EDITIONS

Here's how NGOs can leverage technology for more impact

Mamta Carrol
9th Feb 2018
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Technology is increasingly all pervasive and integral to life today. The industry is perhaps the most intensive and extensive demonstration of the technology at play. From telecommunication to agriculture, consumer-centric organizations to IT, technology is the enabler which has helped companies gain competitive advantage, achieve their business objectives and in the process, raise the thresholds of operational reach as well as efficiency. The use of technology in the industry is obvious.

What about technology in charities? When was the last time you thought of a charity when you thought of excellence delivered through technology?

As technology and innovation help consumer brands connect with stakeholders to tell their stories and build long-lasting relationships, potential emerges for charities to leverage technology to create awareness and engage with potential donors. And like industry, achieve operational efficiency and effectiveness.

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This requires nonprofits to adopt a professional mindset of working smartly and integrating technology in their DNA. From daily account processes to training volunteers, from updating records to engaging with donors, the potential of technology for charities is intense and overarchingly encompassing.

Virtual simulators to upskill capacities

Today, technology has the capability to train, inform and engage with partners and volunteers by using virtual simulators. The simulator could help a doctor train in latest surgical techniques, or a volunteer understands how to navigate through the communities. Simulators help bridge distances and overcome barriers of language.

A cost-effective method for training, virtual simulators can especially reduce the effort required in training partners that may be spread across a vast geographical area or even in separate countries.

 Through programmed simulations, it also ensures that all users are being trained in the same manner, and follow standard practices and protocols. Hence, leveraging technology through customized platforms, to engage with volunteers and partners through learning, training and development initiatives, can help charities increase the scope of their programs in a cost-effective manner.

Database Management for reviews and checks

For charities working across geographies, especially while providing sensitive care such as medical procedures, it is highly recommended that all case studies be documented. Once again, leveraging technology to create a centralized database of all the case studies, procedures and interventions, is highly recommended. This database not only helps in ensuring that all procedures have been done as per the standards followed by the charity but also track the progress of patients. In addition, review teams can also identify volunteers, partners or employees who need extra training and ensure all of them are competitive. Hence, being digital allows charities to audit all patient charts for safety and quality, and remove access to resources as a barrier towards upskilling.

Virtual Reality to inform and engage supporters

In developed communities, the general public may not always be aware of the severe health, social and economic conditions those in developing communities live. Sensitizing them about these conditions by transporting them to their lives itself, can be very expressive. 

Here Virtual Reality can not only inform the potential supporters about the grave conditions in a society but by virtually transporting them to the community, engage with them at an emotional level. 

Such initiatives can especially be very successful for fundraising. This is substantiated by Facebook’s Shifts for 2020: Multisensory Multipliers report, which shared that 48% of virtual reality charity content viewers are likely to donate to the causes they experienced.

Using VR technology charities have not only managed to reach out to potential donors across the world, but also sensitize them towards the challenges. Many charities across the world have been using VR to tell their story in a more engaging and impactful way, and Indian charities must explore this tool as well.

In today’s day and age, while social media and apps are being leveraged by the charities, it is recommended that charities recognize technology and innovation as an enabler of previously unrealized potential, a multiplier of outreach and impact, and embrace it to its true potential.

Recognizing technology as an enabler of previously unrealized potential, a multiplier of outreach and impact, charities that embrace technology at the center of their work, helping us optimize our impact, achieve scale and consistency. Enabled by technology, field programs are better able to map beneficiaries, link them with volunteers and partners, practice optimal oversight, institutionalize best practices, and engage with donors and supporters on a real-time basis, accurately and incrementally. Overall, technology plays the role of an enabler to extend advocacy and outreach more effectively.

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