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LBS NPLM Youth Academy, TechSoup and Data Science Nigeria Highlight the Digital Transformation Strategies and Tools for Nonprofit Organisations

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Furthering its mission of developing capacity for nonprofits and social entrepreneurs, the Lagos Business School Sustainability Centre (LBSSC) held a web forum themed “Tech-Supported Impact Strategies for Your NGO/CSO” on Thursday, June 27, 2024. The webinar focused on how nonprofit leaders and organisations at various levels of growth in the development and social impact sector can strategically select and use emerging technology to enhance organisational efficiency, fundraising efforts, and program engagement impact.

Theresa Akibor-Daniel, Manager, Programme Design, LBS Sustainability Centre delivered the welcome remarks. She welcomed all participants, and reaffirmed Lagos Business School Sustainability Centre’s (LBSSC’s) commitment to building all-round capacity for the nonprofit sector, with collaboration from partners. The panel session comprising Osanua Nwagbara, Senior Associate, LBSSC, Foluso Gbadamosi, Immediate Past Executive Director, Junior Achievement Nigeria (JAN); Alex Muinde, Cloud Administrator, TechSoup; and Omotayo Olorunfemi, Community Operations Manager and Project Analyst, Data Science Nigeria; delivered insights on the skills and criteria needed to test-run, adopt and implement technology in nonprofit organisations, with examples on tech resources that can be mainstreamed in organisations.

Foluso Gbadamosi, Former ED, JAN, said, “Selecting a tech tool is dependent on what you want to use the tool for, there must be a clear why. As NGOs and CSOs, tech can make our lives and jobs easier, but will not if we do not have a why for them.” She added that nonprofits must understand their  environment, and their organisation’s personalities. She added, “Different NGOs have different personalities, some are older, more established and conservative, others are younger, more dynamic and embracing to tech. As opposed to getting a tech tool that is super fancy, get a tool your team members will adopt more easily.” 

Alex Muinde, Cloud Administrator, Techsoup, indicated that in choosing tech and tech tools for nonprofits, it must align with the nonprofit’s goals, cost-effective training that builds the team’s capacity to adopt the tech is key and the tech must be cost-effective like microsoft which has a suite targeted at NGOs. He added, “Best Practices for managing change when implementing new tech in a Nonprofit would demand stakeholder engagement from the onset, regular communication and feedback sessions, assessment of your organisation’s readiness for that tech, and identification of potential barriers such as resistance to change, lack of technical expertise and cultural factors. Before a technology is adopted, it must be piloted and test-run with a subset of users to enable iterations before it is adopted finally. This will help get buy-in from colleagues who will go on to be advocates for the tech.”

Omotayo Olorunfemi, Community Operations Manager and Project Analyst, Data Science Nigeria, harped on key Indicators of successful tech integration which aligns with their strategic goals should include improved programme outcomes, operational efficiency, user satisfaction and better data driven decisions gleaned from better data insights. 

The panellists gave examples of centralised platform tools such as Microsoft 365  which come in handy as cloud platforms that have the likes of excel,  many work products, and a superior cloud storage called one drive which is free. The Microsoft 365 platform also has tools that enhance project management, with a planner in it at no extra cost.  However, they advised that in implementing new technology, nonprofits should figure out the tools that work for them.  They also hinted that it is important for nonprofits to figure out early adopters within their organisations, team 

members that love tech, most likely Gen Zers and Millennials, and pair them with the older non-tech savvy ones, for better digital transformation results within the workplace.

Equally important for nonprofits is protection of sensitive data when choosing tech. They gave hints on data compliance measures, how to protect sensitive data and tech-enabled platforms that offer grants such as Grant Station, one of the biggest grant platforms globally. They also shared experiences around community building with social media platforms, emphasising not all social media platforms work for NGOs. Social media platforms are great for attracting and engaging volunteers and building communities the nonprofits can always leverage.

Overall, the panellists encouraged participants to view tech and Artificial Intelligence (AI) as enablers and support systems for enhancing social impact. Omotayo Olorunfemi said, “AI is here to stay and there is nothing we can do about it. Do not be afraid to explore tech and adopt new tech that aligns with your organisation’s mission. Prioritise data security and ensure you have some sort of security measures to protect your beneficiaries, stakeholders and objectives that help you enhance your impact.”

He added, “Overall, invest in capacity building for your team with the requisite skills to effectively use tech. Data Science Nigeria and Techsoup offer capacity building, both paid and unpaid. Continuously iterate and improve your social impact to make society a better place based on the data you get. Lastly, be intentional about your growth and development for your organisation so you can easily and effortlessly keep getting better and doing more to deliver greater social impact.”

The web forum concluded on a high note, with participants expressing appreciation for the  knowledge shared and the practical insights provided. The discussions underscored the importance of strategic technology adoption in the nonprofit sector, highlighting that with the right tools and training, NGOs and CSOs can significantly enhance their impact. 

Lagos Business School is Africa’s leading management education institution and the LBS Sustainability Centre is a leading knowledge centre that brings together the theory and practice on business and sustainability for the advancement of performance and development outcomes. For more information about the initiatives, programmes and upcoming events by the Lagos Business School Sustainability Centre, please contact sustainabilitycentre@lbs.edu.ng.  Together we can work towards greater social impact for better development outcomes on the continent. See our programmes at https://lbssustainabilitycentre.edu.ng/training

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