NGOs urged to embrace digitalisation
A LOCAL technology expert has urged non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to embrace digital transformation in a bid to improve organisational efficiency and increase stakeholder engagement.
Trevor Forrest, chief executive officer of 876 Technology Solutions, made the recommendations while addressing the Council of Voluntary Social Services’ (CVSS) ‘Skills on the Go’ session, which focused on the topic ‘Exploring ways NGOs can achieve operational efficiency through technology’.
“It is not a matter of whether you should or should not, you must. That is the new norm, you have to digitally transform your operation. You have to now become more creative and innovative in the ways in which you go about fundraising and provide more conduits in doing that,” he said, citing the urgency of digitalisation.
Forrest explained that digital transformation is the integration of digital technology into all areas of an organisation, which will fundamentally change how it operates and delivers value to stakeholders and customers.
While acknowledging that the process may seem daunting, he said it is a cultural change that requires organisations to continually challenge the status quo, experiment, and get comfortable with failure.
The information technology expert said that a digitally transformed NGOs is easier to engage with and contributes more efficiently and effectively, locally and internationally.
“These are the opportunities that you can take advantage of when you are digitally transformed. But not only that, many NGOs are funded organisations and they have to do a lot of monitoring and evaluation, because it is how they perform that determines the funding that they get,” he stated.
He said effective digital transformation allows for more credibility, which attracts different levels of funding. Through the use of data analytics, for example, he explained that organisations can know how they are performing, how efficiently they are operating, and can make better decisions about how to utilise resources to effectively execute their activities.
Forrest explained that in order to achieve digital transformation, NGOs, or businesses, must pay close attention to four key areas. They include having a strategy and a vision; governance structure and clear understanding of processes that help the organisation to function; people and culture; and technology capabilities.
“Digital transformation is not a one-time activity. It is continuous. You have to realise that this journey never ends and, as such, you have to put things in place to ensure that overall, the organisation is capable of sustaining this cycle,” he said.
‘Skills on the Go’ is a virtual skills training series, organised by CVSS, which is aimed at capacity building and training for non-profit member organisations to enhance the voluntary sector in Jamaica.