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Q&A with Marina Glogovac, president and CEO of Canadahelps

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CanadaHelps president and CEO Marina Glogovac says data from its 2021 Digital Skills Survey is critical for governments and funders to understand the ways in which charities need support to thrive.SUPPLIED

CanadaHelps aims to build the capacity of the charitable sector through technology and education. Since it was founded in 2000, more than three million Canadians have donated nearly $2-billion to charities using its online platform for donating and fundraising.

In this Q&A, president and CEO Marina Glogovac discusses the results of the organization’s recent 2021 Digital Skills Survey (DSS).

What do you consider is the most important finding in the survey and why?

The need for digital transformation in all sectors is clear, especially after COVID-19. What we really need to focus on now is what is holding charities back from making the critical digital transformation changes needed to ensure future success.

What we saw from this survey is that charities know this is important, but they are so buried in work and without enough resources that they can’t prioritize it. One in three charities believes they’ll soon find it harder to continue their work if they don’t improve their digital capabilities, but more than 55 per cent of respondents say they either don’t have enough funding or the skills, expertise and knowledge for greater use of digital tools.

Changing mindsets within the sector to prioritize digital transformation, paired with providing resources to be successful, is critical.

How can charities use the survey results to help them prioritize digital transformation?

Charities will see from this survey that they are not alone in their struggles, but hopefully will also see the urgency of starting their digital transformation journey. Small and medium-sized organizations make up the majority of Canada’s 86,000 charities and are most closely connected to communities in need nationwide. As a sector, we need to make substantial changes quickly or Canadians will suffer. Charities are far too important to our society to be left behind.

What do you believe will motivate charities to adopt the mindset and the digital tools that will enable their growth?

Charities need support through this process. So many charities we speak to are struggling with how to take the first step because digital transformation feels overwhelming. We’ve seen support for businesses to make this shift to digital, including programming like Digital Mainstreet or funding from governments. Charities need the same help but tailored to their unique challenges. This is something CanadaHelps is working to address through advocacy, helping charities raise the necessary funds, and by providing quality educational materials.

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