Charities embrace tech in COVID, but there’s still a long road ahead
3 November 2021 at 4:22 pm
“There is still room for improvement in digitally enabled service transformation, particularly when it comes to the use of digital channels to reach vulnerable community members”
Despite more than half of NFPs being satisfied with the way they are using technology and many services switching online because of the pandemic, new research shows around 25 per cent don’t have a plan in place to improve their IT systems.
The annual tech report, released by the Infoxchange Group on Wednesday, found that the COVID-19 pandemic had profoundly changed the way NFPs were using technology to deliver services.
Using insights from 600 NFP organisations across New Zealand and Australia, the report revealed a significant shift in the number of organisations now using cloud technology to improve productivity and collaboration – an increase from 58 per cent last year to 69 per cent this year.
It said that even though the pandemic had made it harder for the sector to deliver critical services, there had been areas of significant improvement over the year, with 56 per cent of respondents reporting that staff could confidently use technology and business systems, up from 51 per cent in 2020.
But, there are improvements to be made. The report said there was an urgent need for improvement in information security practices, with the rollout of multi-factor authentication and security awareness training to staff being a major priority.
Nearly half of all organisations did not have an effective information security plan in place, less than a quarter had any kind of digital transformation plan in place, and only 38 per cent of organisations reported that their primary information system allowed them to understand the impact of their service.
As well as this, 25 per cent of respondents felt they were completely or largely unprepared to support staff working from home.
Investment is critical
David Spriggs, the CEO of the Infoxchange Group, said that with so much of service delivery happening online, now was the time for organisations to invest in improving digital technology.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has really emphasised how important it is for NFPs to have effective, reliable technology in place so they can better support communities and make the biggest impact possible,” Spriggs said.
“While we did witness significant acceleration in digital ways of working over the past 12 months, there is still room for improvement in digitally enabled service transformation, particularly when it comes to the use of digital channels to reach vulnerable community members.”
Positively, the report did reveal that it was a top priority for many organisation’s to see staff develop their digital skills, alongside making further improvements to the way teams collaborate as hybrid work environments become standard practice.
Spriggs said that to assist this development, insights from the 2020 and 2021 reports will be used to inform Infoxchange’s Digital Transformation Hub, launched back in July to help build the digital capability of the sector.
“We know this will assist the sector in delivering services more effectively, improve staff productivity and better serve vulnerable communities,” he said.
See the full report here.