Mapping NGO Capacities Across the Region

Looking at a room of 30 people from all walks of the nonprofit sector, I wasn’t sure my planned session was going to work. The participants represented very diverse causes – from HIV intervention and prevention, cultural restoration and preservation, empowerment of rural farmers, faith-based child protection, food wastage, disability rights, to LGBTQ and gender rights. Would they be able to relate to each other’s challenges, goals and missions?

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That first session, and the four more over the next few months worked. Feedback from participants were positive, “This is exactly what we needed : someone to help to identify our pain points, and map out a plan to help us achieve our goals.”

Others echoed the same sentiment: “It is easier when we map out the goals, determine the most important one, then list the things we need to do to achieve the goal. It was helpful to learn to prioritize, and see how much technology is needed in each action. Otherwise, we just don’t know where to start, or how to start.”

workshop 1 Group 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having designed and facilitated five workshops for a variety of nonprofits from 15 countries in the region, including the Federation of Micronesia, an important theme has become clear:

As TechSoup continues to empower civil society around the world, it has also become part of our goal to help the nonprofit sector map out a sustainability path. By helping nonprofits list out their goals, map and prioritize major steps in their action plan, it is also imperative for TechSoup to help them understand the role of technology in achieving their goal. Ideally, this reduces the fear of having to embrace and implement technology, all at once.

Over time, we hope that these nonprofit organizations with great visions, can take the lessons learned from the small workshop sessions and use that to pave successes ahead.

worrkshop 3 NGO Group workshop breakout

NGO Connection Day 2017 in Taiwan

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.

For more details, please visit TechSoup Taiwan’s blog.

2017npoday2
More Photos of 2017 NPO Day.

2017ceodayComplete report of CEO Day facilitation process.

How Digital Literacy Affects Nonprofits

“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?”

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Enthusiastic learners from the nonprofit community in Johor

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.

Skype icon  Slack CMYK MailChimp-logo  app_launcher_select_calendar  google drive    wordpress

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?”

Khairdah Mahmood during a half day workshop for NGOs
Khairdah Mahmood from TechSoup Malaysia during a half day workshop for nonprofits in Kuala Lumpur

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.

Microsoft Technology for Good Singapore 2016

Enabling – This was the prime focus of the Technology for Good half-day conference held last 10 December 2016 at Lengkok Bahru, Singapore, organized in partnership with Microsoft Singapore.

As part of the larger Microsoft We Tech Care conference held by Microsoft Philanthropies Singapore that day, Technology for Good served as the opening session that catered for over 45 unique charities.

Stories of empowerment

Unlike most technology events, Technology for Good was centered on a unique premise: the stories of nonprofits. This was most evident in the opening sessions lead by Aude Breteau & Borko Kovacevic of Microsoft Singapore, along with Jed Adao of TechSoup Asia-Pacific.

This was followed by TechSoup Asia-Pacific’s Jed Adao who talked about the story of SCA Philippines and how they overcame their limitations in manpower through researching and implementing Office 365 donations on their own, thus allowing them to empower more youth in the Philippines despite having a small team of three.

Throughout the day, the participants learned success stories from fellow charities and watched live demonstrations of technology donations that are made available for them through the Microsoft donations program.

More ahead

This half-day conference is part of a larger initiative of Microsoft Singapore and TechSoup Asia-Pacific. In the coming months, TechSoup Asia-Pacific will be hosting a series of half-day trainings with Microsoft Singapore.

The upcoming half-day trainings will focus on giving local nonprofits a guided experience on utilizing Microsoft Cloud Donations in order to help them work collaboratively, optimize communications, improve data management, and many more.

As a follow-up to that as well, a free webinar will also be held to serve as a venue for nonprofits to clarify questions that they may have on these topics. These follow-up initiatives will take place on February to March of 2017.

For the full story, please click on the link here.

Tableau Analysis Data Training

In early December, TechSoup China’s local partner, NPI worked with the local China Tableau marketing office to provide Tableau training to selected NGOs and key NPI project staff, including the China Foundation Center and Greenpeace.

The 3 hour hands-on demo and training covered key data analysis and visualization capabilities such as data maps and comparative graphs that would prove useful for China NGOs.

NPI received 25 participants at their training center located in their new office in Beijing.

Developing Civil Society Organizations in Malaysia

In the last decade, Malaysia has accelerated to become among the top three fastest moving digital economies in the world, a combination of easily accessible Internet, improved physical infrastructure, and a growing smartphone population.

Small-Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Entrepreneurs leverage on digital-focused initiatives established by the government – Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) Malaysia, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC). In more recent years, MaGIC Academy, a part of the MDEC ecosystem, was set up to support startups in the country.

The Malaysian government has also developed new initiatives under the digital economy plan which will focus on four key areas
i) Empowering digital businesses to compete globally;
ii) Offering local accreditation to foreign companies;
iii) Building local talent including e-commerce, cloud, creative technology, Internet of Things and Big Data; and iv) Helping citizens launch their businesses online.

One of the key components in the economic development of a nation are civil society organizations and nonprofits, who strive to create and stimulate positive social impact. Despite the extensive support for SMEs and startups, Malaysia lacks a similar framework to build capacity of civil society organizations. Many of these nonprofits not only lack resources, manpower, human capital but also basic technology know-hows.

In partnership with TechSoup Asia-Pacific’s Malaysia partner Yayasan Salam, the team organized a training and awareness outreach to smaller cities in Malaysia over the last quarter of 2016.

The three awareness programs in Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru and Kuching (East Malaysia) received more than 100 attendees from over 35 different organizations. Through these outreach awareness and training programs, it enabled us to clearly identify technology skills that nonprofit organizations require:

  • Social media training
  • Free communication tools
  • Crowd funding
  • Cloud computing
  • Maximiing benefits for nonprofits e.g. GoogleAdWords
  • Leveraging on technology to solve social problems

Enhancing I.T skills are critical not only in helping nonprofits advance their development, but also helping Malaysia achieve its goal of becoming a digitally inclusive community.

Simplifying Technology

Technology can be daunting for many, especially for those who struggle to keep up with emerging technological trends. In view of the low digital literacy in the region, the TechSoup Asia Pacific team has made it a priority to simplify these ‘daunting’ concepts.

Jed Adao, TechSoup Asia-Pacific Project Coordinator, developed a mini series of “Tech Made Easy” videos on YouTube. These 1-minute videos have been used in various webinars and f2f trainings across our SE Asia partner network as well as TechSoup UK:

The goal of these videos is to summarise new and existing technology concepts, as well as introduce new products to the non-profit community.

Although certain software such as MailChimp are free and available online, many NGOs lack the knowledge on how to use such products.

Understanding this digital gap, and the need for easy-to-understand content, TechSoup Asia-Pacific has simplified content and made it accessible for the non-profit community.

Our regular webinars and step-by-step guides on both free and paid products, help to reduce the digital divide and build the tech capacity of the non-profit community in the region.

The TechSoup Asia-Pacific catalogue carries a wide range of products including operating systems, project management, anti-spam, security and firewall, multimedia and graphics, mapping tools and programming softwares.

For more information on the TechSoup Asia Pacific catalogue or country-specific products, visit our Tech Donation page or contact customerservice@techsoup.asia.