Technology for social justice
We strengthen communities using technology to create positive social change
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.
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%
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.
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.
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%
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.
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.