NFPs Need Social Web Skills to Meet Future Challenges
1 May 2012 at 1:20 pm
Connecting Up chief executive Doug Jacquier addresses the Connecting Up conference in Sydney. Photo: Jackie Hanafie
Australian Not for Profit organisations need to become “skilled purveyors” of social web technologies and to employ and upskill accordingly in order to meet future challenges, the Connecting Up conference in Sydney has been told.
The 2012 Connecting Up conference ‘Unleashing the Power of Your Nonprofit’ has kicked off for three full days of information sharing on technology, social media and marketing for the Not for Profit sector.
Connecting Up chief executive Doug Jacquier opened the 8th annual conference with an overview of what he sees as the key opportunities and challenges for the Not for Profit sector, with a particular focus on technology.
Jacquier told the some 300 delegates that greater contribution from government for the sector to take full advantage of the National Broadband Network is crucial if the Not for Profit sector is to take advantage of the infrastructure.
“We still have the Minister for Broadband and the Digital Economy Senator Conroy insisting on a piecemeal approach to supporting Not for Profits by only funding programs in the designated 40 regions instead of taking a sector-wide approach,” Jacquier said, before urging delegates to continue to lobby the government for greater contribution.
The social web, Jacquier said, is now an “integral part” of the communications landscape for the Not for Profit sector.
He said that ‘the cloud’ continues to gather momentum as being central to our thinking about how we manage our organisations.
“Cloud computing, where applications sit on someone else’s server rather than in your office, will continue to expand rapidly,” Jacquier said.
“This is bringing with it dilemmas of trust and privacy protection that will challenge the very foundations of what we understand to be the internet.”
However, Jacquier said that it will also bring affordable high level technology to tens of thousands of small and medium organisations currently hampered by costs, “albeit with the need to engage consultants to tailor cloud solutions to match individual organisational needs”.
Jacquier’s prediction for the “elusive plug and play” CRM solution is that it is as far off as it’s ever been which he suspects will remain so.
But Jacquier said that the little hope of improved core funding from government for the sector, particularly at a state government level, was something that would affect Not for Profits in the future.
Jacquier suggested that in order for the sector to meet its future challenges, organisations need to become “skilled purveyors” of social web technologies and to employ and upskill accordingly, particularly as online fundraising and campaigning continues to grow.
Building alliances with like-minded Not for Profits, lowering the age profile of Boards, and finding ways to act as a united and broad-based sector of the economy on major issues, rather than be totally preoccupied with their own special interests, are key ways the sector can reach its potential, Jacquier said.
At the conclusion of Jacquier’s address, which is thought to be one of his last as Connecting Up’s chief executive as he stands aside later this year, he stressed that the sector needs to improve on SROI reporting “especially when it comes to measuring actual behavioural and social change from our interventions and providing tangible evidence of our value”.
Keynote speaker, US NFP technology expert, Nancy Schwartz followed Jacquier’s welcome with the fundamentals of branding and positioning for Not for Profits.
Schwartz’s address highlighted the importance of delivering a valued connection between a Not for Profit and its audience.