Non-profit organizations typically run on a limited budget. As such, automation and other advanced IT practices are often out of the question in their sector. But in this age, forgoing technology could mean decreased productivity and impact.
Sadly, only 11 percent of NGOs say that their approaches to digital technology are highly effective. For this reason, NGOs are missing out on the opportunity to increase their impact. But NGOs need digital expertise at a senior management level to adopt technology. It’s not enough for only an IT team to handle all decision-making regarding technology. Digitalization impacts every aspect of an NGO’s operations, after all.
For instance, migrating all workload into the cloud would require an IT asset management (ITAM) system. It is a set of business practices that manages the lifecycle and inventory of an organization’s IT assets. IT assets, in turn, refer to a software or hardware piece within an IT environment. These definitions show that ITAM requires both management and technology expertise. Hence, NGO leaders should also play a proactive role in using technology.
NGOs can invest in cloud-computing software to optimize their workflow and secure their data. Innovative ServiceNow ITAM is one example of such. But how will this particular technology increase NGO’s impact?
Improve Operational Efficiency
It’s no stranger to anyone that technology can boost any organization’s operational efficiency. For instance, automation can reduce repetitive tasks in the private sector and allow employees to focus on more relevant tasks. NGOs can also experience this benefit. With digital tools, they can focus on creating more campaigns instead of dealing with paperwork and other manual tasks.
Gather More Information
NGOs without an IT system have limited ways of collecting information. On the contrary, embracing technology allows NGOs to gather more information in a shorter time. They don’t even need to pay for infrastructure or software. Using social media or productivity tools like Zoom can already provide NGOs with the information they need.
For example, if an NGO wants to encourage people to donate, it can create social media content describing its campaign and beneficiaries. They should include a link to a donation platform in the caption. Their content will exhibit a call to action, effectively encouraging their followers to check out the campaign and donate money.
The NGO can then use Google Analytics or a similar tool to monitor the traffic of their content. It will provide essential information, allowing NGOs to tailor their content to the right audience.
Provide More Effective Solutions
The Child in Need Institute is one example of an NGO that utilizes technology. They partnered with Accenture Labs to develop a digital solution called Girl Power. Girl Power helped Child in Need Institute reach out to vulnerable adolescents and women who need healthcare, nutrition, education, and protection. The solution uses mobile, analytics, and cloud technologies to track changes in the beneficiaries’ circumstances, provide real-time insight, and issue alerts. As a result, Child in Need successfully saved 200 girls from child marriage and trafficking in a single year.
This is a prime example of technology increasing an NGOs impact. Without Girl Power, Child in Need wouldn’t have saved as many girls. Likewise, other NGOs without a similar solution might miss out on helping more people. They might focus on only one community and fail to heed the calls of others.
More Opportunities to Collaborate With the Private Sector
Corporations often pledge a significant amount of profits to NGOs. NGOs then use their donations to fund their programs and improve their facilities. They can receive millions of dollars, allowing them to reach out to far-flung groups and extend their missions globally.
Corporations usually form contracts with NGOs for long-term projects. It cements their partnership and boosts corporations’ social responsibility. Hence, NGOs should make the most out of their donations by investing in up-to-date technology. If their innovations have increased their impact, more corporations would be eager to collaborate with them. The private sector is also on a perpetual quest to become a positive force in society, so they wouldn’t pass on the chance to partner with an innovative NGO.
Corporations can also offer their technology to NGOs, like what Accenture Labs did with Child in Need. This strategy may leave a more significant impact. It allows the corporation to use their product for a cause, while the NGO changes more lives using streamlined solutions.
Simply put, embracing technology can boost NGOs’ value to their donors. More importantly, it enables NGOs to open better opportunities and connect with their audience more deeply. Luckily, low-cost technologies are available to NGOs with limited budgets. Simpler technology ensures that no NGO will be left out in the digital age.