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April 2020

Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 apr 2020

In the digital era, it is imperative for nonprofit leaders to embrace technology and adapt to change effectively. Practicing concepts of 'change management' helps in the technological transformation. Aparna Kothary, director of technology operations at Global Citizen Year, had to implement new technology to help her nonprofit, which organizes gap year study-abroad programs for high school seniors, measure the impact of their work. She says, 'When you put a lot of work into building something, you think it's great and you want everybody else to think it's great, but approaching it with humility is so important...If our end goal is user adoption, it's our responsibility to train people in a way that that works for them.' Setting expectations for new technology adopters is also important. She adds, 'Instead of saying - Here's this shiny new tool we are going to use forever - maybe say - This is phase one of a three-year project, and every year w're going to improve a little bit more...' According to the second annual Nonprofit Trends Report produced by Salesforce, leadership must not only lead the adoption of new technologies but also help nurture a culture that is open to embracing new technology in the first place. But 45% of nonprofits state that they lack the flexibility and adaptiveness that the adoption of new technology demands. Prof. Alva H. Taylor of Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College says, 'Leadership has to understand it and know the importance of it, and also communicate (that importance) to everybody in their organization...might involve showing how the new tool is compatible with how they've done their work in the past, while 'really trumpeting the benefits' of adoption.' The Nonprofit Trends Report also shows that, on average, different departments have different rates of adoption of new technologies, and suggests that without full adoption of technology nonprofits may not get the maximum return on investment. Planning is essential along with leadership. 85% of the nonprofits surveyed in the report say that technology is key to the success of an organization like the one they work for, but only 23% say they have a long-term vision for the technology they plan on implementing. Sarah Angel-Johnson, CIO at the education nonprofit Year Up, says that it leads to 'rocks and pebbles' problem. She comments, 'Let's not talk about the technology or the architecture first. Let's talk about the human on the other side (experiencing a digital innovation). If you have a jar and you fill it with sand first, then pebbles and rocks, it won't all fit. But if you fill the jar first with rocks and the pebbles and then finally sand, it will all fit.' This means that leadership needs to establish priority projects and execute on them before pivoting to anything else. Developing nonprofit-wide strategy requires leadership buy-in and is necessary for long-term success. Jarrod Bell, CTO at Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, says, 'Painting what the vision was for technology at our organization, tying that to the mission, having that message come from our president and CEO, having that message resonated by our board...reverberate those messages as well, and then repeating it over, and over, and over again.' Rebeca Johnson, VP of constituent experience and digital transformation at the American Heart Association, says, 'Transformation is difficult, because transformation is change, and change is hard. But the world has changed and we have to change with it.' Read on...

Stanford Social Innovation Review: Being a Digital-First Leader
Author: Adrienne Day


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 apr 2020

It is important to be selective and careful while choosing which nonprofits to support and promote. Even more so during times of crisis or economic recession as every dollar of contribution or effort needs to be most effective. In such situations, like the present COVID-19 pandemic, nonprofits are expected to serve more while facing resource challenges. Prof. Amanda J. Stewart of NC State University, whose research focuses on nonprofit organizations and foundations, suggests what to consider while supporting nonprofits during disasters like COVID-19 - (1) Nonprofits that provide essential services: Sustained support is needed for nonprofits that respond directly to human suffering in crisis and also essential human services and local community needs. (2) Nonprofits that need cash: Financial donations are critical as they support nonprofits to pay their bills etc and gives them freedom to provide services where most needed in whatever form. (3) Generosity can be specific to these times: Creativity in generosity becomes valuable. Like for example face masks being sewn, remote volunteering options, socially safe distant blood drives etc during current pandemic. Consider what generosity looks like in your neighborhood or what is within your capabilities during crisis time. (4) Give responsibly: While doing so be aware that some 'responsible giving' criteria are biased. Before donating use your best judgment and look for signs of legitimacy and accountability. Smaller niche nonprofits with more grassroots efforts can be effective and responsive in crisis times. (5) Nonprofits are often local businesses: After the crisis has passed many nonprofits just like local businesses would need support to get back to start working. Consider the nonprofit causes you want to see sustained and support the nonprofits to resume functioning after the crisis. Read on...

NC State University News: How Can I Tell Which Charity to Support During This Crisis?
Author: Matt Shipman



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