Infoxchange Group
Annual Report 2020

Technology for social justice

Infoxchange staff member working at his laptop
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Ask Izzy with coronavirus message showing on phone
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Infoxchange staff member working at his laptop

Infoxchange Group Annual Report 2020

Technology for social justice

Woman and man looking at a tablet
Ask Izzy with coronavirus message showing on phone

We strengthen communities using technology to create positive social change

In the past year we’re proud to have supported:

illustration of people

people in need

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not-for-profit, community and government services

A message from our Chair & CEO

Stan Krpan, Infoxchange Group Chair
David Spriggs, Infoxchange Group CEO

This year has been extremely challenging for individuals and organisations alike, with the COVID-19 pandemic hitting Australia and New Zealand only two months after the devastating Black Summer bushfire season in Australia.

Our products and services have been needed by the community and not-for-profit sector more than ever this year as a result. Supported by our partners and with the incredible dedication of our staff and volunteers, we’re proud of the way we have mobilised to respond to meet the needs of those impacted by these crises.

In early 2020 we made crucial updates to Ask Izzy to ensure that people affected by the bushfires and COVID-19 could easily find local support services. We also moved to an online delivery model for our digital skills and employment programs to ensure people could continue learning skills for work and life at a time when digital skills have proven to be more essential than ever before.

We supported not-for-profits with the digital tools needed to aid their bushfire recovery efforts, and we helped organisations adapt to working from home and transition their service delivery during COVID-19 by upgrading their technology platforms and providing access to donated and discounted technology.

Disaster response and recovery is becoming the new normal, and we’re committed to continuing to use technology to help put communities on the road to recovery, transform the not-for-profit sector and prepare for future disasters.

    Some of our significant achievements this year include:

    • 5.9 million searches on our service directories, including Ask Izzy. Ask Izzy had the most monthly searches in its four-year history this March during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia – demonstrating its enormous value as a crisis support tool.
    • Supporting 24,000 not-for-profits with IT support, consulting, training and technology solutions. Our client and case management and referral systems supported over 1.3 million people in the last year alone.
    • Providing not-for-profits with $24.6 million worth of donated technology products.
    • Delivering digital skills training to people across Australia – including through Digital Springboard, our program which builds the skills and confidence people need to use digital technology and access new career opportunities, and through our Connecting Up Online Courses that are tailored specifically for the not-for-profit sector.
    • Launching the Connected Future initiative with partners Credit Union Australia and the Australian Red Cross to improve the digital and financial capability of vulnerable community members across Australia.
    • Empowering the sector with data insights to inform service delivery and working with government to move towards a more data-driven approach to policy development.

    Our organisational strategy has served us well during COVID-19. Despite the disruptions, our rigorous planning and focus on our core mission has enabled us to support the community and not-for-profit sector with record levels of impact, whilst transitioning our workforce to working from home and maintaining a strong financial position.

    As we enter into the new financial year in a period of ongoing disruption, our key priority will be delivering products and services that support the digital transformation of communities and the sector during the pandemic and in a post COVID-19 world.

    We will also continue to focus on our team’s health and wellbeing as we consider new ways of working as a result of COVID-19.

    And we’ll be working on the Infoxchange Group’s next three-year strategy to set the course for the coming three years, with plans to further scale our impact to help communities in need and the organisations that support them by using technology to create positive social change.

    Thank you to all our staff and volunteers for your extremely hard work and dedication during this tough year. Thank you to our Board for your incredible leadership, and to our customers and partners for your ongoing support.

    We look forward to working with you all over the coming year as we continue to deliver on our vision of technology for social justice.

    Supporting communities and the not-for-profit sector through a challenging year

    Supporting communities and the not- for-profit sector through a challenging year

    Bushfire support and recovery

    illustration of a fire

    Supporting bushfire recovery through Client and case management

    We added new functionality to our client and case management systems to support bushfire recovery efforts. The functionality was rolled out to more than 1,500 homelessness services.

    Ask Izzy bushfire support

    We updated Ask Izzy with a new bushfire support category, added 600+ new recovery services and updated a further 5,000+ services in bushfire affected areas, supported by Google.org and volunteers from Telstra and NAB.

    Telstra top-ups

    We expanded our Telstra top-up program to provide free mobile credit to people affected by bushfires through organisations using our client and case management systems.

    Supporting Australian Red Cross

    “Australian Red Cross utilised the Infoxchange client and case management system to register 4,380 people to receive grants from our Bushfire Grants and Recovery Program and support 5,800 Australians experiencing vulnerability during the COVID-19 pandemic with emergency relief payments. The system plays and integral role in safely managing clients’ data and allows us to respond quickly in times of disaster.”

    – Noel Clement, Director, Australian Programs, Australian Red Cross

    Recovery Connect

    We worked with the National Bushfire Recovery Agency and Services Australia to create Recovery Connect, a new service finder tool that connects people with support during times of disaster to help them get back on their feet sooner.

    NSW bushfire response

    We supported the NSW Government’s bushfire response by mapping service demand in bushfire affected areas using Ask Izzy search data.

    Building digital skills in disaster prone areas

    Through our Digital Springboard program with Google, we teamed up with Australian Red Cross to build digital skills in disaster prone areas and help communities prepare for future crises.

    COVID-19 support and recovery

    illustration of the coronavirus

    Ask Izzy COVID-19 support

    We updated Ask Izzy with a new COVID-19 support category, listing COVID-19 testing sites and national and state-based support numbers. Supported by Credit Union Australia, the Department of Social Services, Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, the Telstra Foundation and the Vodafone Foundation, we’re planning a suite of additional enhancements to support people in a post-COVID-19 world.

    March and April were the biggest months of usage in Ask Izzy history with over 450,000 searches for help across Australia.

    Technology donations to support remote work

    We met huge demand for software donations through Connecting Up to support staff with video conferencing and online collaboration.

    Supporting not-for-profits in the transition to working from home

    Our IT support team helped the not-for-profit sector in the transition to working from home and delivering services online. Requests ranged from cloud implementations to support for people working remotely to establishing more complex security measures for organisations.

    Digital inclusion & COVID-19

    We have been raising awareness of the digital inclusion challenges relating to COVID-19 with media, government and the not-for-profit sector.

    Delivering our programs online

    Our digital skills and employment programs moved online so participants could keep building their skills in a safe environment, with our delivery partners and TAFEs supporting the transition.

    COVID-19 Expert bar

    We launched the Connecting Up Expert Bar, a series of free online sessions dedicated to helping the not-for-profit sector adapt to the challenges of COVID-19.

    Using tech to empower people & communities

    Digital Springboard trainer delivering a session

    Using tech to empower people & communities

    The past year has seen:

    searches for help on our directories, including Ask Izzy & SAcommunity

    people provided with digital skills training through our Digital Springboard program

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    more than 400 organisations participating in the Australian Digital Inclusion Alliance (ADIA)

    The COVID-19 lockdowns this year forced us all to rely on digital technology more than ever before. Access to devices, internet and digital skills became absolutely critical for work, education, social connection, accessing government services – even buying groceries.

    But it also made Australia’s digital divide even more apparent, and those without access to digital technology or the skills to use it have been left even further behind.

    As founding members of the Australian Digital Inclusion Alliance, we have worked with a powerful consortium of corporate, government and community groups to advocate for the creation of a national digital inclusion roadmap to help address Australia’s widening digital skills gap.

    Our efforts to support people to improve their digital skills have been amplified with our Digital Springboard program reaching over 3,000 people nationally, and in a new online format. To support those worried about getting online we launched two new courses focused on scams and managing money online.

    Through our service directories we continue to empower people in need by connecting them to more than 370,000 support services across Australia. In the past year we saw almost 6 million searches for help on our directories – two million more than last year.

    We’re more determined than ever to keep empowering people and communities to improve their lives through the use of technology, ensuring that no one is left behind in today’s digital world.

    Seth Constable at the Tech Ready graduation

    Tackling youth unemployment through digital skills training

    Young people have been disproportionately represented in Australia’s unemployment figures throughout COVID-19. We’ve been striving to give them their best chance at gaining meaningful employment through our Tech Ready program.

    Supported by the Victorian Government, Tech Ready tackles youth unemployment and the digital skills shortage in regional areas by helping young people get the digital skills they need for the jobs of the future.

    Since June 2019, Tech Ready has supported 58 students in Geelong, Shepparton and Wangaratta to undertake a Certificate III in Information, Digital Media and Technology. It has also provided practical job-readiness workshops,  mentoring and opportunities to connect with industry professionals.

    One Tech Ready graduate who has reaped the benefits of the program’s supportive model is Seth Constable, who landed his first role in tech just three months after graduation.

