Recent surveys of not for profit organisations has revealed a concerning trend in how they use new technology in the workplace. According to one survey by Infoxchange who have conducted a survey each year for the past five years, 64 per cent of not-for-profits are less than satisfied with the way they use technology, and that more than half of their staff are either “not confident” or only “a bit confident” when using new technology.

This is not surprising as many staff are not familiar with new IT systems, are elderly or work only as volunteers. Training is often expensive and usually limited to professional or managerial staff in small advocacy organisations. All staff no matter how they are remunerated or not should be trained in IT functions. It is estimated that not-for-profits spend around 6 per cent of their operating expenses on IT or around $3,655 per full time staff in Australia.

Historically not-for-profits have under-invested in digital technology, especially on the security side of their computing firewalls, devices and software. Most spending is usually directed towards frontline service delivery and they often ask federal or state governments for grant money to upgrade hardware and software systems.

Most use retail software so about 86 per cent use Microsoft Windows and only 8 per cent Apple Mac OS. Some have opted to move their content into the cloud using Microsoft Office 365 which saves money and allows for greater staff efficiency, remote access and enhanced workflow collaboration. The downside is most organisations do not invest enough money, time and resources into training the staff to use all the applications provided by Office 365 or Apple. Data retention is often slap dash especially around archiving of paper records and security of both hardcopy, digital and cloud information is negligible.

It is vital in 2020 that many not-for-profits are increasingly embracing the benefits of social media platforms, improving their own websites and expanding the use of digital marketing tools to promote their cause and communicate with stakeholders, government and the public. The vast majority or about 87 per cent use Facebook, 33 Instagram, 25 Twitter, 22 LinkedIn and the rest use other platforms.