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Being online is good for society

Digital inclusion

The more connected people are, the more productive, the happier and the wealthier they are. It’s good for people, and it’s good for the economy.

We have the research to prove it. In June 2014, we hired Just Economics to look at how much being online helped people. They created the Valuing Digital Inclusion report. Take a look at the highlights of the research.

But in a nutshell, they found the value of being online:

  • For new users – £1,064 a year. That’s because they’re more confident, able to save money online, can find better jobs, and aren’t as socially isolated.
  • For advanced users – £1,756 a year. They’re online more and able to do even more with it.
  • For professional users – £3,568 a year. On top of all the benefits an advanced user gets, they’re also able to work remotely and get a premium wage as someone who uses IT at work. 

We get people online

Six million adults in the UK have never been online. Over the last ten years, we’ve been running projects to help rectify that. It’s been a huge success.

One example was our Get IT Together programme – where we run 15 projects across the UK delivering digital skills and inclusion in the heart of local communities. We then got social and economic research company Just Economics to look at the programme and see the social impact it had. They created the report Digital Inclusion: The Social Return on Investment.

What they found backed up what we had always thought:

  • It made a significant return on investment – we put in £420,000, and saw a social return on investment of £1.5 million. (That’s £3.70 for every £1 we invested.)
  • It helped get people using the internet – 78% of people who went through the training were still using the internet three months later.
  • It helped people – with 60% of people saying their confidence had improved. 

And we need your help

We want others to measure their own projects, and see how much it’s helping society. Just Economics came up with a new model, based on the social return on investment (SROI) methodology. When they used it for us, it was the first time SROI had ever been used for projects looking to get people online.

We’ve made that model open to everyone, so you can do the same. Help us build up the evidence to prove how important this work is.