Not for profits have a digital skills shortage on their hands
The Sector > Workforce > Not for profits have a digital skills shortage on their hands

Not for profits have a digital skills shortage on their hands

by Freya Lucas

November 06, 2019

An annual report that explores technology used in not-for-profits (NFPs) across Australia and New Zealand has found that while NFPs 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.


Created collaboratively by Infoxchange, Connecting Up and TechSoup New Zealand the annual Digital Technology in the Not-for-Profit Sector report provides a comprehensive look at technology used in NFPs across Australia and New Zealand.


The report found that 64 per cent of NFP organisations are ‘less than satisfied’ with the way they use technology, and that 54 per cent of staff are ‘not confident’ or only ‘a bit confident’ when using new technology. 


Despite the lack of confidence among their staff, and the lack of satisfaction with technology use, nearly half of the 492 organisations surveyed (40 per cent) said they were not currently offering their staff any opportunities to improve their digital skills.


The report surveyed NFP 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 said that the report not only provides a valuable snapshot on how the broader NFP sector is performing, it also provides 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,” he added.


Acknowledging the increasing pressures in the NFP climate to “do more with less”, Mr Spriggs said it was nonetheless important for NFPs to “put the time and effort in now to develop staff capability and improve systems (to) see enormous benefits to their service delivery and impact in the future.”


The report also found that:


  • 41 per cent of NFPs said their current approach to technology is “challenged” or “basic”


  • NFPs spend an average of 6 per cent of their operating budget on technology, which is on par with small to medium businesses across the region. However, disability services spend 50 per cent less than the average


  • More NFPs are moving to the cloud than ever before – 43 per cent have already made the move, up from 35 per cent in 2018.


  • Most NFPs (89 per cent) are now using at least one social media platform, with 87 per cent using Facebook followed by 33 per cent using Instagram. 


  • NFPs are embracing new and emerging technology, with 48 per cent using tools such as mobile apps, assistive technology, data-driven solutions and artificial intelligence.


Mr Spriggs said the findings of the report are important because of the vital need to have technology embedded in any modern organisation. Having the right technology, he said, means that organisations can save time and money, deliver their services more effectively and better understand the impact they’re having.


“The success of any NFP in the future is going to be largely dependent on how well they are able to embrace technology.” he added. 


The full report may be accessed here, with additional data available on request. 

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