The New Reality is a research study about how digital technology will deliver the next step-change in social impact.

The study is based on interviews with over 50 senior leaders and digital experts from both inside and outside the non-profit sector. Huge thanks to all the contributors for their time and insight. 


The Research Themes


Leaders of all types have a role to play in delivering digital transformation, but the sector is crying out for more inspirational change-makers at the top to help guide the sector through the next few years of change.

Read the full theme on Leadership


Don’t be fooled by the word ‘digital’ in ‘digital transformation’ - this is a culture change process at its heart. This theme explores how to achieve the new culture needed to thrive in this new reality.

Read the full theme on Culture


After years struggling with legacy IT,  a new generation of tools is emerging. This theme asks: What kind of relationship with technology do we want for our organisations? And what kind of people do we need to deliver it?

Read the full theme on Infrastructure


This theme offers three models that non-profits can use to experiment with technology-enabled ideas for the future, and explains why organisations who are not investing in R&D risk major disruption in the next 5 years.

Read the full theme on Innovation


This theme explores what’s holding organisations back from both getting and giving investment to support transformation work, and reviewing the available options put forward by the New Reality’s contributors.

Read the full theme on Funding

sERVICE Delivery

Our vision of digital to date has been heavily focused on digital fundraising and marketing. Whilst valuable, the real prize is in using technology to deliver social impact through digital services - a journey that we’ve only just begun.

Read the full theme on Service delivery

Need help persuading others about digital transformation? 

Try The New Reality Takeaways


In addition to the in-depth insights from the research themes. The New Reality also includes some pithy content takeaways summarising each theme, offering killer quotes from research interviews, and outlining some next steps. Please take and reuse remembering to credit The New Reality when you do. 

A presentation sharing 50 of the snappiest quotes from interviews

A presentation sharing 50 of the snappiest quotes from interviews

A poster sharing 20 of the top pieces of advice given during the sturd

A poster sharing 20 of the top pieces of advice given during the sturd



The research includes insight from digital thought leaders and experts from the commercial and third sectors, including CEOS from a number of major UK charities, and senior executives from Google, the BBC, British Heart Foundation, Diabetes UK, the RSPB, Tesco, Shelter, Esmee Fairbarn, Parkinson’s UK, Nominet Trust, Youthnet, the Big Issue, Comic Relief, and the Government Digital Service. 

The study was conducted independently and not for profit by Julie Dodd

The New Reality is designed to 

  1. Provoke and equip further conversation about the opportunities offered through digital technology to create permanent sector change.
  2. Provide practical and stretching next steps which individuals and organisations can take to create change at scale.  
Cover of the full report

Cover of the full report

Cover of the executive summary

Cover of the executive summary

Some nice things people are saying about The New Reality

This report highlights how delivering this change within typical charity structures and resources brings additional challenges, and most helpfully gives some clear advice on how to address it
— Kay Boycott, CEO, Asthma UK
I punched the air when I read your beautifully crafted paper!
— Charity consultant
Hugely inspiring research project. Clear, sensible steps to enable the digital shift required to affect change quickly - no matter what the size or sector of an organisation.”
— Emily Beach, Digital portfolio lead, Bupa Global

Get in touch

Please do get in touch if you'd like to talk to Julie about The New Reality - or get some help with your digital transformation programme.