An organisation needs enough people with the right skills, knowledge and experience to manage work in a 21st century (digital) market effectively.

This means both bringing in a specific digital expertise as well as upskilling staff to use relevant digital skills and ways of working in their day-to-day tasks and activities. If this is done well, it will help organisations adapt their mindsets, technology and processes to the specific contexts they work in, and achieve the most impact.

Organisations also need a structure that makes those people and skills accessible where and when they’re needed. There are different models for structuring digital expertise in an organisation. The most common are:

  • Centralised. A multi-skilled team of people deliver digital strategy, technology, communications, products and services.
  • Hub and spoke. A central digital team facilitates the implementation of digital strategies and processes. Specialist digital roles exist in teams around the organisation. These might include digital fundraiser, digital campaigner, and digital marketeer.
  • De-centralised. There is no digital team, but there may be some top level digital strategic roles which work across the organisation. Relevant digital (implementation) roles exist in each team. For example, digital technology development may sit in the IT team, and digital content in the communications team.

The success of these models depends on the maturity of an organisation. For hub and spoke or decentralised structures to work, an organisation needs to have a solid set of processes and systems, and an established approach to digital product development. Without these, decentralising digital operations will lead to patchy and siloed digital outputs.

Things to think about

  • How many people across all the teams in your organisation have digital skills and expertise?
  • How many people who are not in a digital team or who don’t have ‘digital’ in their title have taken on digital responsibilities which are relevant to their work?
  • Do you have an agreed set of digital behavioural or skills competencies which are a part of every job in your organisation?

Capacity: five levels of maturity

1. Responsibility

One or more digital staff look after the website and email. They may not have a digital background or skillset.

2. Expertise

Basic digital functions are covered by people with specialist skills and experience.

3. Team

There’s a central team of digital specialists, with some digital delivery in other teams.

4. Function

There’s a senior digital lead and a team, with growing digital opportunities in other teams.

5. Capability

Senior digital leadership leads strategy across the organisation with effective delivery teams.


This article goes into more depth about the different ways of structuring digital in organisations.

Average score

Overall, for the capacity competency, organisations average out at level 2.7.

Scores by year

These graphs show the average scores for this competency over the last few years, expressed as a percentage.

  • 2020 58% 58%
  • 2019 56% 56%
  • 2018 56% 56%
  • 2017 52% 52%
  • 2016 46% 46%