What does the NGO sector need to navigate the digital era?

By Manoj S Pillai | Oct 24, 2018

Leveraging digital to improve organizational efficiency, reach more people, create brand awareness and establish transparency becomes vital to the growth of the third sector.

Recent ESADE and PwC study has shown that only a shocking 8% of the NGO sector have a digital transformation strategy and to thrive in the digital era, they need to design and adopt a core strategy that involves the entire organization.

It is a well-known fact that transformations on this scale will not succeed unless the organizational culture supports it. The point is to focus on the long term impact and capabilities that such a transformation will bring. Digital transformation no doubt brings in advantages that are unmatched, automation of processes, increased collaboration and of course the culture of innovation.

It is not so much a question of if, but a question of when. The very survival of the third sector organizations depends on how fast they get on board. From increased collaboration, streamlined processes to volunteer programs, receiver outreach or to simply stay on top of the mind of everyone that matters – digital transformation becomes critical.

What are the current challenges faced by the NGOs?

Technology disruption has an impact on all aspects of the society including how NGOs operate and communicate. The changing trends mandate that the industry evolves in its approach and leverages technology to reach more people faster and in a more effective manner. Reach, brand and stake-holder experience can be considered the primary metric for NGOs and maximizing that would be a role technology solutions can solve. The mission after all is to reach the right people, evoke genuine interest and convert that to engagement and support for the cause. If the NGOs are to reach their targets faster – improving operational efficiency and effectiveness, increasing the number of the donations, improving volunteer engagement, improved outcomes et al, they need to do what all other sectors must do. Focus on customer experience – in this case complete stakeholder experience.

The case for digital transformation

The idea behind digital transformation is to provide an enriched end-to-end experience. The world is much smaller than what it used to be and now is hyper-connected. It is also a world which is aware of what is happening to the planet, the society and wants to get behind the culture of humanity. Leveraging digital to improve organizational efficiency, reach more people, create brand awareness and establish transparency becomes vital to the growth of the third sector.

How can we help?

One of the primary requirements that the NGOs should be focusing on would be to set up their digital home online. A UX-rich website, an edgy mobile application and a full-fledged digital marketing strategy makes it easy for all stakeholders to understand the mission, find a way to help and track progress.

NetiApps has built cutting-edge websites for NGOs ranging from those under UNESCO, to the ones closer home. The challenges as always is to build a UX-rich web portal to increase efficiency, boost transparency and make it easy for all stakeholders to collaborate digitally. One of our top clients in this industry was an international non-profit, non-governmental federation registered under UNESCOs, encompassing an international network of hosts and travelers. The purpose of the network is to help build world peace, goodwill and understanding by providing opportunities for personal contacts among people of different cultures, backgrounds and nationalities. The client needed a highly-customized, responsive, feature-rich web portal which would help them provide simple and intuitive access to information and services and serve as a communication tool for members.

The solution we designed for them became much more than a regular website, more of a web portal which is a combination of two applications – one is a public website, accessible to anyone on the internet, without login and password authentication, second is a restricted, secure, member-only area. The second application is leveraged to manage all the members and coordinators of the system, and allows members to find hosts, plan trips etc. The end solution was simple, feature-rich and supremely effective. It brought all the stakeholders a digital place to collaborate, take action and contribute.

Need help with digital marketing?

A digital marketing strategy can do wonders for brand awareness but only if done right. Employing the right digital marketing services can make all the difference and the impact can be clearly measured when promoted through the appropriate channels. Thus effectively getting the industry what it needs – expanding consumer base and piquing the interest of potential benefactors.

We can provide end-to-end digital activation, right from the creation of web-portal to a custom-built digital marketing strategy to help you reach the entire world. Feel free to reach out to me for details on manoj.p@netiapps.com or call me on +91-9845313999.

Reference Links:

Only 8% of NGOs have a digital transformation strategy, according to a study by ESADE and PwC
Catching up with society
Trends and Challenges in Global Civil Society
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Manoj S Pillai

Founder and CEO of NetiApps
Manoj S Pillai is the Founder and CEO of NetiApps. With over 20 years of leadership experience in the industry across all facets of business, his vision is to create a customer-centric company which is known for its innovative solutions and CX-rich strategies. He holds a master’s degree in Information Tech and has expertise in assisting clients in the areas of IT cost rationalization, strategy development, as well as business IT alignment and governance.