Digital Transformation of Russian NGOs During the Pandemic

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Director of the Center for Studies of the Nonprofit Sector and Civil Society, Head of the Chair Economics and Management of NPOs
Affiliation: National Research University Higher School of Economics
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Occupation: Senior Research Fellow of the Center for Studies of the Nonprofit Sector and Civil Society
Affiliation: National Research University Higher School of Economics
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Affiliation: National Research University Higher School of Economics
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameSotsiologicheskie issledovaniya
EditionIssue 9

The paper presents the results of the calculations of Russia’s first Index of NGO Basic Digital Competencies based on international experience and the data of two All-Russia NGO Surveys before the pandemic (2019) and a year following the pandemic outbteak (2021). The data highlight a critical underuse of digital technologies by Russian NGOS. An average index value is about 2 on a 10-point scale. Comparison of typological groups in 2019 and 2020 shows some positive shifts: a total share of “digital leaders” and “advanced” NGOs increased although the number of “digital outsiders” almost did not change. 

Surprisingly, the variable “digital fundraising” showed the lowest score, which may be explained from the resource dependence perspective. A conclusion is made that digitalization mostly affected NGOs that have already implemented digital technologies and during the pandemic turned to applying new digital tools, whereas the NGOs that did not apply digital technologies earlier were not motivated to introduce them. This indicates a kind of polarization in the NGO sector between the typological groups of “digital leaders” and “digital outsiders” which was manifested during the pandemic. The index potential as a tool of both evaluation and diagnostics of reserves has been shown. The latter links the progress in NGO digital competences with the implementation of the strategic approach and the use of marketing technologies. 

KeywordsNGOs, digital technologies, digital competencies, indices, pandemic
AcknowledgmentThis work was supported by the Program for Basic Research of the National Research University Higher School of Economics.
Publication date29.09.2022
Number of characters28702
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