Global survey of the sector reveals COVID-19 accelerated move to the cloud for nonprofits, but gaps remain for planning, skills, and resources.
SAN FRANCISCO, June 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — TechSoup, the leading nonprofit network facilitating distribution of technology solutions to civil society organizations globally, today released findings from the largest global research study of Civil Society Organization ever fielded to understand the data handling practices and digital readiness among nonprofits and to identify ways that organizations like TechSoup can help advance nonprofits’ digital transformation journeys and enhance sector impact.
The study commissioned by TechSoup and supported in part by a generous grant from Okta for Good, surveyed 11,758 Civil Society Organization technology decision makers in 135 countries and across 41 languages. Survey Distribution Partners included the TechSoup Global Network, BoardSource, Centre for Social Impact and Philanthropy, Civicus, Institute for the Development of Social Investment, Technology Association of Grantmakers, RNW Media, Transparency and Accountability Initiative and WINGS.
“Okta for Good is proud to have sponsored this global research project that has provided valuable insight into the digital needs of nonprofits,” said Erin Baudo Felter, vice president of Social Impact and Sustainability at Okta. “The scope and scale of this study reveals a sector that is making significant progress but needs better tools and programs to thrive in an increasingly digital world.”
“As a global alliance of organizations and activists dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society throughout the world, it is critical that we understand the digital state of civil society globally,” added Amy Taylor, Chief Networks Officer of Civicus. “With its global reach and comprehensive analysis of organizational needs and capabilities, this study helps define how activists and organizations are engaging in a digital world to serve, support, engage and inspire our most vulnerable communities.”
The study, which was fielded during the Summer of 2020, queried organizations on IT resources, digital readiness, data management and the impact of COVID-19. Some key findings include:
- Tech Budgets: IT budgets are typically low but expected to increase within the next 2 years. Most IT product and service decisions are made at the staff level, with a median purchase size of $375 requiring approvals. The number of employees working on an IT team is limited, and volunteers are frequently used.
- Transition Ready?: A quarter of nonprofits have a defined strategy for achieving digital readiness. Top barriers to digital adoption, digital improvement and data management are cost and staff training and availability.
- Data Handling: Most organizations collect beneficiary, donor and finance data. Across data types, cloud-based data storage is now the most frequently used option.
- Killer App: Organizations rely upon spreadsheets to in all aspects of data handling including, collecting, storing, and sharing data.
- Pandemic Pivot: The large negative impact of COVID-19 affected workstreams across the organization—prompting rethinking of how they work. Most program delivery, fundraising and marketing were negatively impacted, while internal communications improved. COVID-19 prompted digital adoption mostly in cloud-based apps, followed by hardware and desktop apps.
- Nonprofit Needs: The adoption of cloud-based services, cybersecurity tools and other digital resources could be accelerated by increased funding, access to IT consultants/staff to facilitate digital transformation, staff skills or training and increased awareness of digital tools available.
“Our global study is an important first step in going beyond the rhetoric and conventional wisdom about nonprofits and technology,” said Chris Worman, TechSoup Vice President of Alliances and Program Development. “This gives us comprehensive baseline data that enables us to meet the sector where it is, build programs that support digital transformation and maturity so our sector can thrive through digitalization.”
To further explore insights from the survey, TechSoup will convene a series of workshops with key stakeholders from civil society, foundations, government, business, and the TechSoup community. In addition, a dashboard will be created to share the data so others can conduct their own inquiries and add to the collective benefit to the sector.
You can access a copy of the TechSoup Data Handling and Digital Readiness Global Study here.
About the Study
The TechSoup Data Handling and Digital Readiness Global Study is based on an online survey among nonprofit IT decision makers fielded in the Summer of 2020. The survey was distributed through the TechSoup Global Network (TSGN) and other industry organizations including Civicus, WINGS, BoardSource, TAG, CSIP, RNW, TAI, and IDIS to achieve global reach and was an open link with anonymous responses. A total of 11,758 qualified responses from 135 countries and 41 languages were included.
About the TechSoup Global Network
The TechSoup Global Network brings together 60+ organizations on six continents that collaborate to support more than 1.3 million NGOs in meeting the world’s most pressing needs. The partners, operating in 39 languages, are all united by a dedication to create social impact through access to technology. Together, TechSoup Global Network partners bring impact at scale.
For more than 30 years, TechSoup has provided the transformative technology solutions, the digital platforms, and the in-person experiences that enable people to work together toward a more equitable world. TechSoup manages the only global philanthropy program that brings together more than 825 corporations and foundations to provide technology donations to NGOs everywhere. TechSoup’s data and validation services enable companies, foundations, and governments to connect their philanthropic resources with vetted NGOs around the world. TechSoup has reached than 1.2 million NGOs and facilitated distribution of technology products and grants valued at more than $15 billion. https://www.techsoup.org/
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