Bridging the Digital Divide: Empowering Small Charities in the AI Era

29 May 2024

As technology increasingly impacts every aspect of our lives, a significant digital divide threatens to leave disadvantaged communities behind. In a rapidly evolving landscape where efficiency and innovation are paramount, small charities which support these communities often lack the resources and skills to capitalise on digital tools. This growing knowledge gap risks hampering their ability to create meaningful societal change.

At Neighbourly, we recognise the urgency of addressing this issue and have joined forces with Microsoft to launch DigitalBridge - an innovative volunteering campaign designed for grassroots charities to build knowledge through digital skills training.

Recent research revealed that two-thirds of charities are eager to benefit from emerging technologies like ChatGPT to streamline operations. However, a significant 64% admitted being unsure of where to begin with Generative AI. This knowledge gap represents a major hurdle preventing organisations from harnessing technology's full potential.

In the words of Bev Sykes, Founder of Just Good Friends, "Our small charity would be really interested in learning more about AI and chat tools...we're struggling to move forward in certain areas because of our lack of knowledge." 

DigitalBridge is our commitment to unlocking new opportunities for our network, channelling corporate volunteers' expertise directly into local charities across sectors like youth development, poverty relief and community enrichment. Through this, participating good causes will gain training in digital tools to drive more efficiencies.

Our hope is that charities can fully embrace AI as a catalyst for creativity, strategic thinking, and accelerating positive impacts. Microsoft's comprehensive online training resources have been tailored specifically for the programme and will provide a launchpad for charity staff to build AI proficiencies and understand the opportunities. Armed with greater knowledge, charity teams can not only improve their core operations but also pay that knowledge forward; they'll be equipped to provide essential digital literacy training to the beneficiaries they support – a powerful tool for fostering inclusivity and opportunity.

As we celebrate major volunteering milestones like Volunteers Week and The Big Help Out this June, DigitalBridge harnesses the spirit of collective action. Through the involvement of corporate partners like Virgin Media O2, Hays, Overbury and Morgan Lovell, Motability, and Redcliffe & Temple BID and their workforces, we can ensure that smaller charities aren’t left behind as society embraces the next great technological leap.

DigitalBridge Business Enquiries