Why is Digital Information Management So Important for NFPs?
12 September 2017 at 8:19 am
The day to day frustrations with data, processes and systems require tough decisions to upgrade an organisation’s technology. Help is at hand with two new workshops by Kate Fuelling Consulting – information management specialists for the not-for-profit sector.
At Kate Fuelling Consulting we see a lot of organisations struggling with managing their information, and we see a lot of angst and even ill-health in people because of this problem.
NPF staff and volunteers don’t need the distraction of working with a messy network shared drive, spending hours trawling through hard copy files to find the information they need, or feeling overwhelmed by the number of emails in their inbox. They need easy access to the right information at the right time.
Achieving this transformation has an enormous impact on both the culture and the outcomes of the organisation. But, contrary to popular belief, it’s not just a case of rushing out and buying a shiny new system. In fact, without proper planning and thought, buying a new system or technology to fix the problem is one of the worst things you can do.
So don’t do it… or not until you really know what you’re letting yourself in for.
Life Before Digital IM
In the good old days (seriously, when were they?), people used to create “official” paper files. They knew all the information went into the file, and that it held the complete and true record of events. Except when the file went missing. Or when Steve left it on the train. Or when some of the information was put elsewhere. Or… you get the picture.
Many people remember the good old days as being far simpler, easier, and less complex than today, and they turn the messy reality into a memory of perfection. Sometimes they don’t want to change what they’re doing because it’s “working”. However, for every person that is not interested in changing, there are ten other people who are desperate to implement change if that means getting rid of piles of paper and outdated processes that slow everything down and inhibit productivity and collaboration.
Unfortunately, there is a lack of knowledge, and hence a lot of fear, around managing information, in this digital age.
We really don’t blame organisations for not knowing how to move forward. There are so many options and technology choices available that it’s extremely difficult to know which way to jump. It’s hard enough for businesses to know what to choose, and it’s worse for NFP’s who, have very limited budgets and need clarity and the assurance that their investment won’t be the wrong decision because they can’t afford any waste. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the options and end up spending a lot of time doing nothing.
We also don’t blame those people who are reluctant to change. They have usually worked with paper throughout their career and been told they must keep records to be compliant. Now they are being told “just put your information in the system and it will be fine”. They have very little evidence that it will be fine, and a lot of experience and media suggesting that it won’t, they are quite uncomfortable with putting their important information into an intangible virtual world, rather than the older, comfortingly tangible, (if somewhat flawed) physical filing system.
So what is the solution?
Digital is far from perfect. Our laptop crashes, we lose the phone, the internet drops out just when we need it most. But, if we use these incidents as reasons for not engaging with digital, we are not seeing the bigger picture.
The challenge is to look out, past the now, into the future, and have a clear idea of where you want to go and how you are going to get there. Some see technology as THE solution, and that’s the wrong way to look at it. Technology is an enabler of digital information, not the entire solution.
We help small – medium sized organisations optimise their information, processes and technology by helping them to address other aspects of their organisation that are holding them back from truly experiencing the benefits of great digital information. How do we help them?
Come and find out…
Kate Fuelling Consulting is an information management specialist working with NFPs to improve their information to get better outcomes for their cause. Kate is presenting two workshops this September: “Become an Extraordinary NFP through better information” and “The Seven Elements of Better NFP Stakeholder Databases”.
Mention Pro Bono Australia and you will receive 50 per cent off the price of tickets.
Discount Code: PROBONO