    Seth now works as an IT officer at a local high school. Even though the school has seen major disruptions this year due to COVID-19, Seth has taken it all in his stride. For him, Tech Ready was instrumental in helping him prepare for work and thrive in his new role during very challenging times.

    Tech Ready helped me land my first job in tech. Being able to apply the knowledge I gained through the program’s industry tours and guest speakers really helped give an extra level of credibility to my evolving education. 

    Seth Constable

    Tech Ready graduate

    students enrolled

    students gained employment or transitioned into further I.T study

    industry professionals involved

    I know for some people, accessing support is really overwhelming and really scary. If you don’t know what’s out there, you don’t even know where to start.

    With Ask Izzy you can just type in where you are and there you go, it’s all at your fingertips. Having that information is a powerful first step.

    Nellie Jackson

    Musician and youth counsellor

    Close up of Ask Izzy on a mobile phone

    I know for some people, accessing support is really overwhelming and really scary. If you don’t know what’s out there, you don’t even know where to start.

    With Ask Izzy you can just type in where you are and there you go, it’s all at your fingertips. Having that information is a powerful first step.

    Nellie Jackson

    Musician and youth counsellor

    There have been

    searches on Ask Izzy in the last year

    Ask Izzy is our website that connects people to more than 370,000 services across Australia including housing, meals, money help and more.

    It was developed by Infoxchange in partnership with Google, realestate.com.au and News Corp Australia.

    Top 5 category searches:

    • Food – 31%
    • Money help – 19%
    • Housing – 17%
    • Everything things – 10%
    • Centrelink – 6%

    Top 5 demographics of users seeking housing support:

    • Mental or emotional difficulties – 23%
    • Escaping family violence – 21%
    • Families with children – 17%
    • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander – 12%
    • Have pets – 9%

    Ask Izzy searches during Australia’s first COVID-19 lockdown

    Number of weekly searches

    This graph shows how the introduction of official measures coincided with the highest ever use of Ask Izzy in the final week of March 2020.

    Search increases during the first two weeks of lockdown in March 2020

    %

    Increase in searches for centrelink

    %

    Increase in searches for emergency relief

    %

    Increase in searches for food

    Most common search terms in March 2020

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    Housing

    illustration of the coronavirus

    Coronavirus

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    Food

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    Toilet paper

    woman using facemask using her phone outdoors

    Connecting people with vital services during national crises

    There’s no denying 2020 has been tough on a lot of people. The year began with catastrophic bushfires ripping through communities across Australia, and only a few months later the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

    These national emergencies have shattered communities and left millions of people out of work and struggling to pay bills and put food on the table.

    Ask Izzy has been there in these times of crisis to connect people in need with support such as food parcels, emergency relief and counselling.

    With support from Google’s philanthropic arm, Google.org, we responded to the bushfires by making urgent updates to our service listings in fire-affected areas so that people could get accurate and up-to-date information about help in their area.

    We also created a new bushfire support category with links and phone numbers for all state-based relief services across Australia.

    When COVID-19 hit we immediately updated Ask Izzy with national and state-based COVID-19 support information, including testing site locations. As the pandemic took hold, searches for help on Ask Izzy spiked to the highest levels in its four-year history as more people than ever sought help.

    We know the impact of these crises will be felt for a long time to come. The Ask Izzy team will continue working hard to ensure we keep responding to the needs of the community as we all navigate the post COVID-19 world and prepare for future natural disasters.

    Technology has the potential to transform the way services are delivered and have a real impact, especially during a crisis – Ask Izzy is a great example of that.

    Lucinda Longcroft

    Google Australia Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy

    Ask Izzy showing Coronavirus message on a mobile phone

    Using tech to strengthen the sector

    Connecting Up volunteer wearing phone headset

    Using tech to strengthen the sector

    The past year has seen:

    people provided with support through our case management system

    $24.6 million worth of technology product donated to not-for-profits

    electronic referrals for people in need of support

    tonnes of refurbished hardware supplied to not-for-profits

    hours of technical support supplied to not-for-profits

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    enrolments for our online training courses by not-for-profit staff

    With the challenges faced by so many this year, it’s never been more important for organisations to have good, reliable technology so they can keep supporting communities even through the most difficult times.

    Not only can technology help not-for-profits find new and innovative ways of reaching out and helping people, it also allows their staff to continue to work efficiently and effectively so the communities they serve don’t miss out on valuable services.

    Through our range of technology services, including IT support, consulting, webinars and online training, technology donations and discounts, we’ve been able to support not-for-profits across Australia and New Zealand as they’ve adapted to new ways of working in our post-COVID world.

