A new study shows 54% of small voluntary organisations (SVOs) identified “lack of time” as the top reason for slow digital uptake in their charity, despite over 82% acknowledging technology could support them to become more accessible, relevant and efficient.
In a report launched today, the Institute for Voluntary Action Research (IVAR) and Centre for Acceleration of Social Technology (CAST) explore the extent to which SVOs are able or willing to consider how technology might have a positive role to play in their work. Over half of the 72 SVOs surveyed said they don’t have the time to properly research and test different approaches to technology and 34% said they don’t have the time to implement and maintain them.
IVAR and CAST are calling for funders to consider how they support infrastructure, training and experimentation costs associated with ‘digital transformation’ in small organisations, and to accept learning and change as a necessary part of developing services in a digital context.
The publication of Start somewhere: An exploratory study into making technology imaginable and usable for small voluntary organisations coincides with Small Charity Week and Digital Leaders Week (18th – 22 June), and study findings include tips and advice from SVOs to other SVOs on overcoming the barriers to technology inclusion (included below).
CAST Director Dan Sutch said:
“We found high levels of willingness and enthusiasm to engage, however for a small voluntary organisation barriers prevail, the most significant appearing to be lack of time to learn how to practically implement and use technology. As part of Small Charity Week we are saying start somewhere and don’t do too much at once, as this gives a low-risk way to test and develop new ways of working – test, review, repeat.”
IVAR Director, Ben Cairns said:
“Funders have the power to give small voluntary organisations the time they need to develop a digital culture that is right for them. We would like to see more trusts and foundations offering long-term core funding to create space for experimentation so charities can work out what ‘tech’ means to them.”
Five tips for SVOs from the research findings
Advice from SVOs to other SVOs:
Embrace tech as much as possible
Be strategic, starting with a purpose, and actively managing the introduction of tech
Allocate adequate resources
Seek advice and support