Slide 1

Voluntary sector IT survey shows rush to the web but IT Governance and good practice "at risk"

Z/Yen, the leading risk/reward management firm, has carried out the “Voluntary Sector Information Technology Benchmarking Survey”, sponsored by Poptel in association with the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA), which shows:

  • while 95% of organizations now have internet access and 83% have a website, the responses on some aspects of IT governance and good practice were less encouraging.  Only 36% of voluntary organisations have an IT strategy, although 90% of those who do have an IT strategy believe that the strategy led to better management of IT.

  • interestingly, only 4% of respondents have a website tested by the RNIB for readability by the visually impaired.  Only 10% of respondents with websites provide a “plain vanilla” version of their site to enable older machines to access the site effectively or designed to work well with text-only browsers such as Lynx, which is popular with the visually or orally impaired.

Ian Harris, head of Z/Yen’s Not-for-Profit practice says, “we welcome the sector’s wider use of IT, but urge not-for-profit organisations to plan initiatives carefully.  Voluntary organisations have especially high aspirations yet especially low budgets, making good governance of IT spend ultra-important.  Not-for-profits should take particular care to ensure that they do not inadvertently exclude communities that they are keen to include, such as the partially sighted or those who rely on older, less expensive equipment.”

The benchmarking survey provides useful, comprehensive information about 62 voluntary sector organisations’ goals, use of IT, attitudes to IT and a high-level breakdown of annual expenditure.  Copies of the survey results are freely available as a downloadable Word document from  Physical copies are available from Z/Yen.

Z/Yen specialises in risk/reward management, an innovative approach to improving organisational performance.  Z/Yen clients include blue chip companies in banking, information technology, publishing and distribution as well as charities and care organisations.  Ian Harris and Michael Mainelli are authors of the recently published book “IT for the Not–for-Profit Sector”, ICSA Publishing, 2001, 224 pages, ISBN 1860721303, £14.95, as well as the pamphlet, “Information Technology Governance in the Not-for-Profit Sector: An ICSA Best Practice Guide”, ICSA Publishing, 2001, 48 pages, ISBN 1901498123, £10.