional fundraising income easily, through simple reports that can be downloaded and submitted to HMRC as part of a Gift Aid claim.