Every year, we tour different cities around Taiwan to explore new ICT innovation and trends with the nonprofit communities.
In 2017, we hosted three events, including CEO Day, in Taipei and Kaohsiung. Topics covered included “NGO Case Studies: Appliances of Azure and Office 365”, “NGO Website Design in Mobile Age” and group discussions among CEOs.
The events, co-sponsored by the local Microsoft office, saw 282 attendees, representing 196 local nonprofits.
Nonprofits around the globe face similar challenges. However, with changes in political landscapes, shifts in economic powers and evolving market trends, these challenges often become very geographically contained.
In early May 2017, TechSoup Thailand organized a networking and learning event to understand the current challenges that Thai nonprofits are facing.
As a technology nonprofit, TechSoup kick-started the event with tech-centric ice-breaking activities : creating new hashtags for the event, taking creative selfies that display TechSoup’s logo, and ‘checking in’ to Ma:Dee’s (the co-working space where the event was held) social media page.
The event drew participants from nonprofits across various sectors from different parts of Thailand, some came from as far as Chiang Rai to learn about how to leverage on TechSoup to better serve their communities.
A presentation line up included long-established Thai nonprofits Kenan Institute Asia and Change Fusion, who shared case studies, best practices, relevant content and practical tools designed specifically for the nonprofit sector.
NEEDed, a small and growing Thai-based nonprofit was also part of the line up where they shared their capacity development projects, focusing on their experience in helping nonprofits adopt technology.
Fhi360’s Regional IT Manager, Somphop Krittayaworagul, was invited to talk about digital security and the impacts of software piracy, a grave concern for the organization and nonprofit community in recent years.
The event ended with an engaging 45 minute breakout session where participants were asked to discuss and identify (collectively) their top five challenges and needs.
ii) Human Resource
v) Government and Stakeholder relations
The last part of the breakout required participants to state how TechSoup could help them. Participants shared their struggles with technology – software, hardware, cyber security, lack of I.T skills, adaptation and implementation, and recognizing the need to use more online portals for fundraising and learning.
Clearly, being a global technology network with 66 partner NGOs with presence in 236 countries, TechSoup has partners in the various capacities and are able to bridge the gaps the sector faces.
A key outcome from the event is for TechSoup Asia-Pacific to work with the various stakeholders to design capacity-building projects for the Thai nonprofit sector.
In the 2016 Nonprofit Organization Annual survey carried out by Lin Center Vietnam, results showed that about 41% of the nonprofits in Vietnam who participated in the survey found technology a challenge : many commented they did not have relevant skills or knowledge on how to best utilize technology.
As a nonprofit dedicated to helping the local Vietnamese nonprofits, LIN Center addressed these technological barriers by organizing two webinars on “Effective Presentations” and “E-mail marketing” for their partner nonprofit network. The webinars which received more than sixty participants, introduced the basics of social media, and how to turn technology into a tool to improve overall organizational efficiency.
Besides the webinars, LIN Center also published online tool kits via a virtual classroom, accessible to their partner network of more than 190 civil society organizations in Vietnam. The e-learning topics include management, human resource, strategic planning, and volunteer management – common issues that nonprofits around the developing world face.
Lin Center provides an array of support services to help increase the capacity of local nonprofits in Vietnam. To learn more about Lin Center and their impact stories, click here.
Straddling the typhoon belt and the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Philippines ranks among the top five most disaster-prone countries in the world. On average, the country experiences 14 disasters annually, affecting millions of people every year.
To create a culture of proactive disaster preparedness and response among the youth, Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) is developing the Master of Disaster (MOD) – an inclusive, fun-packed, and informative board game targeted at youth. The game aims to teach children of different abilities and varying educational backgrounds how to prepare and actively respond to the most common disasters in the Philippine.
Currently in its final stages of development, the project will be complemented by a digital disaster education platform that houses modules and child-friendly content that adults can share with children.
South Korea is popular for several things, many of which are ICT related – the world’s fastest Internet speed, world’s most innovative country in the Bloomberg Innovation Index, Asia’s highest youth digital literacy rate, and Asia’s most e-ready government.
Combining a highly skilled and literate work force with more than 90% of the population having access to Internet, it is no surprise that TechSoup Korea has become a household name in the Korean nonprofit sector.
At the end of April, TechSoup Korea hosted an event for more than 80 people from sixty nonprofits. The half-day event re-introduced the TechSoup Global Network and TechSoup Korea’s suite of current product offerings, as well as qualification criteria, validation standards and processes (based on Korean tax laws and regulations) to qualify for technology donations.
The event ended with an engaging discussion about the technology needs and preferred software of the nonprofit community. The discussion was useful for TechSoup Korea in understanding the growing needs of civil society in Korea, and outlining a list of potential donors and products to include in the TechSoup Korea catalogue.
Yayasan Salam, our partner NGO in Malaysia, recently set up a Mini Library and Community ICT Center in a small town in Batu Caves, in the outskirts of Selangor.
The two-year project funded by HSBC Malaysia aims to bridge the digital divide between the socio-economic groups in the country. Individuals who live in smaller towns and outskirts of the city, generally cannot afford to attend paid computer lessons. Without simple technology knowledge, their employment opportunities are reduced to minimum wage blue-collar worker jobs.
