Annual Report 2021
Technology for social justice
We strengthen communities using technology to create positive social change
We’re based on the lands of the Wurundjeri, Kaurna and Turrbal peoples, the traditional custodians of the lands, waters and knowledge for these places, where we gather to collaborate and strengthen communities.
In our work, we recognise the importance of Country – not just as a place, but how it also maintains community, family, kin, lore and language.
We pay our respects to Elders past and present. This always was, always will be Aboriginal land.
In the past year we’re proud to have supported:
people in need
not-for-profit, community and government services
A message from our Chair & CEO
As COVID-19 lockdowns became part of the “new normal” across Australia throughout 2020 and 2021, the reliance upon technology in the community and across the not-for-profit sector increased to levels never seen before.
The challenges of life under the shadow of a pandemic have become more evident as we approach the year ahead. Ask Izzy and our service directories have seen unprecedented demand, and the communities we serve and our sector partners have shared stories highlighting the increased level of fatigue being felt by individuals and for-purpose organisations across Australia.
Despite these ongoing challenges, we can confidently report that our team is working with a sense of urgency to help connect people with much needed services, address the issues of digital inclusion and lead the digital transformation of the sector.
Morgana Ryan, Chair
David Spriggs, Group CEO
Some of our significant achievements this year include:
- Over 4.4 million searches for assistance across our service directories including Ask Izzy.
- Continued to improve the digital capability of community members across Australia through our shared value partnerships and work with the Australian Digital Inclusion Alliance (ADIA).
- Supported 25,000 organisations with a range of technology solutions including IT support and capacity building, client and case management, service directory and referral solutions.
- Over $205 million worth of technology products and services were donated to not-for-profits this past financial year through our Connecting Up and TechSoup New Zealand platforms.
- Provided over 26,000 hours of technology support to not-for-profits across Australia.
- Launched our Digital Transformation Hub which will further assist Australian not-for-profits build digital capability and resilience during the pandemic and beyond.
We have recently finalised our new three-year strategy, with the goal of continuing to scale our impact with our vision of technology for social justice at the heart of everything we do.
Key to our success to date has been our strong partnerships across government, corporate organisations, universities and the for-purpose sector.
We are looking to build on this as part of our new strategy – leveraging our products, data and expertise in cross-sector collaborations to improve outcomes for people experiencing disadvantage.
Thank you to all our staff and volunteers for your dedication and hard work during what was another challenging year. We extend our gratitude to our board for your leadership and guidance, and to our customers and partners for your ongoing and unwavering support.
The Infoxchange Group would like to take this opportunity to formally acknowledge and extend our thanks to our former Chair, Stan Krpan.
Serving on the Infoxchange Board for the last decade, and as Chair for the past four years, Stan has steered Infoxchange through a period of significant growth, including the merger with Connecting Up in 2018.
In his time as Chair, Stan has seen Infoxchange go from strength to strength. During this period, we have secured trusted corporate partnerships to leverage our sector knowledge and ICT capabilities, doubled our revenue and most importantly increased the impact our products and services have on the lives of people experiencing hardship and disadvantage.
Using technology to empower people & communities
Using technology to empower people & communities
Australians are not online
australians live below the poverty line
Through our work in digital inclusion and social innovation, we strive to utilise technology to empower people experiencing disadvantage, driving social inclusion and creating stronger, more resilient communities.
Nobody should be left behind in today’s digital world. With 87% of the Australian workforce requiring a basic level of digital
understanding, it is more important than ever that we continue our work to improve accessibility via our various programs, collaborations and by advocating for digital inclusion to be prioritised by all levels of government.
Ask Izzy is awesome because when someone comes to the office for a food hamper, I can either show them how to use the site on their phone or help them find what services are available in their area.
Ask Izzy Year in review
Ask Izzy is a website that works to connect people experiencing disadvantage with housing, a meal, assistance with financial issues, family violence support, mental health services and beyond. It is free, completely anonymous and lists thousands of services across Australia.
Thanks to our ongoing partnerships with both Telstra and Vodafone, Ask Izzy remains accessible even if a person doesn’t have credit on their phone or access to a Wi-Fi network.
