70% of social sector organizations are insufficiently prepared against cybersecurity threats

The Doing Good Index 2024 reveals Asia’s social sector is unprepared for technological challenges

HONG KONG SAR - Media OutReach Newswire - 17 June 2024 - The Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society (CAPS), a uniquely Asia, independent, action-oriented research and advisory organization, released the 2024 edition of its flagship study, the Doing Good Index. The study finds that despite the rapid digitalization of the Asian social sector, social delivery organizations (SDOs)1 are struggling to keep up with technological changes due to inadequate access to digital infrastructure, lack of capacity, and insufficient donor support. As technology continues to advance, a new type of digital divide is being created that hampers the ability of the social sector to deliver products and services to the most vulnerable communities.

The Index finds that digital technology has become commonplace in the social sector in Asia. 95% of the organizations surveyed use digital technology to carry out their work, with 88% intending to increase their use of digital technology in the next two years. However, SDOs in Asia lack the necessary resources to fully leverage the benefits of digital technology and protect themselves against the associated risks. 59% of surveyed SDOs said their staff lack the skills to use digital tools effectively, and 70% do not have, or are unaware of, an organizational cybersecurity strategy. When asked about their organization's top technology needs, hardware, operational software and staff training emerged as the top three.

According to the Index, access to operational funding is essential for organizations to respond adequately to the rapidly changing digital landscape. Almost half of SDOs report that their donors do not fund digital technology and IT costs, indicating a glaring funding gap.

"Asia's social sector is unprepared for technological change amidst the rapid digitalization in the region. We believe philanthropy can play a crucial role in meeting digital technology needs. Donors should recognize that challenges in securing operational funding hinder the organizations they support from investing in digital technology that could improve their productivity and impact. Operational funding and in-kind donations can help social delivery organizations invest in capacity building to fully leverage digital technologies to meet their mission of helping our communities." said Dr. Ruth Shapiro, the Co-Founder and Chief Executive of CAPS.

In addition to technological challenges, the Doing Good Index also shares how economies across the region are or are not creating enabling environments for the giving and receiving of private social investment such as philanthropy and corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Against the backdrop of the tumultuous Covid-19 years, there has been little change across the four sub-indexes2 of the Doing Good Index in the last two years. Aside from Sri Lanka, which improved in performance, all other economies have remained in the same clusters as 2022.

Funding to the social sector has remained mostly unchanged. Domestic funding (from individuals, foundations and companies) remains the main funding source for SDOs across Asia, comprising 64% by proportion of the average SDO's budget. Government funding (20%) and foreign funding (15%) as a proportion of an SDO's budget have also remained steady.

Funding shortfalls, staffing challenges, and staff upskilling/reskilling are the top challenges facing the social sector. Almost three-quarters (73%) of SDOs struggle to recruit staff, and 69% report difficulty retaining them.

Governments continue to send mixed messages on social sector regulations. While some governments embrace the social sector as a partner, others are showing a hot-and-cold approach, at times encouraging its growth and at others implementing overly burdensome regulations and restrictions.

The role of SDOs remains important, and they generally feel supported. There is also strong optimism within the sector, even after the turmoil of the last few years. This demonstrates the resilience of SDOs in the face of unprecedented challenges.

Mr. Ronnie Chan, the Co-Founder and Chair of CAPS, said, "With ongoing crises ranging from regional conflicts to climate change, Asia faces an uphill battle to create a more equitable future. The good news is that with increasing private wealth, Asia has a unique opportunity to leap ahead and implement policies and programs to solve community problems. We at CAPS are pleased to release the fourth iteration of the Doing Good Index, offering actionable and evidence-based insights for business leaders, philanthropists, and policymakers to consider how they can facilitate and increase private capital flows toward the social sector. The Doing Good Index also offers a blueprint for a more equitable, sustainable, and prosperous future for the region."

Download the Doing Good Index 2024 here and visit the interactive microsite.

1 Social delivery organization (SDO) refers to entities engaged in providing a product or service that addresses a societal need.
2 Regulations, Tax and Fiscal Policy, Ecosystem and Procurement.
3 Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, and Vietnam.

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About the Doing Good Index
The Doing Good Index studies the regulatory and societal environment in which private capital is directed toward doing good in Asia. Now in its fourth iteration, the Index identifies the policies and incentives that can drive private capital to the social sector and considers how stakeholders can build stronger, more trusting connections. It is an evidence-based resource for policymakers, philanthropists, academics and nonprofit leaders, offering in-depth insights and best practices to increase and enhance philanthropic giving.

The Index is based on data under four sub-indexes: Regulations, Tax and Fiscal Policy, Ecosystem and Procurement. Together, these indicators provide a picture of various factors impacting the supply and demand for private social investment in each economy. In 2024, we also included questions about how the social sector is embracing digital technology in the provision of services, raising funds and managing business operations. The findings are evidence-based, derived from survey data collected from 2,183 SDOs and 140 experts across 17 economies3, and supported by a network of partners and experts across Asia. After tabulation, the Index categorizes the economies into four clusters: Doing Well, Doing Better, Doing Okay and Not Doing Enough.
 Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society (CAPS)
Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society (CAPS)
Established in 2013, the Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society (CAPS) is a uniquely Asian, independent, action-oriented research and advisory organization, committed to improving the quality and quantity of philanthropic giving throughout Asia. Our mission is to improve the social investment sector in Asia by researching and advising best practices, models, policies, and strategies that can contribute to positive system change.

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17 Jun 2024

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