Over the last few months, volunteers from Yayasan Salam have taught the basics of navigating the Internet, understanding computer components, website development, video making and editing, along with walk-throughs of common office productivity suites to more than 30 individuals in the community.
Although the center was initially set up to teach computer skills to 13-18 year olds, it has since received students from various socio-economic groups, predominantly unemployed youth and single mothers who are intent on learning new computer skills. Armed with basic technology skills, these individuals be given better job opportunities and contribute to the nation’s goal in Malaysia’s Eleventh Plan of developing human capital, towards becoming an advanced nation.
A powerful digital campaign can make or break impact on its audience.
Recognizing the importance of good storytelling skills, our Taiwan Partner NGO, Frontier Foundation Taiwan, organised a series of storytelling workshops facilitated by media practitioners Wang Jian-Xiong, Program Director of PeoPo of Public Television and Huang, Zi-Ming, Director of Photography of Chinatimes.
The training focused on basic but often overlooked skills – digital photography and videography, how to develop a storyline and align it to an organization’s advocacy campaign, ways to increase social media fan base, and how storytelling can be used to create emotional appeal, either leading to an action or donation.
A total of 104 participants representing 89 local nonprofits attended the workshop that was co-funded by Microsoft Taiwan and Taiwan Network Information Center.
These digital skills were put to the test leading up to International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December 2016. Nine NGOs participated in a week-long campaign, developing either a photo or video campaign, creating awareness on disabled issues, cross-posting and promoting their campaigns across all 9 NGOs. Many NGOs used a donated video editing software Power Director of Cyberlink to complete their videos. The campaign garnered an audience reach of 79,566.
Below are the two videos created by the participants of the workshop:
In collaboration with Facebook Japan, Japan NPO Center and TechSoup Japan co-organized a social media training for Japanese nonprofits titled “Nonprofits & Facebook”. The training received 49 attendees from 46 nonprofits in Tokyo.
Facebook Japan volunteer lecturers shared their insights on a few key current issues relevant to nonprofits:
i) The impacts of Facebook on nonprofits
ii) Ways for nonprofits to leverage on Facebook
iii) Ways to develop marketing and events on Facebook
During the Q&A time, after the presentations, there were lively interactions between FB lecturers and the participants.
In November 2016, our Japan partner NGO, Japan NPO Center (JNPOC), held a biannual conference titled “Civic Sector National Conference” where leaders and future leaders from various nonprofit sectors, academicians as well as representatives of business and government sectors, came together to discuss current and future issues in the Japanese civil sector.
Themed “Power of the Private Sector in Question: Considering Future Society from Local and International Perspective” the conference received over 250 participants from various fields and sectors across the country and region.
Chris Worman, Senior Director, Alliances and Community Engagement of TechSoup Global Network, made a keynote speech in a breakout session “Possibility of new ways of participation and problem solving using technology”.
In his presentation “Assuming Digital: The Internet, Civil Society, Millennials, Megatrends and What to do about it”, Chris discussed the importance of technology in civil society, and how the involvement and understanding of the millennial generation is so important, in what is known as a a convergence of ‘Megatrends’.
For more information on the Civic Sector National conference, click here.
“Anyone here uses Skype for international calls?” Sheepish grins around the room, then silence.
“I know little bit lah, but not so pandai (clever in Bahasa Malaysia). Can teach Aunty?”
This was the typical response we received during our training for nonprofits: they’ve heard, they’ve seen, but never explored.
Be it Skype, Slack, MailChimp, Outlook, Google Drive, or WordPress, they’ve definitely heard of one or more of these tools, but not ventured very far.
At the TechSoup Asia-Pacific roadshows in Malaysia, I observed that each group (geographically divided) had varied technology skill sets and gaps.
In Johor, the southern part of Peninsular Malaysia, their skill gaps centred on free communication and social media fundamentals such as Skype, basic Facebook marketing and free newsletter softwares such as MailChimp.
The majority of the civil organizations in Johor Bahru who attended our event were technology newbies: beginners who were just understanding the power of the Internet and social media. They had little knowledge of digital security, websites, or social media. These participants would be a perfect Digital Literacy Basics 101 group.
In Kuala Lumpur, the capital of the country, city folks sat on the intermediate scale of digital literacy. This Basic Intermediate 201 group were the ones who had toyed around with social media tools, promoting their fundraising events on Facebook and regularly posting updates as part of their public awareness and outreach. They understood cost savings from digitizing their work. They understood the impact of a powerful one minute video. They understood regular communication and updates are part of a wider PR and Marketing strategy.
Nevertheless, they were still eager learners. The trail of questions continued trickling in:
“How do we sign up for GoogleAdWords for nonprofits?”
“Can you teach us more about cloud computing?”
“What other products from the TechSoup Asia-Pacific catalogue would you recommend to my nonprofit?”
“Is it hard to make a website? Can you teach us to how to make one?”
“Will you host workshops on digital storytelling?”
Increasingly, nonprofits are realizing the benefits of digitizing their work and how digital literacy impacts their organization, internally and externally.
In the coming months, the TechSoup Asia-Pacific team will be hosting webinars, conducting face-to-face workshops, and continue enabling technology to nonprofits across all sectors, so that they can continue to make a difference in Malaysia and the world.