Ask Izzy was developed by Infoxchange in partnership with Google, realestate.com.au and News Corp Australia. Thank you to our supporting partners, Australian Government Department of Social Services, Great Southern Bank, Telstra Foundation, The Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, The NAB Foundation, The Victorian State Government and Vodafone.
There have been
searches on Ask Izzy in the last year
Top 5 category searches:
- Food – 29%
- Money help – 25%
- Housing – 18%
- Centrelink – 11%
- Everyday things – 8%
Top 5 demographics of users seeking housing support:
- Families with children – 25%
- Mental or emotional difficulties – 20%
- Escaping family violence – 15%
- Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander – 11%
- Have pets – 5%
It has been an enormous year for Ask Izzy, from both search volume and website improvement perspectives.
Thanks to a funding boost from the Department of Social Services, the Ask Izzy team were able to significantly improve the user experience and accessibility of the website for people with a disability, their families and carers.
Working alongside our partners at the Telstra Foundation, the Infoxchange team redesigned the overall Ask Izzy experience, and defined a series of impact measures so that a better understanding of how the community utilises Ask Izzy could inform future modifications and additions to website.
Our Product Advisory Group (PAG) continue to ensure community collaboration is at the heart of Ask Izzy’s evolution. Representing the wider community, each member of the PAG brings a diverse background, unique knowledge and lived experience to the table, providing our team with real life insights regarding future improvements and opportunities based on the feedback provided to them by the communities who regularly use Ask Izzy.
During these unprecedented times, it is important people know what support is available to them. The Morrison Government is committed to helping Australians through the pandemic and by supporting the Ask Izzy website we’re connecting Australians with a variety of crucial government, charitable and other services.
Ask Izzy and the impact of covid-19
Ask Izzy saw a surge in searches across most categories in FY20/21, with food, housing and financial services remaining among the most frequently searched services on the platform.
The introduction of JobKeeper and the moratorium on rental evictions, coupled with providing emergency accommodation for those experiencing homelessness led to a slight decline in searches for housing services early in the pandemic. As these services were rolled back in March 2021, we witnessed a rapid increase in people seeking accommodation, with more people at risk of, or experiencing homelessness than at the beginning of the pandemic 12 months prior.
Sometimes life can take an unexpected turn
In October 2020 we launched our “Unexpected Turn” campaign as part of the Yarra Trams Community Partnerships Program. The campaign raised awareness of Ask Izzy and how it can connect people who face unexpected hardship to support and aimed to reduce the stigma that can come with seeking help.
Your Peer NYC
Having already established a partnership with Infoxchange, Streetlives NYC had long seen the impact Ask Izzy was having in Australia and were keen to scale a similar solution designed specifically for vulnerable New Yorkers.
With additional support from the NYC Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services and design and development studio Winfield & Co, a project group was established.
Our expertise was called upon to ensure the project was feasible, scalable and sustainable, and to assist with establishing crucial relationships with government, businesses and other funding sources. Our experience, along with that of the Steetlives’ teams learnings from creating their original service directory, “GoGetta” made for a team with diverse skills, networks and passion.
Human-centred design was a key focus, and saw the project engage a group of youth with lived experience of homelessness to form a “research council”. This council worked with the wider community to design and prototype what is known as “Your Peer NYC”.
Using technology to improve human connection and mental health
After David Titeu’s parents separated, his dad Virgil fell into a deep depression and considered suicide. David was also grappling with his own anxiety. They both tried conventional therapy options, but it didn’t give them the help they were really looking for. Then a search on Ask Izzy opened up a new world of support and social connection.
David decided to share with Virgil that he had also been struggling with his mental health. By expressing these feelings with someone who understood what it’s like to struggle daily, David says he and his dad both felt heard and validated.
“We realised that opening up about these things is really important and necessary for recovery,” says David.
The next step in Virgil’s recovery came when David introduced him to Ask Izzy.
“We browsed through a few different support options on Ask Izzy, like community health services, support for divorcees, social groups specifically tailored to the challenges that dad was experiencing,” says David.
