The charitable sector employs 12 per cent of the economically active population, generates nearly nine per cent of Canada’s GDP, and touches the lives of all Canadians. Yet most of these organizations don’t have the technology infrastructure and knowhow to deliver on their missions. The Canadian Centre for Nonprofit Digital Resilience, launched today, seeks to change that.
Founding organizations include the CIO Strategy Council, Tamarack Institute, NTEN, Social Economy Through Social Inclusion (SETSI), and Imagine Canada, with seed funders supporting the launch including Okta for Good and Sonor Foundation. More than 70 organizations ranging from big enterprises like Cisco to groups such as the First Nations Technology Council and Code for Canada have already joined as supporters.
“Nonprofit organizations touch the lives of all Canadians – providing vital services to individuals, families, and communities,” said Katie Gibson, vice president at CIO Strategy Council. “But most nonprofits aren’t equipped to thrive in the digital age. They’re forced to rely on outdated technology, and they lack resources and expertise. We’re asking them to save lives with one arm tied behind their back. We need to fix this.”
The Centre will convene nonprofits, grantmakers, and tech experts to drive progress on research and knowledge mobilization; public policy; grantmaker practices; digital skills and literacy; shared platforms tools, and standards; vendor relationships; data standards and infrastructure; and access and connectivity.
“For more than 15 years, NTEN’s research about technology adoption and use in the nonprofit sector in the U.S., Canada, and beyond has consistently found that the most important need for nonprofit staff is training to put whatever technology they have to work for their mission,” said Amy Sample Ward, chief executive officer of NTEN. “We know that technology tools will change – every day and over time – but without the knowledge, skills, and practice in technology-related decision making, budgeting, planning, and evaluation, nonprofit staff in any department and in any organization aren’t supported in digital success. NTEN’s training programs combine our mission’s focus on equitable and strategic technology use with values of community and self-determination. We don’t want everyone to do everything the same; we want everyone to be able to do what is right for their community and organization. While Canadian nonprofit staff have been part of the NTEN community for 22 years, we are excited to extend our program models intentionally to reach more people with the kinds of training and support that can fuel their success.”
Over 85 advisors are onboard to assist nonprofits trying to navigate the complexities of becoming digitally-enabled, including CIO Strategy Council members Lawrence Eta and Mark Hobbs; individuals can apply to join their ranks.