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NFP Survival in a Tech Society

19 May 2016 at 11:31 am
Ellie Cooper
Not for Profits have a huge opportunity to leverage support from donors and supporters if they can understand technological changes and respond to trends, according to a leading social researcher and data scientist.

Ellie Cooper | 19 May 2016 at 11:31 am


NFP Survival in a Tech Society
19 May 2016 at 11:31 am

Not for Profits have a huge opportunity to leverage support from donors and supporters if they can understand technological changes and respond to trends, according to a leading social researcher and data scientist.

Mark McCrindle, director of McCrindle Research, told the Connecting Up conference that this decade has been a period of demographic, social, generational and – most significantly – technological change.

He said technology was about “connecting, creating and contributing”, and Not for Profits in particular needed to adapt to these learnings to maintain their “powerful” supporter bases.

“You have one of the most powerful contributors and connectors at your disposal as Not for Profits and they are your supporters, your donors, your raving fans,” McCrindle said.

“The highest net-promoter score of all of the sectors that we have tracked is indeed the Not for Profit sector.

“How the net-promoter score metric works [is] you ask people how likely they would be to recommend this brand or company or product or charity to a colleague or friend.

“If you run the same question of staff members working for Not for Profits, we call this the net-culture score, you ask your staff how likely would you be to recommend this as a place to work… it’s even higher again.

“You have an engaged staff and team, you have an engaged donor or supporter base as a Not for Profit sector Australia wide. What a great opportunity to get them to contribute and to connect with others and create and shape what you do.” 

However, with a society changed “at the core” by technology, McCrindle explained that the best methods of building and leveraging connections had evolved.

This presents a challenge for the sector, with soon-to-be-released research from Connecting Up and Infoxchange finding that, apart from funding, keeping abreast of technological changes is the greatest challenge identified by Not for Profits.

McCrindle said there were three mega trends created by technological change that are important to understand.

“[Technology] has made us firstly post-linear. By this I mean, technology has changed how we think, we don’t think in linear ways anymore… the way learning takes place has changed,” he said.

“People get information… the pathways from traditional interaction used to be linear. Pathways, opportunities and process are far more varied and fluid, [providing] more opportunities to connect.

“That’s why technology’s called a disruptor, because it disrupts the structured, linear, sequential pathways of old. That’s the environment in which we are connecting, so we’ve got to understand how technology has changed mindsets in our society and connect in a post-linear world.”

He called the second trend “post-literate” – with society responding less and less to the written word.

“It’s the ways of connecting in the visual sense. It’s a post-literate environment, so how do we connect? Through symbols and stories and images and videos,” he said.

“[Symbols] cut across literacy levels and language barriers and generations and communicate through pictures.

“Symbols tell the story, so how can we use symbols as stories, and images and videos, to connect in a post-literate and more culturally diverse and generationally diverse society. Symbols in a post-literate world are essential.”

The final trend is learning to connect in a post-logical environment.

“It’s not just the left, rational brain, it’s the right, creative brain. It’s not just the data and analytics, but it’s the visuals and connections, it’s the influence not just with the head but of course the heart,” McCrindle said.

“There’s 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created in our world every day so much data that 90 per cent of it has been created in the last two years alone. If all we’re doing in our organisations is adding more data, more content, more information, chances are it’s information overload and it’s not being absorbed.

“To get cut through in a post-logical environment you’ve got to connect not just with the eyes and the head, but [with] the heart. You’ve got to start with the heart that’s the power of brand, that’s the power of engagement.

“But it’s through story that we connect, it’s visceral, it’s relational, it’s visual, it’s emotional. Of course it’s rational, or course the facts matter, of course the data has to be there we’ve got a more educated society. You’ve got to connect with the head but you’ve got to start with the heart. That’s how we connect in a post-logical environment.”  

The theme of the 2016 Connecting Up conference is Advance: 2020, looking at how Not for Profits can innovate, connect and change.

“If we can connect in a post-literate, post-logical and post-linear way, if we can understand these changes and respond to the trends, if we can observe the horizons and see what is coming as 2020 approaches, I think we will not become victims of change, we will respond to the change,” McCrindle said.

Ellie Cooper  |  Journalist  |  @ProBonoNews

Ellie Cooper is a journalist covering the social sector.

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