Not-for-profits (NFPs) in Australia seem to have their heads in the cloud in an effort to make better use of technology, according to new research.
United States-based TechSoup Global conducted an international research survey to provide insight for the NFP sector. The project was facilitated by TechSoup Global’s partner for Australia and New Zealand, Connecting Up.
The study found that 66% of Australia’s NFPs will likely be operating from the computing cloud. This will put NFPs at league with say, seemingly everyone else in the world, all of whom are going the cloud-computing way these days.
Up in the Clouds
“Coming to grips with the cloud is a necessity for all businesses and organisations in the near future, which is why it is essential that we and local IT companies understand what the barriers and motivators are to develop tailored solutions for our NFP sector in Australia,” says Connecting Up CEO, Doug Jacquier.
The global survey of 10,500 NFP and charitable organisations from 88 countries, found 90% of NFPs worldwide are using some form of cloud technology, however 86% attribute lack of knowledge as the biggest barrier to the adoption of additional cloud services.
Interestingly enough, 93% of Australian NFPs attribute lack of knowledge of senior management (doh!), funder, or staff as a major barrier to adoption of more cloud services, according to the survey.
While the barriers identified in the survey highlight problems NFPs are currently experiencing, Connecting Up believes the motivating factors identified provide valuable insights.
“The cloud services currently used by Australian NFPs mostly involve email (e.g. Hotmail, Gmail, Microsoft Office 365). However organisations said they would be motivated to move more of their IT to the cloud with availability of advice or assistance from a trusted advisor (31%), and more training for staff (27%), which means they are looking for knowledge and expertise,” explains Mr. Jacquier.
In addition to the survey results, the uptake of Connecting Up and TechSoup Global’s technology donation program also shows the thirst from the NFP sector for IT services and software. Over 10,000 eligible NFPs in Australia have received more than $150 million (yes, you read that correctly) worth of the latest products and upgrades from companies such as Microsoft, Cisco and Symantec.
“So far the millions of dollars of technology donations have resulted in increased productivity and capacity in the not-for-profit sector, with the average donation saving each NFP $9,000 RRP annually. This allows funds that would’ve been spent on costly IT upgrades to be channelled into improved service delivery and increased social impact for the communities they serve,” says Jacquier.
Bringing in the Heavies
One of the biggest IT partners shelling out the goods for the program, Microsoft, believes it is important for all organisations, to have access to the latest technology to remain competitive in today’s tough environment.
“Connecting Up’s donation program helps us to better understand the needs of the NFP sector and ensure our $40 million plus of donated software each year in Australia is going to the organisations that need it most,” explains Microsoft Citizenship Manager, Anna Howarth.
So, that’s good on Connecting Up, and good on Microsoft.
Say, how does an impoverished writer declare himself an NFP? I’m totally geeking out over Windows 8… but I digress. Oh well, it looks like all the loot from Connecting Up’s charity should stay with the NFPs. And by the way, if you happen to be one of those NFPs, be sure to check here to see if your organization is eligible for some of the love.