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It’s a digital world, but charities aren’t living in it

30 October 2019 at 5:34 pm
Maggie Coggan
Over half of all charity staff surveyed don’t feel confident using new technology 

Maggie Coggan | 30 October 2019 at 5:34 pm


It’s a digital world, but charities aren’t living in it
30 October 2019 at 5:34 pm

Over half of all charity staff surveyed don’t feel confident using new technology 

A lack of digital skills, knowledge and resources are holding charities back in the digital age and affecting service delivery, new research shows. 

The Infoxchange, Connecting Up and TechSoup New Zealand annual report on how the Australian and New Zealand NFP sectors used technology found 64 per cent of NFP organisations were less than satisfied with the way they used technology. 

Over half of all charity staff surveyed reported not feeling confident when using new technology.   

Youth services are particularly struggling, scoring the lowest across the three key areas of organisational approach, staff capability and satisfaction. 

Disability services were also found to spend 50 per cent less on technology than the average NFP.  

Despite half of the 492 organisations reporting that staff capability was one of the biggest challenges when it came to technology, 40 per cent of these were not offering their staff any training to improve their digital skills. 

Infoxchange Group CEO David Spriggs said that technology was a vital part of any modern organisation, and NFPs were no exception – especially if they wanted to improve on service delivery. 

“We know that having the right technology means that organisations can save time and money, deliver their services more effectively and better understand the impact they’re having,” Spriggs said. 

The report also found that more NFPs than ever are moving to cloud-based data storing systems, and nearly half of all charities surveyed were embracing new technology such as mobile apps, assistive technology and artificial intelligence.

Nearly 90 per cent of NFPs are also now using at least one social media platform, with 87 per cent using Facebook, followed by 33 per cent using Instagram. 

The biggest challenge for charities to invest in new technologies was small budgets and a lack of funding. 

But the report noted that there was a growing number of charities that were able to attract more funding by using technology to help staff work more effectively and better support clients, members and stakeholders.   

Spriggs said the report provided the sector with important benchmarks for organisations to check themselves against and improve on.  

“It’s vital for our sector to understand where the opportunities are to improve, so we can ensure no one is left behind and we’re all reaping the full benefits that our digital world has to offer,” he said. 

“Our sector is under increasing pressure to do more with less, but we know that not for profits that put in the time and effort now to develop staff capability and improve systems will see enormous benefits to their service delivery and impact in the future.”

Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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