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The Non-Profit Perspective

Tech in the Social Sector

Let’s talk technology. In today’s world, the term technology could refer to most things. From phones, apps, to social media and every other kind of fancy bit of automation we’ve invented as a people. There are a lot of forms of technology and they’ve become imbedded in the systems we use now. This means that an organisation not looking to employ and utilise some of the new tech available to them is not only falling behind but actually making it harder to even do the things they’re currently doing in this ever-evolving climate we live in.

Now of course no one can expect a small organisation to keep up to date with all the new, fancy gadgets and forms of communication, especially when the targeted community is likely struggling with aspects of their lives unrelated to technology. However, as with the cutlery metaphor we used earlier and how it connects networking to business, technology is a tool that can make various efforts notably easier and far more effective if used correctly. On top of this there are so many forms of tech that organisations can really pick and choose, integrating parts into their system slowly and methodically if necessary.

What Types of Technology can we
look to use now?

Well for starters there’s the simple things like communication that can be addressed. Programs like Skype or Zoom, both of which are invaluable resources that allow communication without the need to travel. This enables members of boards, networks, and organisations to keep regular and efficient track on what everyone is doing. The same is true for file sharing apps like google drive which enables multiple users to work on the same document in real time, adjusting and communicating on the same level. In this fast-paced world we also need a lot of content and a way to manage and distribute it efficiently. In this regard there are things like Hootsuite and Buffer which make this process a whole lot easier. The point really is that we need to step outside our comfort zone here in the social sector and start incorporating technology in a variety of forms into our work. We are always looking to know more about what everyone is up to in the world of Non-Profits. With regards to tech it’s no different. So please let us know which technologies help you the most? Which forms of tech would you like to see used more in the NPO sector and which would you rather avoid? Do you even think NPO’s should be using more technology in their efforts? Let’s share our ideas and learn how best to integrate technology, or avoid it, together. Either way, it’s time we start injecting innovation into our efforts to help create a greater impact.

On the topic of tech in the social sector, we also provide social media support to Non-profits and at further discounted rates to members of the NGO Assist Trust so if you need any help managing the minefield of online marketing we are ready when you are!
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Communication and Networking

Communication is obviously of paramount importance when it comes to building an organisation within any community. We all need to talk and be heard so that together we address all of the problems available. Beyond that communication serves to inform and direct customers, investors and donors of objectives, tasks and missions. We need good communication to promote what we do to the world and through it, make it a better place.
Networking is a tool to provide a platform for communication. It is the knife that smears the butter, the fork that lifts the egg and the spoon that stirs the coffee… and like cutlery this tool helps us achieve our important goals. Could we eat without cutlery? Yes, of course, but it would be a much more difficult endeavour. The same is with networking, making the other aspects easier by providing external opportunities and insights. When we grow, we grow together!
An organisation is like a tree; if it doesn't branch out and spread its network it will never grow...
NGO Assist Trust and the Networking Breakfasts

Now let’s talk about the NGO Assist Trust’s Networking Breakfast. First off; a huge thank you to all that have attended so far! We have had some amazing networking meetings and all developed tighter bonds with our community and the NPOs that are trying to help. Connections have been made across all walks of life and enabled a variety of opportunities for our attendees. We hope you’ve enjoyed it so far and that we’ll be seeing you all again soon.
We are also looking to grow and expand our operation. Positive changes are in the works, with the incentive to make these networking breakfasts effective for all involved. By streamlining and increasing the efficiency through which we network we can create more, longer lasting, relationships. The best way to grow though is with an eye toward those you are trying to help and hearing things from their side of the table. In such a pursuit we urge all who have attended our networking breakfasts to send us feedback, advise us on areas we need to improve and grow so that together we can all reap the most benefit out of these experiences. And to all that have yet to attend we urge you to join us, and let’s start connecting!
With the right tools and approach, growth will come naturally...
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Putting the Mission first

I feel one of the biggest worries a lot of NPO’s have is that they might lose track of their fundamental mission. Distracted by either income or bloated donations the original purpose might get placed by the wayside, in pursuit of further income or to please donors. This is of course never the intention but when built upon a good mission it is easy to see how justifications can be made for excessive growth and through this a mind for further income to sustain it. Additionally, there is the risk that with unguided growth comes the potential harm from unintended by-products. As reach grows so does impact and with it the risk of adverse side effects that might not be clear from the start.

Take for a loose example the story of Facebook. When Mark Zuckerberg started the company his aims were primarily on allowing people to communicate with friends and family. In fact, it’s probably likely that they never really changed. However, in his pursuit of this goal and the growth and spread of it worldwide, he allowed advertisers and data companies to take advantage of the system and in turn its users. It is highly unlikely this was his original intent but without always realising we can lose track of our original goals from time to time and get swept up in the rush and heat of the moment. Intention is important but maintaining an understanding of that intention is also crucial. What are the effects of our actions? And as we spread and affect more and more people will we cause ripples that harm others or worse still, keep those we are helping in a constant state of dependency such that they can never move forward and grow themselves…

This is why we develop strategies. This is why we make plans and mind maps, so that in amongst our primary mission we maintain sight on the aspects we might not always be looking for. This is also why any strategy made must be able to adapt with the group using it, and effectively grow and scale as they do.
As we grow let's be mindful of the shadows we cast...

Not Fearing Income and Growth

We can see how the path ahead for organisations in the social sector is far from an easy one. This is without mentioning the struggles of simply maintaining operation and supporting those we have under our care. An important thing to keep in mind though is that growth and especially income is not the enemy in this scenario. They are simply powerful tools in achieving a greater impact for the whole of society. We must just use them carefully. The wise words of a rather famous Uncle Ben come to mind; ‘…with great power comes great responsibility…’. Each and every one of us is responsible over our own actions but at the same time, nothing stops us from working together to help keep each other in check and add to our collective vision so, in the end, we don’t leave anyone behind.
Avoiding growth and income though only puts us back at square one...

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