Digital Transformation: Becoming a Digital Nonprofit
"What is the greatest challenge your NGO faces?"
Paraphrasing the 1992 Clinton campaign, "It's the money, stupid.". Running a nonprofit has always been a challenging mission. The vision is almost always larger than the cumulative funds available and the costs involved in manpower and transactional operations often start becoming prohibitive. Considering the available for NGOs, one must always make a right investment that’ll yield them long term results. It is imperative for NGOs and Nonprofits to invest their monetary resources into digital technology to make their projects viable and increase the impact while benefiting from the overall cost efficiency which make the funds and grants long lasting and go further in creating impact.
We are at the beginning of an era that is witnessing a colossal, unconventional digital transformation which is predominantly changing our lifestyles. Digital Transformation is considered the third step towards adopting technologies, digital competence being the first and digital literacy being the second. ‘Going Paperless’ is the best way to describe ‘Digital Transformation’.
“There has been a fundamental paradigm shift. Today’s customer expectations are ‘If I can imagine it, it simply has to be there; if not, I’ll invent it myself’.” — Kim Williams, AFC Commissioner.
The Journey to Digital Transformation in Three Steps
Digitally Reactive - This step is understanding the how digital is being incorporated into Non Profits and how those practices are ensuring a sustainable delivery in impact.
Digitally Strategic – This is a much bigger step and it involves using things like data, services and impact model; all of them remain the same while changes observed are long served.
Digitally Transformational – This involves innovation in organization that allows one to understand how much technology can allow you to do and if implemented properly can help you achieve your vision.
How Can You Make your Digital Journey More Successful?
Incorporate the digital future in the vision of your Non-Profit
Most of the endeavours put into the transformation fail because the visions are not at all transformative. The real change cannot take a bottom to top approach but rather a top to down. One has to see across silos to see the real value of transformation. The leaders of the NGOs have to appreciate the impact of technology in all facets of their organisation.
Make investments in digital strategies and development of skills
Digital transformation would be a gruesome task if investments are not made into it. First and foremost we need to discern the risks involved in managing it and then make an investment thereby capitalizing on the changes. Finding the right skills and investing in should a priority. Yes, finding right skills is a big challenge, but organizations should remember that it is better and much more simpler to hire vendors than to hire talent.
Be willing to take a risk
While you know that every new medium doesn’t need a discrete strategy, you should be ready to experiment with new methods, tactics, and messages to make those connections. Unlike the early days of the Web, which provided a controlled content and heavy modification, Digitally Transformative organizations accept some risks that come along and participate in fast-moving environments.