The Sector’s Digital Skills Gap
The abundance of third-sector authored literature, conveys that anecdotally and empirically, there is a digital skills gap in the Third Sector. The Non-profit Technology Enterprise Network report, 2017 Nonprofit Technology Staffing and Investments Report showed that while the majority of surveyed nonprofits in Ontario feel they have the tools they need, they” are less confident about having enough skilled staff or training to effectively use their technology for their work.” (NTEN, 2017).
The study found that while most organizations i.e. 52%, self-identified as having a stable tech infrastructure and mature policies, over 25% of those surveyed indicated they were “functioning” i.e. just meeting basic needs or “struggling.” Given the rapid changes that technology has brought about in most other sectors, from “automated checkouts in retail”
to “open data sets in government,” it is apparent why an abundance of third-sector organizations indicate that they are behind the digital curve (NTEN, 2017).
While the Non-profit Technology Enterprise Network is headquartered in the United States and the survey sample presents a limited percentage of Ontario-based respondents, the study’s findings hold true for the Third Sector of Ontario. Good Works State of the Web Nation report (the very first online benchmark report for the Ontario nonprofit sector), found that “60% of Ontario respondents say web is not valued by organizational leadership,” and that most “indicated challenges in using and integrating different web tools, such as social media, search engine optimization, and data collection (Good Works, 2019).”