Headlines: July 28th, 2006

 

Lack of funding for information technology has been identified as a key reason for the failure of voluntary and community sector organisations to make better use of the technology that is available, according to the results of an online survey by the Information and Communication Technology Hub and the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists.

Almost nine out of ten voluntary organisations said their planned spending this year on IT support costs was either ‘not enough’ or ‘completely inadequate’. Almost two thirds claimed lack of funding definitely prevented them from making better use of IT and just 38 per cent reported having any success in obtaining funding specifically for IT.

The online survey was conducted among almost 500 organisations and reveals that organisations found it far easier to obtain funding for more visible elements of technology such as computers, other hardware and software solutions for use by clients than it was to get money for back office infrastructure and running costs. A significant majority of the organisations – 59 per cent – said it was very difficult to get financial support for IT support contracts and staff.

The organisations behind the survey say the level of responses they received underlines how crucial technology is to the voluntary sector. Ninety-seven per cent of respondents said IT was very important to their administration, finance and communications and 83 per cent claimed it was very important to their core activities and to the delivery of services.

The importance was underlined by 98 per cent of respondents who said their effectiveness could be improved with better IT facilities.

Following the survey the ICT Hub, a Change Up initiative under the umbrella of the Active Community Unit, now aims to highlight to funders the importance of providing revenue as well as capital funding for ICT. It will also work with voluntary and community organisations to advise them on the total cost of ownership so they are better informed about how to cover IT costs in their funding application