Bridging the Nonprofit Digital Divide with Sector Data


By Lina Khatib, CCVO Policy Analyst

Part of the purpose of CCVO’s annual Alberta Nonprofit Survey (ANS) is to understand the adaptive capacity of the nonprofit sector. This includes the capacity for nonprofits to be technology savvy to meet the challenges of a fast-paced information age.

We need this local data to tell the story of nonprofits in Alberta. This story helps inform government policies and can help give the push to self-organize around issues that matter to the nonprofit sector.

This year’s ANS questions explore topics such as: flexible work environments, board diversity, collaboration among nonprofits, policy advocacy and a strategy on the current and future use of technology among nonprofits.

In the absence of local data in Canada, let alone Alberta, we often look to external studies to get a sense of the state of sector-wide adoption of technology. According to the Charity Digital Skills Report 2019, the pace of digital change within the charity sector is slow, and in some cases, on the decline. Now in its third year, the report provides an annual barometer of the state of digital skills within the United Kingdom’s charity sector.

 Report highlights:

  • Half of charities do not have a digital strategy (52%), an increase on 2018’s 45%.

  • Funding continues to be the biggest challenge to digital growth, followed by skills and culture.

  • 86% of people want to work for a charity that is progressing and investing in digital skills.

Not all nonprofits experience the digital divide equally. Similar to the urban-rural digital divide, a divide exists among nonprofits, with some organizations struggling to access the basics such as broadband or mobile coverage in their areas.  A number of federal and provincial government efforts aim to bridge the urban-rural digital divide, but with very little focus on the needs of nonprofits.  CCVO has previously asked the federal government to develop a funding mechanism to encourage transformative sector-wide adoption of technology in efforts to close the digital divide. We are committed to continue advocating for this issue at all levels of government because more can be done, but we need your help by completing the Alberta Nonprofit Survey.

The findings from the survey are instrumental in advocating for the sector and will be shared in CCVO’s annual State of the Sector Report to be released in the fall 2019.

Together, we can help tell the story of the Alberta nonprofit sector’s aspirations for a better future. We look forward to your participation and your help in sharing the survey!