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Assessing Your Staff’s Digital Skills

Organizations often ask us to evaluate their digital staffing models. How do they know what expertise gaps they might have, given how fast the digital landscape changes? What should their strategy be for hiring to fill the knowledge gaps? What work should they tackle with contractors and vendors instead? Which professional development should they invest in for their existing team?

Thanks to NetHope’s latest Nonprofit Digital Teams report (2018), we know that ever-fewer orgs are operating with a single, fully-centralized digital team. Instead, the emerging reality is either:

  1. a hybrid approach, with a central digital hub and pockets of digital expertise distributed throughout the organization; or
  2. an intentional-independent model, with multiple digital centers working across an organization in a tightly coordinated fashion.

Which skills you’ll need - and how they’re distributed among staff - depends on your structure and your strategy. However, you’re likely to need coverage across key knowledge areas like Digital Leadership, Content, Design, Tech, Data & Analytics, Channel-Specific Expertise, and Operations.

So we created this Digital Skills Assessment to help you discern whether you have the in-house skills that you need; focus in on professional development investments for your team; and even determine who your point people should be for different types of digital questions.

Some usage notes:

  1. Skills Checklist (Tab 1): Designed to assess whether your organization has coverage for all of the digital-related tasks and expertise areas that you might need, and to identify gaps where strategic hires, contractors/freelancers, or other vendors could support.
  2. Skills by Staff (Tab 2): This is your person-by-person way of evaluating who has which skills, who can serve as subject matter experts, and where to invest in individuals’ - or team-wide - professional development. While digital folks often need to act as generalists who are self-directed in their learning, organizations are increasingly hiring specialists who can cross-train other staff and raise the entire organization’s working knowledge of baseline digital concepts.

NB: For a discussion of the cultural components that must be in place to run an effective digital-first organization, we also recommend the NetHope Center for the Digital Nonprofit’s excellent Digital Skills Framework. The framework lays out qualities of digital readiness - e.g. Technical Literacy, Highly Adaptive Collaboration, Digital Responsibility - and offers a library of resources and training materials.

We’d love to hear if you use the Digital Skills Assessment and whether/how it works for your organization. We’re all about a culture of feedback, so lay it on us!