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Youth services struggling the most as new report reveals not-for-profit digital skills shortage

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Infoxchange, Connecting Up and TechSoup New Zealand have released their annual “Digital Technology in the Not-for-Profit Sector” report today, providing a comprehensive look at not-for-profit technology use across Australia and New Zealand.

It found that while not-for-profits are getting better at adopting technology such as cloud-based systems and tools to improve their online presence, many are still struggling to keep up with the digital world through a lack of skills, knowledge and resources.

The report found that 64% of not-for-profit organisations are less than satisfied with the way they use technology, and that 54% of staff are “not confident” or only “a bit confident” when using new technology. Youth services are particularly struggling, scoring the lowest on average across skills, satisfaction and approach to technology.

And despite half of the 492 organisations surveyed identifying staff capability as one of their biggest challenges when it comes to technology, 40% said there were not currently offering their staff any opportunities to improve their digital skills.

Now in its fourth year, this is the first report released since Infoxchange, Connecting Up and TechSoup New Zealand officially joined forces in November 2018.

The report surveyed not-for-profit organisations from a broad range of service areas across Australia and New Zealand, and covers topics such as information systems, infrastructure, staff capability, online presence and emerging technologies.

Infoxchange Group CEO David Spriggs says the report provides a valuable snapshot on how the sector is performing, while also providing a benchmark for organisations to check themselves against.

“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,” David says.

“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.”

The report also found that:

  • Youth services had the lowest average score across three key areas of technology use: organisational approach, staff capability and overall satisfaction. Employment services ranked the highest.
  • Forty-one percent of not-for-profits said their current approach to technology is “challenged” or “basic”.
  • Not-for-profits spend an average of 6% of their operating budget on technology, which is on par with small to medium businesses across the region. However, disability services spend 50% less than the average.
  • More not-for-profits are moving to the cloud than ever before – 43% have already made the move, up from 35% in 2018.
  • Most not-for-profits (89%) are now using at least one social media platform, with 87% using Facebook followed by 33% using Instagram.
  • Not-for-profits are embracing new and emerging technology, with 48% using tools such as mobile apps, assistive technology, data-driven solutions and artificial intelligence.

David says that the report’s findings are important because technology is a vital part of any modern organisation, and not-for-profits are no exception.

“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,” David says.

“The success of any not-for-profit in the future is going to be largely dependent on how well they are able to embrace technology.”

Get the full report

Key findings:

Digital capability & skills

  • Almost two-thirds (64%) of not-for-profits are less than satisfied with the way they use technology.
  • More than half (56%) of not-for-profit staff are either “not confident” or only “a bit confident” in using new technology, and 49% said staff capability was one of their biggest challenges. Despite this, 40% of not-for-profits are not currently offering their staff any opportunities to improve their digital skills.
  • Youth services ranked the lowest overall across the three key areas of technology use: organisational approach, staff capability and overall satisfaction. Employment services ranked the highest.

Spending

  • Not-for-profits spend an average 6% of their operating expenses on technology, which is on par with small to medium businesses across the region.
  • The disability sector spends 50% less on technology than the average not-for-profit. Employment services spend more than twice the average.
  • Budget and funding remains the biggest challenge facing not-for-profits when it comes to technology.

Cloud

  • More not-for-profits are moving to the cloud – 43% have already made the move, up from 35% in the previous report.

Systems

  • While 66% of not-for-profits use a system that allows them to capture valuable client information, only 37% use the system to understand the impact of their services and outcomes.
  • Seven percent of not-for-profits are still using paper documents to store valuable client and stakeholder information.

Online presence

  • Improving online presence remains a major focus for not-for-profits, with half of all respondents saying that improving their website was top priority in the coming year.
  • Most not-for-profits (89%) are now using at least one social media platform, with 87% using Facebook followed by 33% using Instagram.
  • Only 15% of not-for-profits are making use of Google Ad grants to advertise online.

Innovation

  • Not-for-profits are embracing new and emerging technology, with 48% using tools such as mobile apps, assistive technology, data-driven solutions and artificial intelligence.

 

See how your organisation is performing compared to similar services with our interactive analysis by service area

Filed in: Media releases | Tagged as: Tech report

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