National Study Shows Nonprofits Still Tackling Digital Divide

Gifts in Kind International
Wednesday, 27 December 2000

Alexandria, Va., Dec. 27, 2000 Gifts In Kind International releases the 2000 Technology Tracking Study of the Nonprofit Sector. The fourth annual assessment of the technological health of the U.S. nonprofit community identifies the scope of technological progress among the nation's nonprofits. The study reveals the most significant hurdles standing in the way of eliminating the digital divide in the nonprofit world and spells out the Gifts In Kind 14-point profile of a "technology-healthy" charity.

Smaller nonprofits (defined as those with annual budgets under $1 million) suffer from the greatest digital lapse in the key areas of hardware and service support and are the most technologically vulnerable. They are less likely to have an IT (information technology) professional on staff; are less likely to have Web-enabled hardware and tend to have no e-mail capability.

The "big four" of technical services most needed by nonprofits are computer software training, Web site enhancement and updating, five-year technology plan development support and Web site development. Technology security issues still remain a major challenge, with six out of 10 respondents not reporting the existence of a technology security policy for staff or the implementation of a security system, such as a firewall.

"Technology upgrading and product replacement was a priority for us long before the term 'digital divide' became popular, but just over a year ago we set what we thought was a very ambitious goal of providing $1 billion in new technology products and services to 100,000 charities around the world by 2010," said Susan Corrigan, president and founder of Gifts In Kind International. "Thanks to the generosity of our growing number of technology donor partners, we are already a quarter of the way to realizing that goal. The study results will help us as we re-evaluate our goal and direct our donations over the next decade."

Gifts In Kind International has distributed a quarter of a billion dollars in new technology products and services since November, 1994. These products and services were donated by Gifts In Kind corporate partners. Of those charities surveyed, 45 percent said they had received new software from Gifts In Kind International in 2000 and 22 percent had received either recycled or new hardware.

"The letters of appreciation we continue to receive from registered local charities around the country illustrate the impact corporate giving has in our communities," said Corrigan. "Our study helps us take the lead in targeting their needs more effectively and determining what else needs to be done to conquer the digital divide in the nonprofit sector."

A copy of the 2000 Technology Tracking Study of the Nonprofit Sector is available upon request.

For more information, or to contact Gifts in Kind International, see their website at: www.giftsinkind.org

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