The use of digital technology has become widespread in recent years in associations. Seven out of ten volunteers declared in 2016 that they communicate by e-mail with other members of their association, and more than six out of ten said they use the Internet in the context of their missions (research, reports, monitoring, etc.).
Digital continued in 2018 to disrupt and transform the nonprofit sector. In particular, 2018 saw the launch of a national digital training plan for associations, the rollout of ICT4NGO (a digital skills assessment platform for the association sector) and the launch of OpenAsso, a new tool to serve associations.
Associations: strong support needs remain in the digital field
As it does every year, Recherches & Solidarités conducts a survey of association leaders. This annual survey allows us to regularly assess the situation of associations, the morale of their leaders and their expectations.
The 2016 survey highlighted the growing importance of digital tools in the management, operation and communication of associations. The use of participatory financing, online donation collection or applications, which are still not widely used, were already arousing the curiosity of many leaders and volunteers. They also had high expectations of digital tools to facilitate and encourage volunteer involvement, but remained reserved about their attractiveness. "Attracting volunteers via online ads is one thing, but making sure that their expectations match the needs of the association and that they will remain mobilized for it is another.
The 2 018 survey highlights strong support needs in five areas:
The authors of the study point out "the delay in digital communication where associations should play the leading role".
- Diversification, search for financing, revision of the business model: 54%.
- Research and recruitment of new volunteers: 47
- Communication tools (digital or not): 41
- Training, volunteer skills development: 35
- Development of the activity, evolution of the associative project: 35
- Digital uses other than communication: 34%.
Finally, the study highlights a persistent difference between large associations and small associations (with an annual budget of less than 10,000 euros), which account for more than 70% of associations in France: the latter are more likely to require support from public services such as those of a town hall, an inter-municipality, or the Resource and Information Centers for Volunteers (CRIB) and the Support Points for Associative Life (PAVA).
- " With the decrease in public subsidies and the end of subsidized contracts, associations are seeing some of their sources of funding drastically reduced, and their operating levers strongly questioned," note the authors of the study. Forced to rethink their socio-economic model, many are turning to funding platforms (e.g. France Active) or linked to sponsorship institutions (e.g. Admical), to foundations or to companies themselves.
- The second concern of association leaders relates to volunteerism: recruitment, retention and training. The majority of associative leaders do not expect to be accompanied in this area by anyone and rely on their own strengths.
- As far as communication is concerned, it is rather the largest associations that express a wish for support: in particular from companies, "no doubt to professionalize a sector that is increasingly critical for the image of associations, which are not only competing with each other for volunteer resources, but which no longer have the same monopoly on associativity, faced with the development of less formal forms of organization and informal volunteering 'on the street corner'", the authors of the study note.
- Expectations, finally, regarding the use of Internet-based solutions.
OpenAsso: a new tool for associations
On June 5, 2018 was officially launched OpenAsso, a new free collaborative platform dedicated to the associative life. It allows to find concrete answers to the questions of the actors of the associative world. The platform is intended to bring together the largest number of associations and to allow experience sharing between actors in the sector.
OpenAsso is a space where association leaders can go to learn, share their knowledge and make their association grow.
Founded at the initiative of AssoConnect, Solidatech and Recherches & Solidarités, the OpenAsso.org platform brings together major players in the sector. With the will to be "as collaborative as possible" from the conception of the project, the platform has been built with the contributions of many recognized partners.
Each structure brings its own specific expertise: Ligue de l'enseignement (30,000 associations), Animafac (students and young workers), Le Mouvement Associatif (federation of federations), Fidal (France's leading business firm), Tous Bénévoles, Relations d'Utilité Publique, Accointance (consulting and training in associative financing), Samson Conseil & Formation, DigitESS, the French Association of Fundraisers and carenews.com In addition to these partners, there are fifty experts on specific topics.
The gathering of the most important associative actors allows us to offer this platform for free while keeping as objective a strong requirement of quality. Communication, accounting, legal, digital, human resources, all practical aspects of daily life are covered. Whatever the size of the organization, an association manager can ask a question and the OpenAsso community will answer it.
Neighborhoods: associations and digital mediation actors among the winners of #TremplinAsso
In the priority neighborhoods of the city policy, the associations participate actively in social and territorial cohesion.