After exploring Ask Izzy for a while, David and Virgil found the perfect thing – dance classes hosted at a local community centre.
Virgil says that taking up dancing classes helped him feel a true sense of belonging and ultimately supported him to feel better again.
“Finding social connection saved my life. A friend is someone who makes me happier when I share happy moments and lighter when I share the sad ones,” he says.
If Ask Izzy hadn’t been around, David says he would probably have searched online to find support options for his dad. But it would have been far more time consuming and he’s not sure they would have found anything in the local community.
Finding social connection saved my life. A friend is someone who makes me happier when I share happy moments and lighter when I share the sad ones.
Our service directory
of searches came via Ask Izzy
Our Service Directory is a dynamic database of 400,000+ health, community and welfare service listings across Australia.
Our customers include federal, state and territory governments, local councils and numerous community organisations.
Our Service Directory powers SAcommunity, Ask Izzy and Service Seeker. Searches on Ask Izzy made up more than two-thirds of all Service Directory requests, with the most frequently searched services including those related to food, financial assistance and housing.
Using the Service Directory to improve outcomes for young people
Yourtown is one of many organisations that regularly utilise our service directory – here’s a little more about how we work together to improve the social outcomes for young people.
Yourtown works with young people across Australia, by helping them find employment, undertake training and by providing mental health and family violence support.
Yourtown regularly connects young people with free, confidential 24/7 phone and online counselling services offered by the team at Kids Helpline.
The service directory allows Kids Helpline counsellors to direct young people to services in their local area, so that they can take proactive, safe steps once they hang up the phone or log off their computer, and Infoxchange looks forward to providing continued support to this invaluable service.
By ensuring that those requiring the support of Kids Helpline feel safe and empowered to speak with a counsellor, we know that those referred to the service will be given the tools they need to make independent decisions about how to deal with any issue, big or small.
Recovery Connect and Infoxchange join to assist during times of crisis
In early 2020 Infoxchange joined forces with Recovery Connect, a government initiative developed by Services Australia to assist those impacted by the 2019-2020 summer bushfires that raged across New South Wales and Victoria.
Services Australia and Infoxchange worked together closely to provide Recovery Connect access to the services directory, ensuring that those in need were able to access the most relevant, up-to-date information and services.
Given the success of the initial rollout, Recovery Connect has since expanded to include support resources for people affected by COVID-19, cyclones, droughts and other natural disasters with the support of Infoxchange.
Connected Future partnership with Australian Red Cross and Great Southern bank
Increased frequency of extreme climate events, alongside a global pandemic, meant that the urgency to better utilise technology to keep communities safe and informed reached a critical point over the past 12 months.
Infoxchange, in collaboration with Great Southern Bank and Australian Red Cross, developed a shared value partnership in 2019. Known as Connected Future, this venture aims to improve the digital and financial capability of vulnerable community members across Australia.
The Victorian and New South Wales bushfires of 2019/20, and the emergence of COVID-19 in March 2020 shone a light on the need for practical, sustainable and highly deliverable solutions allowing for stronger community resilience when faced with an array of diverse challenges.
Through a human-centred design process with communities in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, the partnership was able to develop community-led solutions that would reach those facing digital exclusion while improving wider community resilience.
In November 2020, this partnership was recognised with a Shared Value Award in the category of Collaboration of the Year to Watch by the Shared Value Project, the peak body for advancing the adoption of shared value in Australia and New Zealand.
We look forward to continuing this partnership and further developing and scaling future projects benefiting a range of vulnerable communities.
Using technology to strengthen our sector
The past year has seen:
people supported through our client and case management services
$205M+ in donated software, hardware and IT services
hours of tech support supplied to not-for-profits
448,717 electronic referrals sent for people in need of support
tonnes of e-waste saved from landfill
Connecting the sector
Connecting Up has saved the sector over $205 million this past financial year by providing donated and discounted technology from our partners.
We solved almost 41,000 support tickets with an average customer satisfaction rating of over 90%. Our Digital Learning program helped over 3,000 organisations build their capacity through 141 webinars.
