[Guest Blog] You can Help Nonprofits with Digital Transformation
Published Jul 29 2020 03:10 PM 1,542 Views

This article was written by MVP/RD and FY21 Humans of IT Community Ambassador Mario Trentim as part of the Humans of IT Guest Bloggers Series. Mario shares about his personal experience as a Board Member of several nonprofit organizations in Brazil, and how you too, can help nonprofits with digital transformation locally.


Companies and people everywhere have been struggling since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. Lack of robust business continuity plans, unemployment, and more have made the economy sluggish. Unfortunately, little attention has been given to nonprofit organizations. Within mere weeks, volunteers disappeared and donations dwindled drastically. It is time we help in creating digitally-capable NGOs so that they can hold together and continue delivering positive social impact on our society and stakeholders at large.



In this post, I want to share my perspective as a volunteer and as a Board Member of nonprofit organizations. It is now time that we drive our efforts to make the nonprofit organizations digital-ready, adopting the latest advances in digital transformation and helping them mature in management processes and governance.



To begin with, I've always been a volunteer myself. At the age of eight years old, I started my volunteering "career". More than thirty years later, I held various volunteering positions, including being a Board Member at large international nonprofits.


Over the years, I learned that passion is the fuel that drives volunteers to work countless hours to help a cause, to help other people. Motivation and passion are essential to every nonprofit organization and every volunteering activity. On the other hand, despite all the best intentions, real social impact also depends on management processes and tools. I learned this when I first joined a nonprofit Board of Directors in 2012. 


As a volunteer, my perspective was very much focused on the job that needed to be done. However, as a Board Member, my view had to become broader - always thinking of the big picture, thinking years ahead. I didn't have a "job to be done" mentality to concentrate on anymore. It was time to learn about processes, metrics, efficiency, efficacy, effectiveness, and more.


I soon realized that nonprofits with mature management processes were capable of delivering more value, recruiting more volunteers, engaging more donors and supporters. 



Digital-Ready Nonprofits in Brazil

Between March and July 2020, I had the chance to witness firsthand the digital transformation of more than twenty nonprofits of all shapes and sizes in Brazil. I won't list them all here, but I wanted to highlight their impactful stories below:

  • Microsoft Teams helping Families to Connect with the Elderly in Nursing Homes
  • Microsoft Project Online enabling nonprofits to track their projects and grants, supporting their Board of Directors in decision making
  • Microsoft Power BI delivering real-time information of all kinds to help nonprofits and beneficiaries
  • Microsoft 365 tools transforming the way nonprofit organizations work and collaborate, enabling business continuity

My conclusion is that a digital-ready nonprofit is better prepared to deliver value and positive social impact. Volunteers are no longer constrained by having to meet in-person, while donors and supporters can get all the key information they need remotely. With technology, beneficiaries and society can also access services without interruption even in the midst of a global pandemic.


We implemented a variety of Microsoft solutions in different nonprofits to help them cope with the new challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis. Now it is time to create an ecosystem with multipliers to sustain technology adoption and to spread the word to more nonprofits.


Next Steps 

I know you are eager to help. You are here in this Humans of IT community because like me, you also believe that tech for good is our superpower. But perhaps you might not know where to start, so here are my tips to help you to take action:


1) Offer to organize and translate content into your local language

2) Adapt existing adoption plans and best practices to your region

3) Select one or more nonprofits to help them in adopting Microsoft for Nonprofit solutions

4) Showcase the benefits to more nonprofits by using blogs and social media to raise awareness

5) Create a network to sustain digital transformation in nonprofits


Have more ideas? Let's get the conversation going in the comments below!




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