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Digital skills the priority for Not-for-profits

September 01st, 2020

The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has convinced more than three-quarters of Australia’s Not-for-profit organisations to elevate the importance of employees’ digital upskilling, according to a new report.

PwC’s first-ever survey of the CEO’s running the nation’s NFPs found that more than a quarter of respondents identified training in new software and programs as the top skill needed in the next 12 months. This skill was considered necessary to prepare employees for the impact of technology on their roles.

Behind that digital training on the priority list were data analysis, adaptability and then teamwork and collaboration.

The survey of 162 CEOS found that 65 per cent of respondents were either starting or making some progress in identifying the skills needed to drive their organisation’s future growth strategy.

A further 77 per cent of CEOs said COVID-19 made digital upskilling a higher priority but 61 per cent said lack of resources was the biggest impediment to conducting such digital programs. That lack of resources covered budget, people, time and knowledge. The survey found that the resource barrier was particularly acute for smaller NFPs.

Yet the survey also found that 42 per cent of NFPs were either not considering or had not made any progress in collaborating with government or academic institutions on the skills required for the future.

Director in PwC’s Social Impact Team Jane Edwards said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has made the upskilling challenge in the Not-for-profit sector more urgent. To help adapt in this fast-moving environment Not-for-profits should consider collaborating with government, business, academia, technology providers and other Not-for-profits to help lift the digital skill capabilities within their organisations.’’

Ms Edwards said the pandemic had seen many organisations forced to adapt to remote working and to introduce online service and product delivery.’’

“Not-for-profits are often quite lean and must ensure they are embedding technology within their organisation and using it to their advantage,’’ Ms Edwards says. “They are able to be nimble, flexible and make rapid decisions, but they need people with the right skills and training to ensure technology is being used to its full potential.’’

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