Despite ongoing lockdowns, our first “hybrid” Connecting Up conference attracted a record 739 registrations for in-person and virtual plenaries, streams and virtual expo booths.
Feedback from attendees, speakers and exhibitors was overwhelmingly positive. We enhanced our offering to the sector by launching refreshed and updated websites, on-boarding 15 new tech partners across Australia and New Zealand and accepted nearly 7,000 new organisations into the donations and discounts program.
Connecting Up conference
The annual Connecting Up Conference is a three-day interactive event that aims to help Australian not-for-profits get the most out of technology, training and strategy.
Established in 2004, it is targeted at organisations who are interested in using technology and innovation to improve their impact and achieve better outcomes for the communities they serve.
As technology and the digital landscape continue to evolve rapidly and the competition becomes stronger, not-for-profit organisations need to continue to innovate to keep up with the changes.
We were fortunate enough to be able to hold the 2021 event in Melbourne, prior to the prolonged Victorian lockdown.
As part of the conference, the Not-For-Profit Technology Awards took place on the final evening as a gala event. The awards acknowledged the very best in technology innovation and excellence by organisations and individuals across the sector.
Technology discounts & donations
We’re proud to offer technology donations and discounts in partnership with more than 50 organisations, including:
2021 Not-for-Profit Technology Award Winners:
Technology Innovator of the Year – Good360
Technology Volunteer of the Year – Jane Richardson, Generous & Grateful and Karen Stuckey, Church Support Australia
Not-for-Profit Technology Lifetime Service Award – Pam Doughty, AUSOM News and Chris Deacon, ArtSound and Canberra Multicultural Service and Andrew Mahar AM, The xpand Foundation
Best Social Media Campaign of the Year – This Life Cambodia’s “Not Her Fault” campaign and Centre for Non-Violence’s “You Are Not Alone” campaign
Technology For Community Impact – Best Private Sector Organisation – Communiteer
Technology for Community Impact – Best Government Agency – CivVic Labs, Victorian Government
Best Technology Innovation by an Indigenous Australian – Mikaela Jade, Indigital
Best Accidental IT Person – Lauren Tuck, The Funding Network and Matthew Sandstrom, Craniofacial Australia
Tailored full service IT Management solutions to suit each organisation’s unique requirements
Our wide range of IT strategy services includes end-to-end overhauls of entire IT environments, hardware replacement plans and improving mobility and remote access.
Each organisation we service is unique, however there is one service our clients have valued most in FY20/21: migration of their file-management and collaboration systems to the cloud. This has enabled critical services to continue with staff working remotely through rolling lockdowns.
Helping organisations embrace digital transformation on a holistic level
Whitelion is one of the many not-for-profit organisations supporting disadvantaged young people across Australia. Since its inception in 1999, the organisation has gone through multiple evolutions, including their recent digital transformation.
Supporting the sector
through client and case management
client records securely stored in our client and case management system
electronic referrals sent for people in need of support in FY20/21
community not-for-profit and government services use our systems to manage client data and referrals
Housing and homelessness
Women, youth and families
Consistent client and case management methods key to addressing sector reform
Our client and case management solutions continue to be utilised by thousands of government and community services across Australia to safely and efficiently manage the care of some of our community’s most vulnerable people.
Family Safety Victoria are the peak government agency in the state designed to drive key elements of Victoria’s family violence strategy. Family Safety Victoria have been working tirelessly to implement key recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence since the findings were handed down in early 2016.
A major recommendation of the Royal Commission was to update the tools and techniques used to assess people fleeing dangerous situations.
This is where Infoxchange stepped in, to assist the team at Family Safety Victoria to implement the new Multi Agency Risk Assessment Management (MARAM) tools into organisations dealing with cases of domestic and family violence. By utilising our services, organisations were able to ensure they were following best practice when it came to assessing those looking to remove themselves and their families from unsafe environments, as outlined by the Royal Commission.
Organisations that have reaped the benefits of the implementation of MARAM tools into their case management systems include Eastern Domestic Violence Service (EDVOS).
It allows us to ensure we are accountable and informed, which ultimately supports EDVOS’ dedication to a person-centred practise as well as increase the clients
Sage, Case Manager at EDVOS says that the implementation of the MARAM tools into their case management system has had an “undeniably positive impact on our practice. It allows us to ensure we are accountable and informed, which ultimately supports EDVOS’ dedication to a person-centred practise as well as increase the clients experience.”
Infoxchange looks forward to working with more organisations in the family and domestic violence sector into and beyond 2022 and hope to see more positive outcomes for the people that rely on these services as a result of streamlining assessment processes.
Organisations we’re proud to provide with client & case management solutions include:
Digital Transformation Hub
In July, we launched the Digital Transformation Hub to help Australian not-for-profits build digital capability and resilience for a post COVID-19 world.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted ongoing technology challenges faced by not-for-profits. In response to this, we are leading a cross-sector partnership to deliver the Hub, which we established with seed funding from the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation and Gandel Philanthropy.
The Hub will bring together capacity building programs, access to technology solutions, web-based resources and tailored advice to help organisations have an even greater impact.
In August, we welcomed an additional $2.7 million from the New South Wales Government as part of a larger investment into the social services sector. This funding will help to migrate organisations to the cloud, and ensure a variety of online tools, courses and resources remain accessible to not-for-profit organisations during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
Google AI for social good
Infoxchange has been selected to participate in the Google AI for Social Good program.
In partnership with the University of New South Wales and the CSIRO, we will receive a grant along with expertise from the team at Google to assist us in the development of solutions based around artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Infoxchange is thrilled to be part of the program and is looking forward to demonstrating our innovative way of thinking and increasing our involvement in this exciting space.
Partnerships for impact
We know we can’t solve the most pressing social issues alone. In the coming years we’re looking to further leverage our products, data and expertise in cross-sector collaborations to improve outcomes for people experiencing disadvantage.
We added a new social objective of Collaborative Impact to our organisational strategy to help bring this to life. Partnerships to watch are:
- As a founding member and Chair of the Australian Digital Inclusion Alliance, we aspire to improve rates of digital inclusion nationally.
- As the technology partner for the Thriving Communities partnership, we are committed to helping people in our community experiencing vulnerability to better navigate and connect to vital support programs in a safe and secure way.
Our people & culture
Our work in the sector has become more critical than ever and we couldn’t do it without the fantastic work our people do every day towards technology for social justice. As we faced another 12 months of uncertainty, we continue to be in awe of our staff and volunteers who have demonstrated a deep sense of commitment and agility as we navigated our way through the many challenges and continued opportunities.
Taking care of our people has always been one of our top priorities to ensure that they feel supported in the workplace.
That’s why our health and wellbeing activities including weekly yoga and meditation classes continued to be available online, even during lockdown.
We even found other innovative ways to keep our staff engaged through virtual cocktail hours, trivia nights and other online events to help connect us all. Through all the feedback we received through our engagement survey, we continue to try out new and innovative ways to engage our people and provide an environment that our people can thrive in.
- Female 56% 56%
- Male 43% 43%
- Non-binary 1% 1%
Born outside Australia
Have a disability
Online wellness sessions
Had a COVID-19 test
Reconciliation Action Plan
In October 2020, we launched our “Reflect” Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) at a fantastic virtual staff meeting, with support from guest speaker proud Kaurna woman and journalist Katrina Karlapina Power.
The RAP represents an important step for us in expanding and strengthening our existing relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and helps guide the actions we’re taking to realise our vision for reconciliation.
Over the last year, we’ve successfully delivered on the commitments in our “Reflect” RAP and are using this knowledge to collaborate with First Nations organisations to empower and support through technology to achieve their goals.
To make sure we can support First Nations-led not-for-profits in culturally safe ways, more than 50% of staff completed Cultural Awareness and Safety training through the Koorie Heritage Trust in 2021. We also begin all-staff meetings with an acknowledgement of country and urge all teams to start their meetings to show respect for the lands on which we work, especially as we continue to work remotely around the country.
Embedding these practices across the organisation is central to our reconciliation journey and have allowed us to do some great work with First Nations-led not-for- profits. We are proud to support a large number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations from housing to health are using our client and case management system to manage clients and social and emotional wellbeing programs.