    Our client and case management system continues to be used 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.

    And our extensive service directories such as Service Seeker and SAcommunity are being used by thousands of organisations
    every day to find support for those doing it tough.

    public housing tower

    Helping vulnerable Queenslanders find a safe place to live

    Everyone has a right to a home where they feel safe and secure, and the Queensland Department of Housing and Public Works is committed to helping vulnerable Queenslanders find appropriate, affordable and safe housing.

    We’ve been working with the Department on a large-scale project to develop a customised, flexible client management system that puts people and families at the forefront and helps them find accommodation to suit their needs.

    Our system allows the Department to help their clients in a range of ways, including:

    • assessing their individual needs to find products, services and referrals to help them applying for social housing
    • applying for various grant and help initiatives
    • finding short term accommodation for families in emergency situations such as natural disasters.

    The system is also able to streamline processes such as pulling Centrelink payment information directly into a client’s record, saving countless hours of manual data entry.

    With the system built to seamlessly share data across multiple platforms, workers can focus more on the client and their needs rather than worrying about searching for or inputting data in multiple places.

    Thanks to our client management system, vulnerable Queenslanders who need a safe place to live can get support efficiently and with their particular needs kept front of mind.

    Infoxchange really took the time to listen to our needs. The system they have built for us is user friendly and incredibly flexible – but most importantly of all, it helps us put the focus back on the people and families of Queensland that we’re supporting.

    Damien Tait

    Director of Business and Technology Engagement, Department of Housing and Public Works

    social housing applications

    emergency housing accommodation requests

    Mother and child
    Mark Rayner at Wombat Housing working at a computer

    Keeping homelessness support on track through covid-19

    Wombat Housing Support Services is a small community-based agency in Melbourne’s north-west that helps people experiencing or at risk of homelessness to find and maintain housing.

    Early this year we transformed Wombat’s IT environment by implementing a case management system, moving them to the cloud and setting them up with flexible helpdesk support, helping Wombat to continue to support Melbourne’s most vulnerable people through COVID-19 with minimal disruption.

    Infoxchange really made an effort to  work out what our organisation is and what it needs. Having these new systems in place during COVID-19 has meant that we can still support our clients while working from home.

    Mark Rayner

    General Manager, Wombat Housing Support Services

    Infoxchange staff in the Brisbane office

    Supporting the sector through client and case management

    community, not-for-profit and government services use our systems to manage client data and referrals

    client records securely stored in our client and case management systems

    icon showing referrals from mobile phone

    electronic referrals sent for people in need of support this financial year

    Some of the service areas we assist:

    Housing & Homelessness services

    Women, youth & family services

    Indigenous community services

    Disability services

    Mental health services

    Organisations we’re proud to provide with client & case management solutions include:

    Client and case management partner logos
    Chinese girl sponsored by Heart 4 Kids

    Helping children across international boundaries

    Heart for Kids is a Sydney based not-for-profit that has been helping children living in poverty for 20 years through child sponsorship and education programs.

    It has changed the lives of hundreds of children in China, Indonesia and India. But working across international borders as well as multiple locations in Sydney meant that collaborating and securely sharing files had become a real challenge for the organisation.

    Through Connecting Up’s donations and discounts program Heart for Kids was able to get heavily discounted access to Microsoft 365, a cloud-based platform that combines Office apps with additional tools like chat, video meetings and file storage.

    The team’s communication and efficiency has vastly improved since rolling out the new software, meaning they can now devote more time to their charitable work. The organisation was also able to purchase discounted laptops through Connecting Up and has benefited from our regular webinars, which aim to help not-for-profits get the most out of technology.

    Thanks to a “light bulb moment” during one webinar on fundraising this year, Heart for Kids made some revisions to a planned campaign and subsequently raised twice as much as any previous fundraiser. With this money, the organisation was able to purchase a two-acre site with their partner in India to build a school and hostel.

    And the savings that Heart for Kids have made on technology and training accessed through Connecting Up have enabled the organisation to support an additional 20 children to gain an education and build a brighter future.

    $10,000 saved on software and technology products

    additional young people sponsored

    Four Indian girls sponsored by Heart 4 Kids

    We’re proud to offer technology donations and discounts in partnership with more than 50 organisations, including:

    Infoxchange Group's senior leadership team in a Zoom meeting

    Our senior leadership team

    The Infoxchange Group is led by a group of diverse and devoted leaders who are passionate about using technology to drive social change and create stronger communities.

