New Report Highlights a Nonprofit Technology Paradox for Fairfield County Nonprofits

Monday, August 11, 2014

NORWALK, CT —Nearly half of surveyed nonprofits in Fairfield County are not providing information technology training to their staff according to a new report released by the Fairfield County Community Foundation.

The Nonprofit Technology Paradox” reports too many Fairfield County organizations feel internal and external pressure to direct maximum funding to their program work rather than investing in their own information technology.

“As Fairfield County nonprofits struggle to meet increasing needs with lagging funding, applying information technology to improve efficiencies seems an obvious answer,” said Juanita James, president and CEO of the Fairfield County Community Foundation. “Yet, understandably, many nonprofits direct funding away from helping themselves in order to help others.”

The Community Foundation’s report analyzes survey and focus group responses from 80 nonprofit staff leaders. Respondents represent Fairfield County nonprofits with operating budgets from less than $250,000 to $10 million, and working in areas from Advocacy to Youth Development.

Nonprofit Challenges

22% have no budget for information technology
33% spend less than $5,000 on information technology annually
40% regularly experience information technology issues that affect their services and administrative operations
47% are not providing information technology training to their staff

Nonprofit Bright Spots

97% backup their data
54% have a stable infrastructure
15% have adopted a written information technology plan
11% characterize their organizations as innovators

Recommendation
Make contributions to a nonprofit’s operating expenses. In 2013, the leaders of the country’s three top sources of information on nonprofits, GuideStar, Charity Navigator, and BBB Wise Giving Alliance, wrote an open letter on OverheadMyth.com.

The letter states: “Overhead costs include important investments charities make to improve their work: investments to training, planning, evaluation, and internal systems—as well as their efforts to raise money so they can operate their programs. When we focus solely or predominantly on overhead...we starve charities of the freedom they need to best help the people and communities they are trying to serve.”

“The Nonprofit Technology Paradox” can be downloaded from FCCFoundation.org.

The Fairfield County Community Foundation promotes the growth of community and regional philanthropy to improve the quality of life throughout Fairfield County. Individuals, families, corporations and organizations can establish charitable funds or contribute to existing funds. The Foundation also provides philanthropic advisory services, and develops and leads initiatives to tackle critical community issues. It is in compliance with the Council on Foundations’ national standards for community foundations. The Foundation has awarded more than $168 million in grants to nonprofits in Fairfield County and beyond.

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Contact:

Sallie Mitchell
Communications Director
Fairfield County Community Foundation
203-750-3200
Mitchell@fccfoundation.org

Website: www.fccfoundation.org