Digital Transformation in NonProfit Organizations has become imperative

June 12, 2020

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Victor Sapar

In late 2019, I had the privilege to work with the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS) to initiate a digital transformation process. They’ve been using information and communication technologies (ICTs) to varying degrees mainly as a result of their partnerships with international non-profit organizations (NPOs) but haven’t done a strategic take on ICTs. To improve how they work and increase impact. 

Most local NPOs (or non-government organizations, NGOs) may have a general appreciation of how ICTs can help advance their missions, but not regarded as urgent or strategic, especially given usual apprehension on costs and technical competencies. Issues that can be addressed with open source, freemium or software donations and capacity-building.

With the switch to remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NPOs are caught unprepared and struggle to adapt to this new way of working that relies heavily on ICTs. Digital transformation is no longer “nice-to-have” but a “must-have”.

Why Digital Transformation?

Nethope, among other organizations, has been helping nonprofit organizations in their digital transformation journey. Nethope brings “together global nonprofits and technology innovators to solve the world’s toughest challenges through collaboration, partnership, and collective impact.” After more than decade working together, Nethope and its members realized the challenges in the nonprofit sector in leveraging technology solutions to increase impact despite access to new technologies. An extensive research was conducted that shows new strategies and tools are required to increase organizational efficiencies and program effectiveness that can be achieved through comprehensive digital transformation.

Digital NonProfit Ability Assessment

Through its Center for Digital NonProfit, Nethope has developed the Digital NonProfit Ability Assessment (DNA) to allow organizations to make decisions about how to begin their digital transformation journey. It used to be exclusive to its members, but is now totally free to all nonprofit organizations. Through an online survey, DNA assists organizations to:

  • determine readiness for digital transformation;
  • measure performance with established sector benchmarks; and
  • provide insights on strengths and weaknesses on readiness, people, process, technology, data, and investment.

A whitepaper provides comprehensive understanding on the DNA. 

Digital Leadership

Any major organizational change without management buy in is almost always likely to fail. Nethope outlines 6 questions to “equip nonprofit leaders with tools to understand what it takes to thrive in the digital transformation journey”. These are:

  1. What are our digital challenges and opportunities?
  2. Which business model is best for our nonprofit future?
  3. What is our digital-program mission advantage?
  4. How will we connect with emerging technologies?
  5. Do we have the core capabilities to reinvent our organization?
  6. Do we have the leadership to make the digital transformation happen?

Nethope acknowledges the different perspectives on foundational elements of digital transformation. These questions consider the collaboration and conversations between executives, managers  and staff as these are where the widest disparities take place.

Digital Transformation is a journey. Each nonprofit organization’s journey will have its own unique challenges and opportunities as well. 

Your digital transformation journey should start now.

(Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash.)

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