Recently we embarked on a project with the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation to implement our client and case management solution. This solution will assist with building the capacity of its membership, particularly those who are impacted by issues related to alcohol and other drug use.
Our system allows these Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCO) to accurately report data to the Victorian Alcohol and Drug Collective for purposes of research, lobbying and to advise upon improving future initiatives.
We are at the beginning of our reconciliation journey and are energised and more determined than ever to play our role in meaningful reconciliation in Australia.
The Infoxchange Group Board have extensive experience and professional expertise across the community, business and government sectors.
Morgana Ryan, Chair
Morgana’s career spans strategic, IT and business process transformation across the corporate and international development sectors. Morgana is the author of two books: Building a Better International NGO and Navigating Change for International NGOs. She’s also a non-executive director on the Wodonga TAFE board and the CARE Australia Board. She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Linda O'Brien, Deputy Chair
Linda is Pro Vice Chancellor at Griffith University and Head of the Logan Campus. Linda currently chairs the ORCID Board, a not-for-profit global research infrastructure organisation and is a Director on the Board of Logan Together, a not-for-profit organisation seeking to improve outcomes for children in Logan. Linda has published and presented both nationally and internationally and contributed to a number of state and national digital research infrastructure initiatives.
Carol Austin, Director
Carol Austin is an experienced investment professional with a strong interest in public policy and social justice. She is currently a director of HSBC Bank Australia, State Super and the Grattan Institute, and is Chairman of the ACT Investment Advisory Board. Carol has served on the Future Fund Board and several advisory boards. She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a member of the ANU College of Business and Economics Hall of Fame.
Jon Bisset, Director
Jon is the CEO of the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia and CEO of RPH Australia, the peak body for the Radio Reading Network. He has spent more than 25 years as a Chief Executive and non-executive director of not-for-profit organisations, covering health and ageing, media, technology and fundraising. He is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the Harvard Business School Strategic Perspectives of Nonprofit Management Program and the Sydney Adaptive Leadership Program.
Katherine Boiciuc, Director
Katherine Boiciuc is a Director at Maximus International and is recognised as one of Australia’s 29 Inspirational Women making waves in STEM. She has been an advocate and global keynote speaker on diversity in technology and women in tech for more than a decade. Katherine has held senior and influential roles focused on global impact and world technology enablement. Her credentials include a Master of Leadership and a Master of Business Administration.
Jo Fisher, Director
Jo has been on the Infoxchange Board since 2012 and is the Founding Director of Fisher Leadership. Jo is also a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) National Education Advisory Committee, a founding member of the International Women’s Forum of Australia and is an Adjunct Professor at Deakin University. She holds a Master of Applied Positive Psychology, an MBA and is a graduate of the AICD.
Partha Nag, Director
Partha joined the Infoxchange Board in 2014 and is Chair of the Finance Committee. He has more than 16 years’ experience in senior executive roles, corporate governance and risk management. He is currently Executive Director of Strategic Business Alliance and also serves as a board member for various other not-for-profit organisations.
Amy Orange, Director
Amy is Co-Founder of Collab4Good, Social Procurement Lead at Social Traders and Principal of Fourth Sector Solutions. Amy uses her experience and expertise from more than 12 years in the not-for-profit community services and social enterprise sectors to develop sustainable impact-driven business models and strengthen ecosystems to align people, planet and profit for a better world. Amy holds an MBA and was recognised in 2018 as one of the InDaily Top 40 Under 40 business leaders in South Australia.
David Jonas, Director
David has served on the Infoxchange Board since 2012 and is a consultant, director and writer. Previously he headed up commercialisation for the Capital Markets CRC where he led their health R&D program and was founding CEO of Lorica Health. David was founder/CEO of e-commerce advisory firm ETC, acquired by Securenet (now part of Verizon). His leadership in online services led to appointments to several Australian and European Union Government bodies.
Thank you to all our incredible partners and supporters who have worked with us this year to achieve positive social change through the innovative and creative use of technology.