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New technology hub to support digital transformation for NFPs

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The Infoxchange Group is developing a new technology hub to help Australian not-for-profits build digital capability and resilience for a post COVID-19 world. Funded by the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation and Gandel Philanthropy, the Hub will continue to evolve over the course of 2021.

The Hub will bring together capacity building programs, access to technology solutions, web-based resources and tailored advice to help organisations have an even greater impact.

The initiative is a response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has brought about numerous challenges to not-for-profit organisations.

Infoxchange Group’s Digital Technology in the Not-for-Profit Sector 2020 report illustrates that nearly two-thirds of not-for-profit organisations are less than satisfied with the way they use technology. Only 30 percent had the technology in place to easily adapt to staff working from home during COVID-19.

“COVID-19 caused enormous disruption to the way we work. It emphasised how important it is for not-for-profits to have efficient, reliable technology in place to keep supporting communities and making the biggest impact possible,” says Infoxchange CEO David Spriggs.

“The Digital Transformation Hub will address these challenges in a one stop shop that will empower not-for-profits to deliver services more effectively, improve staff productivity and better serve communities in need.”

Top technology challenges identified by not-for-profits that are set to be addressed in the Digital Transformation Hub include access to affordable and fit for-for-purpose technology solutions, lack of skilled technical resources to advise on digital technology, resources and funding to assist with the implementation of digital transformation initiatives, and staff and volunteer digital skills and capability.

The Community Council of Australia (CCA) and the Charities Crisis Cabinet have also recognised the urgency to build digital capacity in the sector and the need for the Digital Transformation Hub, particularly for smaller less well-resourced organisations.

“As COVID-19 has so clearly highlighted, digital capacity is the key to significantly improving the productivity and effectiveness of charities. It is the communities we serve that miss out if we do not address the digital divide between charities,” says David Crosbie, CEO, Community Council of Australia.

One of the charities that have felt the advantages of digital transformation is the Cerebral Palsy Support Network, which recently adopted a digital transition. CEO Scott Sheppard said he understands the challenges not-for-profits face.

“Moving to the Cloud has transformed our ability to work remotely and share information securely, allowing us to communicate to and provide better support for individuals and families living with cerebral palsy,’’ said CPSN CEO Scott Sheppard.

“The new Digital Transformation Hub will empower and assist not-for-profits across Australia to undertake their own digital journey and provide even better support for their clients,’’ he said.

Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation CEO, Dr Catherine Brown OAM, says the Digital Transformation Hub will build the capability of the not-for-profit sector as we respond and recover from COVID-19, especially in the face of increasing demand for services and the need to make major steps in our transition to a zero-carbon economy in the next ten years.

“I see the Digital Transformation Hub as providing a strong platform from which not-for-profit leaders and consumers can use digital tools to innovate and transform service or program delivery, develop refreshed financial models, strengthen collaborations across sectors, and ultimately become future ready for whatever challenges lie ahead,” Catherine says.

Meanwhile, Gandel Philanthropy CEO, Vedran Drakulić OAM, said that the COVID-19 pandemic exposed significant challenges faced by many for-purpose organisations, and arguably one of the biggest ones have been the challenge of digital inequality.

“The Digital Transformation Hub presents a unique opportunity to help many organisations, not only to be better prepared for the future crises, to be more agile and to adapt faster to changing conditions, but also to maintain relevant and efficient service delivery to their target audiences, whoever they may be,” Vedran says.

“The Infoxchange Group is arguably best placed to provide this sort of digital capacity building and organisational development, and we very much look forward to seeing first-hand the positive impact this initiative will have in the sector,” he said.

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