What is Technology Poverty?

“Technology poverty is a difficult problem to ‘solve.’ It’s like saying you’re going to end world hunger: nobody should lose the desire to solve the problem, but the objective should be more about creating systemic change.”
– Charles Buchanan

What is Technology Poverty?

We have created the term “Technology poverty” to articulate the dire technological situation currently affecting non-profits. Technology Poverty is defined as, “an absence of sufficient technology within an organization causing a deprivation of funding, effective leadership, performance, quality staffing, knowledge, and inefficiencies that lead to detrimental impacts on non-profits.”

As technology poverty continues to affect every aspect of the non-profit sector including the people that work within it, the clients they serve and the communities they support, it is crucial that technological transformation takes place at an accelerated rate.

Non-profits Face Enormous Pressure

Charities are experiencing significant, broad-based declines in revenue. At the onset of the 2020 global pandemic, many began projecting expected revenue decreases as high as 50 per cent. Nearly three-quarters of charities report a significant drop in donations.

Overall decline is larger than during the 2008/2009 recession. Fundraising totals have dropped as much as 85 per cent. At the same time, many organizations report a 73 per cent increase in demand for their services. Over half of non-profits have reduced their staff hours and 39 per cent have seen temporary or permanent closure.

These factors make it increasingly difficult for organizations to access and maintain the technology needed to do their work. At the same time, it’s needed more than ever.

Non-Profits are Vital Forces in our Society

The importance of charities and nonprofits cannot be overstated. Besides helping direct billions of dollars annually towards society’s most vulnerable—up to $18 billion based on charitable receipt statistics—the sector employs approximately two million people.

Their work also relies on over 13 million volunteers, ultimately contributing over eight per cent of Canada’s gross domestic product, more than the retail sector. Despite this, access to sufficient technology and training is far less than other sectors.

Technology is More than Just Hardware

Our definition of “technology” encapsulates technology, the capacity to effectively use it, technology literacy, data privacy, accountability, audience reach and the effective use of data for organizational decision making. Modern non-profit organizations need to engage donors and stakeholders. They need to empower employees, optimize operations, ensure security and compliance, and innovate for maximum impact. Technology is vital to those tasks.

Many organizations are trapped in the “technology poverty cycle”

It’s a vicious cycle. The financial resources available to maintain up-to-date, sufficient technology in the for-profit sector rarely exist for non-profits and charities. In real life, this means … Read More

Learn more about technology poverty here

We help break the cycle and remove obstacles that prevent success

For many not-for-profit or charitable organizations, helping their community means first clearing many hurdles. Out-of-date technology, old methods, a lack of IT knowledge and budgetary constraints restrict an organization’s ability to do their daily work. Often, it also … Read More

Learn about our four pillars of service for charities and non-profits here
Contact us for consultation and advice here

Ask us anything

Whatever your need is, we’ll look for a solution. Whether that’s managed IT support for non-profit organizations and charities, helping put needed technology into the hands of vulnerable community members, or simply supplying a little bit of advice, we’re here to help. It’s our mission.