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Top 3 benefits of collaboration technologies for not-for-profit organisations

The not-for-profit (NFP) sector is facing challenges on many fronts. The pressure to maintain revenue, contain costs and provide services is intensifying in the face of a shaky global economy and factors like donor fatigue and reduced funding.

Maintaining a skilled, motivated workforce and the need to squeeze maximum return out of every dollar is just as important for NFPs as it is for commercial enterprises, possibly more so given the choppy waters they must navigate.

Historically, NFPs have under-invested in ICT. They don’t generally have extensive resources to plough into technology, preferring to be in the community doing good things.

But without the right technology to enable staff to deliver services efficiently, to measure client and community outcomes, and to communicate success in a professional manner, organisations will struggle to compete.

Being digitally proficient allows NFPs to have better control over their budgets and enables staff to be productive in changing conditions.

Technology challenges

Because the typical NFP isn’t going to spend big dollars on ICT, the IT teams within the organisation are going to be either small, or non-existent. Many hand their IT management functions to someone with another role and perhaps limited technology experience.

The NFP then has to contend with a lack of expertise should something go wrong with the technology, or a lack of understanding on how to take advantage of technology for competitive advantage.

Another factor to deal with is that the competition for charitable dollars is increasing.

Technology is going to be core to succeeding in that competitive environment. As with commercial businesses, NFPs are going to need to make use of big data, analytics, Cloud technologies, Mobility, social media and customer relationship management technologies in order to ensure that they’re maximising their reach into the community.

It is clear that successful managers of NFPs must make ICT a priority.  Embracing Collaboration and Mobility technology is a cost-effective step towards harvesting productivity gains that can keep NFPs competitive. Here are three ways it can work for you:

Saving money

Using modern video-conferencing facilities in combination with smart devices like tablets or mobile phones can save an organisation significant dollars in training and meeting costs.

Without the need for employees to be physically present, travel and accommodation bills can be slashed, and productivity will soar because time previously spent travelling to and from meetings can be used for core tasks instead.

A communications system with presence capabilities and portable numbers means time wasted trying to contact colleagues is greatly reduced, and telephony costs are transparent and easier to manage.

Improved efficiency

When the RSPCA in Queensland invested in Collaboration technology (watch the video here), CEO Mark Townend was enthusiastic about its potential to benefit his not-for-profit organisation. 

“There is great value in that real-time training can be delivered to all staff and volunteers across the State at a low cost, whilst delivering consistent messaging and increased awareness across the organisation,” he says.

“Previously regional managers would travel to the city to train and then deliver that training to the local staff and volunteers, and often they simply did not have the time available to pass this knowledge on.”

More importantly, the organisation's clients - sick, injured or neglected animals - receive better care. RSPCA officers and investigators now have the capability to use their portable devices to communicate back to vets in a live environment, allowing rapid assessment of an animal’s injuries and helping to make critical decisions about treatment faster.

It's this ability to instantly communicate with colleagues regardless of time or location that can greatly enhance service delivery for NFPs.

New revenue opportunities

As the world becomes more connected, expertise can be commodified and monetised. Many NFPs develop skills and expert knowledge that can add value to other organisations, and so can become a source of revenue.

Again, the RSPCA is a case in point. Mr Townend realised he might get a return on intellectual property, for instance by putting cameras in the vet or wildlife surgeries so uni students could view real-time operations.

A modern, well-managed communications system will not only improve productivity and motivation in an NFP's workforce, but may also allow management to find innovative ways to raise money.

Consider outsourcing

The core activities of NFPs are most commonly the delivery of services, not managing cutting-edge technology. They should consider finding a reliable technology partner to share the load.

 The right partner will bring technology expertise into the business they otherwise would not have access to, as well as providing significant cost savings.

"Having a Collaboration and Mobility solution custom-made for your organisation's specific needs, and managed by a reputable technology partner, allows you to concentrate on the things you do best," says Adam Hislop, Vita Enterprise Solutions' Collaboration Solutions Manager.

"Vita Enterprise Solutions has a proven track record working with some of the country's leading not-for-profit organisations to give them an edge in an increasingly competitive environment.

"We would love to talk to you about equipping your NFP with the tools it needs to thrive in the 21st Century."

To find out more, or to explore solutions for your business, contact us on 1300 139 310, or enquire now.

 

Download our RSPCA Collaboration Whitepaper

 

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