    Celebrating our people and culture

    We’re incredibly proud of the commitment, resilience and agility our staff have shown in the face of this year’s many challenges and opportunities. Our work in the sector has never been more critical, and we couldn’t do it without the fantastic work our people do every day towards technology for social justice. 

    It’s important to us that our staff feel happy and supported in the workplace so that they can thrive in their roles and help us make a real impact with our work. 

    That’s why this year we moved our excellent health and wellbeing programs online, so that staff could continue to access weekly yoga and meditation classes even during lockdown.

    We also trained new Mental Health First Aid officers to support our staff, and we found plenty of other innovative ways to keep staff engaged and connected while working from home. 

    From weekly prize draws to online classes, our initiatives have helped connect us all and continue to strengthen relationships between staff across Australia and New Zealand. Congratulations to all our people for the fantastic contributions you’ve made this year.

    Infoxchange staff members in a Microsoft Teams meeting

    Staff

    Based in

    Melbourne

    Adelaide

    Brisbane

    Christchurch

    • Male 53% 53%
    • Female 47% 47%

    %

    Born outside Australia

    %

    Have a disability

    %

    LGBTIQ+

    Volunteers

    Countries

    Languages spoken

    Our values

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    Empowerment

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    Integrity

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    Agility

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    Excellence

    Our Board

    The Infoxchange Group Board have extensive experience and professional expertise across the community, business and government sectors.

    Stan Krpan, chair

    Stan is the CEO of Solar Victoria and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He was previously CEO of Sustainability Victoria and has extensive executive experience in government and qualifications in law and economics. Most recently he served as Co-Chair of the Building Victoria’s Recovery Taskforce established by the Victorian Government. Stan is also a member of the Advisory Board of Melbourne University’s Sustainable Societies Institute.

    Morgana Ryan, Deputy Chair

    Morgana has been on the Infoxchange Board since 2012 and is Chair of the Strategy committee. She has more than 20 years’ experience in strategic, IT and business process transformation across the corporate and international development sectors. Morgana is also the author of two books, Building a Better International NGO and Navigating Change for International NGOs. She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

    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 non-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 NFP Management Program and the Sydney Adaptive Leadership Program.

    Alan Dormer, Director

    Alan has more than 20 years’ experience in IT and innovation. He is currently Managing Director of Opturion, a company that applies decision support technology to a wide range of industries. He has a keen interest in digital literacy as fundamental for a truly digital society and creating opportunities for employment. He has also co-authored several reports on this subject with CSIRO and NICTA.

    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.

    David Jonas, Director

    David is a consultant, director and writer, and was founding CEO of the Digital Health CRC. Previously he led health R&D and commercialisation for the Capital Markets CRC 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 a number of Australian and European Union Government bodies.

    Robert Morsillo, Director

    Robert joined the Infoxchange Board in 2013. He has worked for Telstra for over 20 years in community engagement and consumer affairs, advocating for customers in vulnerable circumstances. His current role at Telstra is Senior Advisor, Digital Inclusion. In 2014 he was made an Adjunct Associate Professor, Swinburne University, and since 2010 has been a member of the Council of the University of Divinity and chairs their Risk Management and Audit Committee.

    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.

    Linda O'Brien, Director

    Linda is Pro Vice Chancellor at Griffith University and Head of the Logan Campus. Linda currently chairs the ORCID Board, a non-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.

    Amy Orange, Director

    Amy is an award-winning social entrepreneur and Principal of Fourth Sector Solutions. Amy brings her experience and expertise from over 10 years in the not-for-profit community services and social enterprise sectors to develop sustainable strategies which 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.

    Jennifer Williams AM, Director

    Jennifer joined the Infoxchange Board in 2017. She has significant experience in the health sector having been Chief Executive of Austin Health, Alfred Health and the Red Cross Blood Service. She is now a company director and Chair of Northern Health and Chair of Yooralla. She is also a Board member of Barwon Health, the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority and the National Medical Research Advisory Board.

    Thank
    you!

    ThANK YOU TO OUR INCREDIBLE PARTNERS AND SUPPORTERS WHO HAVE WORKED WITH US THIS YEAR TO ACHIEVE POSITIVE SOCIAL CHANGE THROUGH THE SMART AND CREATIVE USE OF TECHNOLOGY.

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    Download the full report & summary of our financial statements

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