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Foundations say technology ‘lagging’

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While the recession seemed to leave U.S. foundations’ technology relatively unscathed, more than half say their adoption of new technologies is “lagging,” a new survey says.

And implementing online systems for grants management is the primary challenge facing the 269 foundations that responded to a survey from the Technology Affinity Group.

While about four in 10 foundations have an online grant-application process, the sector in general has been slow to adopt these new technologies, and many foundations are eager improve their online grantmaking, add workflow and document-management capabilities and improve reporting capabilities.

Almost two-thirds of foundations are using social media to keep abreast of current issues and to spur discussion, but most are not using social-media outlets like Facebook and Twitter to engage with grantees or other foundations.

Cloud computing, or the sharing of computer resources through the Internet, is occurring among both small and large foundations, often to manage the grant-review process among a decentralized staff.

Seven in 10 foundations believe they have enough staff for their technology needs, the survey says, but few foundations are conducting adequate planning for their technology needs.

While spending on technology varies among funders, those with assets of $1 billion or more spend more relatively than do their smaller peers.

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