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NFPs are reaping benefits of upskilling, so what’s stopping them?


16 September 2020 at 5:57 pm
Maggie Coggan
PwC’s first ever NFP CEO survey reveals the questions charity leaders should be asking themselves when it comes to upskilling, collaboration and growth


Maggie Coggan | 16 September 2020 at 5:57 pm


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NFPs are reaping benefits of upskilling, so what’s stopping them?
16 September 2020 at 5:57 pm

PwC’s first ever NFP CEO survey reveals the questions charity leaders should be asking themselves when it comes to upskilling, collaboration and growth  

Digitally upskilling during COVID-19 has become a bigger priority for charities than ever before, but a lack of resources is holding them back, new research finds. 

While technological change was already reshaping the skills required for charity workers to thrive in a digital world, the outbreak of coronavirus has accelerated the need for NFPs to develop workers’ capabilities. 

Nearly 80 per cent of charity leaders surveyed in PwC’s first NFP CEO survey said that the need for digital upskilling of employees had become a higher priority during COVID-19, and when they did, the benefits were far reaching. 

“One in three large NFPs that have undertaken an upskilling program are seeing greater organisational growth as a result of the program,” the survey said. 

Other benefits included more engaged staff, and higher levels of innovation and productivity among staff. 

The survey also noted that because the charity organisations were more likely to attract people that were innovative and could do more with less, workers who upskilled were of great benefit to their organisations. 

But compared with corporate Australia, NFPs struggled to pull together the resources to upskill their staff. 

Of the charities surveyed, 61 per cent of large charity leaders, and 80 per cent of small charity leaders said lack of resources were their number-one barrier to conduct the upskilling programs they needed. 

It’s time to collaborate 

While the survey found that there was a definite appetite across the NFP sector to give and share, 42 per cent of charities had made no progress, or were not even considering collaborating with academic and government institutions on the skills needed for the future.

This, according to the survey, was a lost opportunity. 

“Collaboration with academic and government institutions can help organisations understand, prepare, develop and build the skills needed for the future,” it said. 

Jane Edwards, PwC’s director of social impact, told Pro Bono News there was also an opportunity for PwC to open up discussions between their clients and the NFP world. 

“This means opening up conversations with our clients about the disproportionate impacts of automation on vulnerable communities and working with the NFP sector to help strengthen digital skills capabilities,” Edwards said.  

5 questions NFP leaders should be asking about collaboration: 

  • What opportunities are there to collaborate on best practice around an overarching strategic approach to technology?
  • What opportunities are there to explore unlikely partnerships to accelerate digital upskilling
  • What is the role of universities, business and government to work collaboratively with NFPs on core skill development?
  • How can NFPs work with technology providers and other subject matter experts to get better value from existing technology and drive deeper adoption?
  • How can NFPs energise a culture of open communication, internal collaboration and ongoing support on skills of the future?

Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

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

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