English language skills are essential for NGOs, charities, and social enterprises that want to grow and diversify their funding resources. Many organizations, however, do not have the time, ability, or confidence to build their English language capacity.
Organizations that have limited or low English language skills already face increased barriers to finding information, opportunities, and resources that can help them in their work.
(1) According to Ethnologue — the annual reference publication providing statistics on the world’s 7117 living languages — nearly 1.3 billion people speak English as either a primary or secondary language. How do other languages compare by volume?
Due to a large number of factors, it will always be a challenge to determine the precise number of people around the world who are able to communicate in any given language — either as native or secondary communicators, or in terms of speaking and writing ability. Informed guesstimates, however, are possible by aggregating a number of sources.
Spanish (570 million); Arabic (313 million); French (280 million); Portuguese (260 million); Russian (258 million); German (95 million); Italian (65 million); Polish (50 million); Ukrainian (40 million); Romanian (25 million); Dutch (24 million); Hungarian (13 million); Swedish (13 million); Serbian (12 million); Greek (11 million); Danish (11 million); Czech (10 million); Hebrew (9 million); Bulgarian (7 million); Norwegian (5 million); Slovak (5 million); Albanian (5 million); Finnish (4.9 million); Croatian (4.8 million); Bosnian (3.5 million); Lithuanian (2.8 million); Slovenian (2.1 million); Latvian (2 million); Estonian (1.1 million)
(2) According to the widely-used W3Techs web technology tracking survey, English is the natural language used on more than 60% of all Internet website content. By comparison, other languages are used online as follows:
Russian (8.6%), Spanish (4.0%), French (2.6%), German (2.5%), Portuguese (1.7%), Arabic (1.0%), Italian (0.8%), Polish (0.7%), Greek (0.7%), Dutch (0.6%), Hebrew (0.4%), Ukrainian (0.4%), Czech (0.3%), Swedish (0.3%), Romanian (0.2%), Danish (0.2%), Hungarian (0.2%), Serbian (0.2%), Finnish (0.1%), Slovak (0.1%), Bulgarian (0.1%), Slovenian (0.1%), Norwegian (0.1%), Croatian (0.1%), Lithuanian (0.1%), Estonian (0.1%), Latvian (0.1%)
Slightly over half of the homepages of the most visited websites on the World Wide Web are in English. This includes websites for NGO funders, resource providers, and other information sources.
As more donors and funders engage with social impact organizations through a wider range of online channels and social media platforms, English language skills become increasingly necessary.
Business English for NGOs provides English language writing and training services for social impact organizations in a number of areas. Let us know how we can assist your organization.