April 22, 2015

Making the Most of Technology

Posted in Marketing, Technology tagged , , at 10:34 pm by Sue Hine

Multi Media Internet Laptop with Objects

A few weeks back I received notice of a piece of newly-published New Zealand research on digital proficiency in the NFP Sector.  It came via my email inbox of course, and though I am no great shakes in computer literacy and technological competency I do know what a necessary asset these skills are for all things volunteering, and for volunteer organisations.

I have lamented for a long time about the often poor and inadequate use of technology.  Goodness, it’s nearly five years since I wrote about making websites attractive for volunteers.  And still I come across inadequate and out-of-date information, misleading links, and a sort of stone-walling that looks like the organisation has something to hide.  I’ve preached about more effective use of social media too, and making space for volunteer on-line participation.

Anyway the analysis of digital proficiency in the research is pretty-much spot on.  The report says the NFP Sector is under pressure to do more with less: Government wants to reduce spending; traditional sources of funding are shifting; and supporters want to see the impact of their investment.  Organisations that are digitally proficient are better placed to respond in a challenging environment, and there are gains to be made across a range of NFP operations.

It is possible these findings could be extrapolated to a global sphere: “there is no significant difference between IT capability levels between metropolitan and regional-based organisations, or across Australia and New Zealand”. That is not to say Aussies and Kiwis are just the same: there are distinct cultural differences, despite our neighbourliness.

Other results show that less than half of research participants have an IT plan; that there is a positive correlation between IT capability and revenue generation; and that capability is not relevant to organisation size and complexity.  And still 11% of organisations do not have or use a website.  There’s a heap of challenges to make IT more productive of course, starting with affordable and skilled technical resources.  Staff training is high on the list, and making the most of new IT developments is also important.

But wait, there is more.  A Facebook link turns up: Tech is Everyone’s Job.  Because Tech is also the space for innovation, and lack of staff training and opportunities to test new processes becomes a barrier to effective organisation progress.  Right?  Just see what Chief Executives are missing when they refuse to use social media.

There is a heap of stuff available urging digital proficiency.  There’s also a deal of research and statistics on internet connectivity and use.  What about volunteer involvement in their organisation’s on-line activity?

When the idea of volunteers being let loose on social media is raised I hear objections that come close to outrage.  I sigh, for this indication of such a lack of trust, that volunteers will abuse the system and risk the organisation’s credibility – which I note is a slur rarely applied to paid staff.  With a well-drafted policy to cover and manage perceived risks (and there are examples) volunteers could prove a real asset in promoting good news and even attracting donors’ attention.

Let’s make volunteers and volunteering digital-friendly, and up on the spectrum of technological competence – as well as getting some up-skilling in digital proficiency for organisations.

Advertisements

2 Comments »

  1. So spot on Sue. It seems like you have to “pry” management hands off of social media because they fear that the incorrect wording will go out in the hands of not only volunteers but staff other than duly appointed marketing people. Their fear is their undoing, because volunteers are finding opportunities on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Linkedin, and so many others. If organizations do not evolve, they will be pressing their noses to the window, watching the volunteers go elsewhere.

    Like

    • Sue Hine said,

      Of course volunteers are not confined to agency direction these days. Technology has old hands by the nose, so why not welcome volunteer participation. ‘if you can’t beat ’em, you join ’em.’ Thanks for your comment Meridian.

      Like


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: