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U.S./world – Digital impact – Human-service survey

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Most human-service nonprofits use technology and say it has changed, improved and had a major impact on their work, a new survey says.

Most want to make better use of technology but also say that keeping up with advances in technology is tough.

“Nonprofit organizations recognize the value of information technology,” says Sara Melendez, president and CEO of Independent Sector, a nonprofit trade group that teamed up with Cisco Systems to commission the survey, “Wired, Willing and Ready.”

“As they cope with various challenges to their programs such as the effectiveness of direct mail and communications,” she says, “nonprofit organizations will continue to look to information technology as the one resources that allows them to advance their mission efficiently and effectively.”

The survey, conducted by phone with more than 200 executives of human-service nonprofits by Princeton Survey Research Associates, found that:

* 86 percent of nonprofits use some form of information technology, 84 percent say technology has changed their daily operations in the past five years and 51 percent say it has changed their daily operations a lot.

* 81 percent say technology plays at least a minor role in daily operations, including 24 percent who say it plays a major role.

* 79 percent have email and 63 percent use it every day.

* 77 percent provide Internet access to their staff.

* 49 percent have Web sites and 52 percent have an office network.

* 99 percent of nonprofits with email use it to communicate with individuals and groups outside their organization.

* 91 percent use the Internet for research on other groups, 77 percent use it to conduct day-to-day operations and 44 percent use it to recruit employees and volunteers.

* 51 percent say improving their technology is a priority, but only 39 percent have a technology budget and only 28 percent have a strategic plan for technology.

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