Among the 44 projects selected by the Ministry of Territorial Cohesion, as part of the National Mobilization for Neighborhoods Inhabitants, several deploy digital projects or are carried by recognized actors of digital mediation: Association française des petits débrouillards (the leading national network for popular education in and through science), Emmaus Connect (active in the field since 2013, as close as possible to the needs of people in integration, the professionals who support them and local authorities), LePoleS (an association for professional integration and digital training active in the priority neighborhoods of the city policy in Ile-de-France), Unis-Cité (an association that has forged partnerships with many local authorities around digital mediation: recruitment and training of civic service volunteers), Wimoov (which develops mobility platforms closer to the needs of people in fragile situations, on the scale of urban, peri-urban and rural territories) and Zone d'expression prioritaire (a web media carried by a team of professional journalists who support young people in their desire to bear witness to and take hold of current events as well as all the subjects that concern them). More information
The Zellidja association wins a prize from the Mouvement Associatif in the "digital practices" category
In 2018, the Mouvement Associatif launched Les Waldeck, an award to promote associative dynamics. Through this award, the Mouvement Associatif intends to support original approaches implemented by associations around 4 issues: employment, commitment, plural cooperations and digital practices. For this first editionFor this year's award, 212 associations of different sizes, from various sectors and from all over France submitted their applications.
In the Digital Practices category, the jury selected Zellidja, an association that works for youth mobility. Zellidja offers grants to young people to develop cross-disciplinary skills, commitment and curiosity through a project, namely the creation and formalization of a thematic trip "to meet others". Each year, Zellidja supports more than 180 applications and distributes 110 Zellidja Foundation scholarships. The jury awarded Zellidja.com the prize for its digital platform. More
Digital technology, a facilitator of volunteering in associations
According to a survey commissioned by France Bénévolat and conducted by IFOP, 25% of French people gave time to an association in 2016 (23% in 2010 and 24.6% in 2013). Beyond this base of one in four French people, the report "La France bénévole 2018, Franchir le pas" (France as a volunteer), asks about "the passage to action of about 15 million French people who could potentially volunteer.Here, as in many other areas, the Internet appears to be a facilitator and gas pedal. Associations can use their own websites and social networks to propose volunteer assignments. Volunteer opportunities are available online on the websites of dedicated associations such as Tous Bénévoles, France Bénévolat, Bénénova, or on platforms such as Diffuz. Next
Strategic and practical resources for associations' digital transition
The Point d'Accès au Numérique Associatif (PANA) offers a series of practical sheets and a practical guide to help associations "seize digital opportunities for their organization and their activities. The goal of these resources is to be able to use them as a framework for an organized workshop or to send them directly by email to an association in need of resources on the subject.
- Communicating on the Internet(indications on how to set up a communication strategy on the Internet, best practices for creating a website, using social networks, sending mailings, a set of recommended digital tools).
- Carry out a digital diagnosis(know the steps of a first digital diagnosis, be able to assess the digital practices of an association and be able to implement the first actions to go further
- Participatory financing (key figures on participatory financing in France, the right questions to ask before launching a participatory financing campaign, advice on how to mobilize around your campaign and be effective).
- The General Data Protection Regulation-RGPD(know the steps to be in order on the protection of personal data, be able to put in place the necessary actions).
- Collaborate thanks to digital tools(understand the challenges of collaborative work, know the tools and best practices for collaboration, facilitate remote work).
- 5 steps to integrate a digital tool in your association(understand the issues surrounding the implementation of new digital tools, know the best practices for optimal appropriation of a digital tool by an association).
- The digital tools guide: more than 30 tools for 10 identified needs (create a website; create or retouch a visual; send emails; send newsletters; manage social networks; collaborate on documents; archive documents; follow up on projects; monitor content; manage your association from an HR and accounting perspective).
1000 web professionals call on their colleagues to contribute their skills to associations
Webassoc is at the initiative of the call Changing the world: the call of 1000 web professionals volunteering. Webassoc is a community of web professionals who help humanitarian, solidarity and environmental associations to strengthen themselves with the internet, completely voluntarily. The Webassoc community gathers today nearly 1000 web professionals and helps each year more than 1500 humanitarian, charitable and environmental associations.
An upcoming survey on digital uses in associations
Recherches & Solidarités has partnered with Solidatech to conduct a new barometer on the place of digital technology in the associative project. After the 2013 and 2016 editions, a new edition of the barometer is being prepared, with the following objectives:
Solidatech is a digital solidarity program dedicated to associations, endowment funds, public utility foundations and public libraries. Its mission is to help these non-profit organizations strengthen their impact through digital technology. Recherches & Solidarités is a network of experts serving all forms of solidarity.
- Update the findings and lessons learned from the 2013 and 2016 surveys.
- Understand the needs and obstacles that associations face in accessing and using digital technology in the right conditions.
- Share this new assessment with the associative actors (employees, managers, other volunteers and members if necessary): raise their awareness, alert them to possible risks, guide them in their approach.
- To share these observations with digital actors so that they can adapt to the needs of associations in the design of tools, in the pedagogical approach and in the assistance they can provide to associative actors.
- To help and mobilize public authorities and support structures for associations so that they can provide appropriate responses to the needs of associations for support in the use of digital technology.
See also:Digital solutions for associations and citizen mobilization - Summary noteDigital solutions for associationsRecherches & solidarités Accompanying associations: the state of play