There is absolutely no doubt that information and communication technologies (ICT) have changed the current society as well as the way to manage any type of organization, be it a public, business or non-profit one. ICT allow for acquiring and sharing real time info and they have also become a breakthrough as regards communication by making the access to any geographical zone easier, which make us more effective and efficient when communicating ourselves or communicating to others and, in short, managing.
For non-profit organizations, which in their own idiosyncrasy have resources shortage, ICT represent a huge opportunity. On the one hand, they allow them to be more efficient when managing available resources, which is a key issue, since nowadays it is a must to show a greater transparence when dealing with the resources management trusted by society. On the other hand, ICT are useful to attract new resources emphasizing the communication work with the people and institutions engaged in the organization or with the people potentially interested in supporting them.
It is important to highlight that the use of ICT in NPO must not be reduced only to the web and e-mail, you have to think of new virtual office tools, and the rest is basically a matter of formation. For example, iwith.org organizes on-line courses easy to follow about the management of meeting minutes, the management of projects or volunteers, which require going further on in the solutions applied to easy manageable NPO, but to which you need some training.
According to the spacexchange study on Strategy of Resources Training created by the consulting agency SIGMA Professional Services for Associations and the Research Center IRCO of IESE Business School, non-profit organizations usually use ICT. 72% of them use e-mail and have a web page, though few have dynamic contents which serve to interact with the different stakeholders (partners, donors, employees, volunteers, communication media, institutions, etc.). Even though this study indicates that 67% of NPO has a computerized database, most of them (nearly 70%) use them generally for the administrative management or to send information to the members of the organization. In a smaller degree, organizations use ICT to conduct resources training campaigns or collect relevant information which can allow a customized communication and build up loyalty to its users, partners, donors, volunteers, etc.
As opposed to companies, the use of ICT is little or not at all used for sharing the knowledge with other organizations, national or international, or to work in a net. Non-profit organizations should enhance the use of ICT as a tool so that it boosts the innovation within the organization (through knowledge management of its employees, volunteers, partners, donors, etc.), which helps know and divide the various volunteers, who promote the net work to share the little resources and, finally, which plans a correct and convincing corporate image. In this sense, it is important to highlight that nowadays being present and active in the Internet, which you can get to if you have basic knowledge, is a key element so that the NPO relates with its different stakeholders, improving both efficiency and positioning so as to attract new resources to use their way.
Juan Pablo Garrido
SIGMA Professional Services for Associations
The article is based on the conclusions obtained from the first spacexchange study about Strategy for Resources Training in NPO, created by the IESE-IRCO and SIGMA and introduced last May during the meeting of the sector in the IESE campus in Madrid. The participants in the meeting widely discussed the current view of the financing of NPO in Spain. This was successful and the organizers are thinking about a second meeting in the IESE campus of Barcelona in 2008 for the 50th Business School Anniversary.
For further information about ICT tools courses, you can visit: http://www.iwith.org/events/
Before going on holidays, sign in for the E-learning courses provided by Iwith.org
Next start September 1st: Meeting Organization and Management Course. The Iwith.org courses are subsidized by Generalitat de Catalunya and they are available by only 10% of the real price for non-profit organizations. Besides, there are 10 scholarships for the first ones to sign in.