The Case for Digital

Provide the evidence

To get private, public and charity organisations to sign up to the cause, you need to demonstrate the business case for how widening digital participation could benefit them specifically. Consider commissioning a report to to assess the “digital dividend” of a networked nation. The UK team did this and The Economic Case for Digital Inclusion identified benefits like these:

  • Total economic benefit from getting everyone online is estimated at £22bn
  • Government could save an estimated £900m per year with even modest levels of switchover to digital transactions
  • If currently digitally excluded employed people got online, they would deliver between £560 million and £1,680 million of overall economic benefit
  • People living in 3.6 million low income, digitally excluded households are missing out on annual savings of over £1 billion a year from shopping and paying bills online

Make the case

Consider producing additional “case books” describing the business and/or social case for change for specific target groups that stand to benefit from increased levels of digital participation.  Include examples of what others have done and recommendations for action.  For example, the UK team published:

  • The Survive and Thrive Case Book, giving examples of how charities can make the best use of technology to raise money, deliver services and network.
  • Getting On: a manifesto for older people in a networked nation, focusing on how to help older people get online
  • Digital by Default 2012: the case for digital housing, providing a business case for social housing providers

Spread the word

  • Once you have the facts and figures, communicate the “digital dividend” message as widely as possible to key influencers in the public, private and third sectors. Be ambitious about who to approach: target senior government ministers, top civil servants and the chief executives of major companies. Send copies of your reports to all members of parliament, and take advantage of high-profile industry conferences, annual charity conferences etc to communicate the message.  Race Online 2012 got key influencers on board to build momentum and credibility before moving to a full scale partnership recruitment campaign.
  • Consider setting up a “people’s task force” of individuals who have all experienced digital exclusion and can speak compellingly about how the internet has improved their lives. Their role is to help test and inform ideas through workshops and focus interviews, and they can also help represent the campaign at meetings and events.