NTEN, The Nonprofit Technology Network, is a community of over 70,000 nonprofit professionals transforming technology into social change. They aspire to a world where all nonprofit organizations skillfully and confidently use technology to meet community needs and fulfill their missions.
The last time they conducted research about the use of cloud services in the nonprofit sector was in 2011. In that report, they noted that many nonprofit staff were using hosted services without realizing that they were accessing the cloud. They also found that there was strong concern about the security of cloud systems like databases, although those same organizations were using hosted services for accessing and sharing sensitive data.
At the end of 2015, NTEN partnered with Microsoft Philanthropies to conduct another round of research to get a better sense of the cloud services being used by nonprofits, fears or struggles around using the cloud, and plans for potential expansion.
They anticipated that some notable changes might have occurred in the years since the last report and certainly have proof of those changes in this new report, which was released at the Nonprofit Technology Conference last week in San Jose, California.
Some key findings from the report include:
- Cloud services are a core part of nonprofit operations with 100% of survey respondents indicating they use at least two cloud services, up from 80% of survey participants in the last survey.
- The newest addition to organizations’ cloud services ecosystems is document storage.
- Leading factors in decision making are service features and the ability for staff to work remotely (via remote access) with the service.
- In evaluating potential services, the biggest concern is whether staff will have reliable access to the organization’s data.
- In comparing installed versus hosted services, respondents noted staff training as important but not likely to have a difference in their selection (contrast this to the results in NTEN’s annual Tech Staffing & Investment research, where respondents indicate that they have the tools they need but not the training to use those tools well).
Their intention in conducting this research for a second time was to understand how nonprofits leverage cloud services as these services expand and evolve. They also wanted this research to help identify trends or concerns, and areas where they may be able to provide additional training or resources to help organizations make strategic decisions about technology that might best help them achieve their missions.
To read the full report from NTEN and Microsoft Philanthopies entitled The State of the Nonprofit Cloud: The Results of a Study of Nonprofit use of Cloud Software, please click here.