Digital and Disruption: Opportunities for the Social Sector

Good2Give CEO Lisa Grinham recently joined a panel of experts at a Deloitte, AON and Macquarie breakfast event on Digital Disruption.

The panel included Reece Proudfoot, Innovation Strategist at WWF Australia; Mark Reading, Head of Atlassian Foundation; and Chief Disrupter Anne-Marie Elias. Deloitte’s Social Impact Consulting team also shared insights on sector trends.

Key sector trends

Not-for-profits are facing tough times.

Due to changes in public reform and funding models, there is an increasing responsibility to deliver better care to the communities served by not-for-profits, whilst improving operational efficiency. And quality cannot be compromised.

The 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer revealed a decline in trust across institutions. There is an elevated level of scrutiny across the not-for-profit sector, with strong expectation from the public for not-for-profits to do the right thing. Demonstrating impact and value has never been more important.

Innovative, new technologies are providing solutions to all of these challenges, enabling not-for-profits to save time and funds, advance operations and improve conduct and compliance.

Initiatives like CRM technology enable effective management of customer and donor life cycles. Automation, Blockchain and algorithms can help improve conduct and compliance by reducing human manual error, recording and sharing information, and producing audits and quality checks.

There’s no doubt that technology is disrupting the not-for-profit space and contributing to the growth of new start-ups and competitors. Not-for-profits that have operated for a long time need to rethink their strategy and operations and embrace this disruption, in order to remain commercially viable and stay true to their mission.

There is enormous potential for emerging technology to be channelled towards positive impact. So, if you are a not-for-profit where do you start?

Implementing Technology into your Organisation

Determine the Role of Technology

As with any strategic plan, you need to first consider your objective. What is your business need and how can technology help?

Determine your purpose for investing in technology.

Is it:

  • To improve operational efficiencies?
  • To better engage with clients through digital tools?
  • To operate more effectively, at a lower cost and to scale?
  • Or all of the above?

Next, research what’s already out there.

  • Is there a company you can collaborate with?
  • Can you tap into existing technology? Keep in mind that many software companies will provide free or hugely discounted offerings to not-for-profits.

The next step is to build your business plan and start sourcing funding.

And remember – don’t be afraid to experiment!

Embrace a Technology Culture

New technology is only beneficial if the people in your organisation embrace and implement it as part of their everyday working lives. Your people are your number one asset, and you must take them with you on your digital transformation journey.

To help meet the challenge of integrating technology into your not-for-profit:

  • Ensure your staff understand how new technology will help them do more for their donors.
  • Take your staff through design thinking and help them to embrace an experimentation culture.

Upskill and Recruit Tech Savvy People

Whilst technology is accessible, integrating it into an organisation is hard.

  • Invest in up-skilling your people by providing education and training opportunities.
  • Consider recruiting new people with the skills you need. For example, a Technology Leader who can translate the technical need to meet business requirements.
  • Consider setting up a Technology Advisory Group to keep you up to speed on complex issues and give your Board a level of assurity. This has worked exceptionally well at Good2Gvive.
  • Collaborate with experts in the field to leverage their skills and experience.

Track your Impact

The last step in digital transformation is to measure your impact.  To demonstrate value, outcomes must be measured; what gets measured gets valued.

There are many technology programs available that track your impact.  Decide what you need to report on, and what measures are right for your organisation. For example, if you need to report on outcomes in the field, you may want to investigate mobile technology reporting.

Who is Doing It Well?

For ideas of technology to implement into your not-for-profit, look no further than other organisations delivering significant impact through technology.

  • The Atlassian Foundation aims to use technology to educate 10 million disadvantaged children globally. They fund the translation of coding clubs into 30 different languages, so coding can be actioned around the world. They also fund the delivery of English language education to remote villages without internet, using tablets and battery packs.
  • Canteen Australia has been supporting teenagers and their families facing cancer for over 30 years. They recently began rolling out a new robot – an iPad screen on a robotic body – to enable digitally savvy teenagers in hospital to stay connected with their school friends, helping break down the stigma of cancer.
  • WWF Australia analysed emerging technologies and reported on these in their ‘Can Technology Save the Planet’ paper. Blockchain stood out, and since then they have introduced revolutionary blockchain technology to the Pacific Islands’ tuna industry, the first of its kind for this region. They also run a Greenhouse event series exploring the role emerging technology can play in solving some of our biggest environmental and social challenges.
  • Good2Give recently reached a significant milestone of delivering $200 million in donations to charities across Australia and New Zealand, using innovative technology solutions which make corporate giving easy. Technology enables donors to give quickly and easily straight from their salary; companies to match staff donations; and charities to receive millions of dollars in corporate support. And that’s just workplace giving! Other investments we’ve made by partnering with GoFundraise to deliver Fundraising at Work through to technology that makes managing corporate grants programs easy, we are seeing the very real impact of utilising technology to scale corporate giving for the benefit of charities in Australia and New Zealand.

If you would like to grow your organisation’s giving through technology, join Good2Give, read our services page and get in touch today.