The COVID-19 pandemic underscores an urgent reality: The baseline of digital preparedness at global nonprofits is lower than we imagined and requires new funding and support.
In this call to philanthropy, NTEN, NetHope, and the Technology Association of Grantmakers (TAG) identify the most pressing technology needs for nonprofits worldwide today as they cope with the COVID-19 pandemic and tomorrow as recovery begins. Additionally, we provide inspiring examples of grantmaker responses and provide suggestions for additional investment in digital infrastructure for civil society. Through this appeal, we aim to begin bridging the digital divide exacerbated during today’s crisis and to continue furthering social good.
Now more than ever, nonprofits need support from funders that recognizes the entire cost of their work — work that is critical for communities across the globe right now. The full cost of digital infrastructure is significant. It includes not only the hardware and software to shift virtual teams and program delivery, but also the skills and training to select, implement, and use these tools, as well as the long-term need to make strategic decisions about their technology roadmap.
Nonprofit Tech Needs During COVID-19
According to research by NTEN, TAG, and NetHope, the greatest technology needs for nonprofits throughout the COVID-19 crisis are the following:
- Reliable internet access
- Hardware, such as laptops, mobile devices, connectivity, and reliable power in vulnerable countries
- Software for remote work, paperless billing, virtual events, process approvals, fundraising, etc.
- Funding to enable program continuity in their transition from in-person to remote service delivery
- One-on-one support for tool selection, implementation, remote training strategy
- Training resources
- Flexible funding for reallocation according to needs
How Funders Can Respond
What can your foundation do, both in the short-term and long-term? This briefing by NetHope, NTEN, and TAG outlines ways to equip the humanitarian sector during the immediate response phase of COVID-19. For the longer-term recovery phase, we offer ways to engage in strategic efforts toward funding and building a digital infrastructure for the nonprofit sector.