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Dog and Bone Impact Grants: Awardees and insights

11 November 2021 at 7:00 am
It’s well into the second year of the pandemic and many NFPs are on the lookout for IT strategic planning support after riding the first wave of rapid digital transformation triggered by the lockdowns of 2020.

Contributor | 11 November 2021 at 7:00 am


Dog and Bone Impact Grants: Awardees and insights
11 November 2021 at 7:00 am

It’s well into the second year of the pandemic and many NFPs are on the lookout for IT strategic planning support after riding the first wave of rapid digital transformation triggered by the lockdowns of 2020.

What are the Impact Grants and what have the insights been?

  • With COVID-19 increasing the demand for NFP services, Dog and Bone launched its first Impact Grants program, providing NFPs with strategic or practical technology support from between $5,000-$20,000.
  • Dog and Bone is making $120K available to NFPs, annually, for the Impact Grants program.
  • Of the 125 NFPs that applied for support, 43 per cent applied for support with IT strategic planning and 30 per cent applied for information management (IM) support.

It was inspiring to see applications from so many NFPs working to create a better world, but it certainly made for tough decision making.

We were really interested to see some of the trends that emerged through the grant applications, including the focus for NFPs on IT strategic planning and IM. We thought we’d share some of these insights with our wider community as we all attempt to navigate the new hybrid remote and office workspace.

Amplifying the impact of NFPs through our Impact Grants

“We have been overwhelmed by the many inspiring organisations that applied to receive support,” says Talia Jenkin, our operations manager, who has been heading up our Impact Grants program.

“Through the process, we gained a number of insights about the current needs of the sector, specifically NFPs with less than 50 staff and are excited to use what we’ve learnt to further inform our support of the sector,” Jenkin says.

Organisations ranged across First Nations lead community, justice and education services, climate action, children’s health, health care, mental health, humanitarian aid and the list goes on.

“With so many incredible applicants, it was a difficult process narrowing down to the final four Impact Grant recipients,” Jenkin says.

Finalists were selected by an initial organisation-wide vote to shortlist 21 NFPs before narrowing down to the final four NFPs.

After much deliberation our Impact Grants for this quarter were awarded to:

More about our awardees

  • PYEC is a First Nations run educational organisation based on Mparntwe country (Alice Springs), working to ensure that Anangu children and young people receive quality education and support in order to be successful in both Anangu and Piranpa ways. PYEC’s focus is on developing a crucial understanding of family relationships, culture and language, to achieve better educational outcomes. Dog & Bone is helping them identify opportunities for cost reductions in their telco spend through a rates verification project.
  • Deadly Connections is a First Nations led organisation working to positively disrupt intergenerational disadvantage, grief, loss and trauma by providing holistic, culturally responsive interventions and services to First Nations people and communities, particularly those who have been impacted by the child protection and/or justice systems. Their vision is to break cycles of disadvantage, trauma, child protection and justice involvement so First Nations people of Australia can thrive not just survive. Dog and Bone is supporting Deadly Connections with the selection process for a CRM.
  • Children by Choice is an independent Brisbane-based NFP, committed to providing unbiased information on all unplanned pregnancy options. They have a pro-choice and client-centred approach and provide non-judgemental all options counselling, information and referrals for Queensland women and people with uteruses experiencing unplanned pregnancy. They work to advance Queenslanders’ reproductive choices, and to improve access to safe and legal abortion. Dog and Bone is supporting Children By Choice with an Information Management project.
  • Centrecare Family Services Geraldton offers family relationship and community services to individuals, couples and families. They provide professional assistance in a manner that promotes human dignity and enhances growth and wellbeing. This includes access to affordable family and financial counselling at significantly discounted rates for those on a Centrelink Benefit and free family dispute resolution to families with low income in remote and low socio economic regions in WA. Dog and Bone is supporting Centrecare with strategic IT planning advice.

Insights from Impact Grant applications: IT strategic planning

A significant 43 per cent of applicants were looking for IT strategic planning support. Although our Impact Grants are aimed at smaller organisations, according to our senior consultant, Mark Augier, IT planning is now front of mind for most NFPs. Rather than just having a list of IT projects, the pandemic has brought to light the importance of having a clear, organisationally accepted IT strategic plan, one that focuses on supporting and enabling the organisation’s mission and work.

Table showing impact grants insights

“Normally organisations would take a three-year view for IT planning,” Augier explains.

In 2020, the arrival of COVID-19 in Australia had a huge impact on IT for not only NFPs but all organisations. In the space of a few weeks, organisations had to pivot to operating and delivering services entirely remotely. NFPs like many other organisations across the public and private sector were either rapidly accelerating plans to transition to the cloud or having to find and transition to a cloud-based solution within 10 days. Some organisations were able to manage this rapid transition well, while others struggled.

“Due to the nature of the crisis many priorities were put on the ‘back burner’ and the three-year IT planning was one of those,” Augier explains.

“After the initial crisis response organisations are coming up for air and recognising that strategic technology planning is what is needed to set the stage for the next few years in their new reality.”

So, what are we talking about when we say IT planning? Broadly speaking IT planning usually involves setting a strategy for an organisation’s technology that should be informed by the needs of all departments that make up the organisation and align with organisational goals.

Although IT planning is typically associated with the setting of a technology strategy, in the case of our Impact Grants – which range from $5,000 to $20,000 – many organisations appear to be looking for support with IT planning in discrete areas rather than a larger more holistic strategic piece.

A recent Salesforce survey of 725 NFPs, looked at the changes brought about by COVID-19 including the urgent need for increased technological capabilities. The survey found that 85 per cent of NFPs said technology is key to the success of their organisation however only 23 per cent had a long-term strategy and vision for how technology would be used in their organisation. 93 per cent also cited a lack of IT or technical staff as a challenge to their adoption of technologies. Given the digital age has now been accelerated by the pandemic, it’s clear that organisations are looking for clarity with their technology as well as support to plan or implement solutions. This is where Dog and Bone hopes to be able to have the most impact, through our support of organisations’ use of technology, whether that be through strategy, procurement or ongoing management and support.

Insights from Impact Grant applications: Information management

After IT planning the next most sought-after grant support was IM reflecting the fact that organisations are stabilising enough to be focusing on improving organisational matters.

“Following the herculean efforts by NFPs to transition to the cloud in a matter of days last year, there is now a need to adjust and refine how information is being managed,” Augier says.

IM refers to “a method of using technology to collect, process and condense information with a goal of efficient management” (Gartner). Essentially an IM strategy can help you control how you store information, who can see it and protect sensitive data, enabling your team to easily retrieve and save information while keeping your organisation secure.

This reflects the current mindset of NFP leaders, keen to get their house in order from a technology perspective. It is also mirrored in the many IM projects Dog and Bone is currently delivering to our clients.

Creating a better world through technology

Equipped with our insights into the NFP sector’s needs, we will be using the data to create more opportunities for NFPs to access the technological support they need, including free workshops on the most sought-after topics for applicants who were not successful this round.

We’re super inspired by organisations that are working hard to make the world a better one. As our CEO, Dan McKinley, always says, their impact is why we exist.

“Providing our strategic, practical technology support to these amazing organisations is a fantastic way to launch our first Impact Grants round,” McKinley says.

“At the heart of this grants campaign is the opportunity to amplify the impact of PYEC, Deadly Connections, Children By Choice and Centrecare. Being in a position to do this is what real success looks like to me.”

Don’t forget our Impact Grants are awarded quarterly so if you missed this round there’s always the next. Subscribe to our mail list so you’re updated on all things Impact Grants.

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