A lack of cash and confidence is making charities reluctant to try cloud services, according to research.

Social welfare law and technology charity Lasa, regeneration consultancy Civic Regeneration, and Wi-Fi provider RegenerateIT surveyed nearly 160 charities and not-for-profit organisations in the UK about the use of cloud technology.

Eight out of ten charities said technology had a role to play in building prime minister David Cameron's Big Society, but funding cuts meant only one in three workers had time to try new tools, according to the survey.

The survey also found 45 percent have considered using cloud technology in the next financial year.

Of those that were not using the cloud, and were not planning on using it, the main reason cited was a lack of understanding of the cloud and what it has to offer charities.

A perceived lack of security with cloud services and the implications this has for online data safety was also an important factor. Many charities hold a considerable amount of sensitive information about their service users.

Respondents were also asked to highlight what benefits they thought the cloud offers. The vast majority (84 percent) suggested that being able to access information and data from anywhere with an internet connection was a key advantage.  There was also the perception that the cloud could save time and money.

Lasa chief executive Terry Stokes said: “When charities make the most of technology, it means better services for the people they support. Although many cloud applications are low cost, funding cuts mean charity workers don’t feel they have time to try new things."

But, he added, “despite the pressures of the recession, charities need to make the most of the resources they have to provide the best services to their clients".
Lasa helps charities make the most of technology by providing practical advice and support.

The government has reportedly axed plans to use "wholesale outsourcing" to help cut the national debt, and is considering the role of charities in providing some services instead.

The government is now looking for public services to be more widely delivered by public/private partnerships.

This would include services being delivered through arrangements between charities, social enterprises or employee-owned mutual organisations and the private sector, including outsourcers.