We come across organisations on a daily basis struggling to fully utilise digital and tech, due to outdated devices, unfit for purpose systems and lack of inhouse skills.

It doesn't have to be that way!  Even though it may take time, you can get to a better place and creating a tech and digital budget will really help you realise this.


Why create a digital and tech budget?

There are lots of reasons why creating a budget can help your organisation including:

  • Setting budgets & apportioning costs e.g. across different projects
  • Planning and costing the ideal tech set up to give you a goal to work towards
  • Providing accurate costings to use in fundraising – whether that's to include in funding bids or corporate asks etc
  • Ensuring you’re getting best value for money and accessing any discounts you’re eligible for
  • Rationalising tools – once you see costs together in one place you can start to consider whether you need all of these applications and platforms
  • Understanding cost implications as you grow – some of your tech / digital costs will be fixed whislt others may have a cost per person and so will increase
  • Future proofing your organisation – ensuring you can be as efficient, effective and as relevant as you can be going forwards


What should you include?

This can vary depending on the size of your organisation and your operating model. Here are some ideas for budget lines to include.

  • Costs for staff & volunteers to work:
    • Devices & accessories e.g. laptops, monitors and mobile phones
    • Software & systems e.g M365 or equivalent licences
  • Office infrastructure (if you have premises):
    • Networks including cabling, switches etc
    • Broadband including routers and access points
    • Telephone systems
  • Organisational wide systems and platforms:
    • Website
    • Monitoring & evaluation database
    • Finance
    • HR
    • Fundraising
  •  Support, development and training including:
    • Data protection & cyber security
    • Website
    • Database


Factors affecting your budget

There are many factors that could affect how you budget for digital and tech including:

  • Organisational structure - if you are a registered charity are you accessing charity discounts for hardware and software you could be eligible for?
  • Numbers of staff and working patterns - how will you apportion overall costs across posts and projects?
  • Volunteers vs trustees and paid staff – are there differences in licence costs?
  • Premises or remote and homeworking - do you need to contribute costs towards homeworking set up?
  • Short term projects vs longer term funding - how will your budget flex if projects come and go?
  • VAT status – can you claim back VAT when purchasing kit or are costs included in restricted funded budgets


An example budget

Here's part of an example budget for a small charity with a total of 20 staff and volunteers.  We've added a Notes column to add further information for each budget entry.  We've included this example in the budget template below too.

Image of an example budget. Option to download via link below.


Our budget template

You can use our downloadable Excel budget template either to:

  • Just give you an idea of what to include and then to add these budget lines to your own finance system
  • Overwrite and save as your own budget - adding your costs and adjusting formulae as necessary


Download the budget template


Using the templates was great and having suggestions made me think what was missing from my budget. I'll share with our trustee treasurer and financial advisor and use when planning budgets for projects.

Feedback from a small charity in London


A note on Excel.  We've used basic multiplication and division formulae to calculate totals and costs per users and then we've multiplied by 1.2 to include VAT where relevant.  We've also used Absolute Cell References for the number of staff / volunteers optional feature.

We run regular Excel training so if you'd like to gain more advanced skills see our training page for further information about upcoming sessions.


Next steps

Once you have your tech & digital costs in a spreadsheet why not think about:

  • Adding any subscription renewal dates so that you're on top of these and can avoid paying for applications you no longer need to use
  • Documenting User names, Passwords & Key email contacts for budget items as appropriate. It's useful to have these all in one place for authorised staff to refer to, avoiding issues when key people leave