Working with Non-Profits, Ministries, and NGOs
At Olive serving, Ministries and Non Profit Groups, is a core driven part of our business. Almost every member of our Board of Directors and Executive Team has served at an executive level of a ministry or community service organization. Many of them served as founders and continue to serve on the Boards of these organizations. As a company we provide free or discounted technology services to start-up service organizations, and our staff frequently volunteers to provide relief and community support. At Olive we consider service to our community and the world around us more than a good thing to do. It is part of our DNA and we understand the challenges well.
There are four misconceptions that restrain non-profits from achieving their goals
Paul & Silas Syndrome
“We did it this way since the beginning of our work, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” Yes you did, and it was probably the best system at the time. However for each of our organizations we have to be relevant to the times we live in and those we serve. It is living on past successes that hold us back from our future. It is that thinking that lets us use 18th century teaching methods in the 21st century. In those days we used black boards and had students sitting at desks. We’ve moved forward to converting black boards to power points, but the entire system holds us back from using modern pedagogical methods. There are so many methods available today to expand class rooms and retain student interest.
The Quilting Circle
“We don’t need automation, we are blessed with volunteers. Our volunteers do these jobs because they have time and it gives them a sense of fellowship and purpose.” Update…Those sweet old grandmothers now get their sense of fellowship and community on Facebook. They would rather be doing something serving in a third world country to develop their sense of purpose, and with easier travel, they can.
Technology Works Better for Larger Organizations
“Larger organizations can utilize technology better because they have the staff and funds. There are just two people here” Perhaps one reason larger organizations are large, is they engaged technology early and grew. In reality, the smaller organizations are the ones that can benefit from technology because the two people running the smaller organization need time to proclaim the message of their mission and not be tied up with administrative details.
Computers Cost a Lot of Money
“Computer’s and Automation cost money, that we don’t have” Computers cost less than one-fifth of what they cost ten years ago. In fact with online services and cloud computing an organization can bring automation technology to all workers, on any device, anywhere. The real cost is not using technology. The lost time, the inefficiency in operations, and the lack of information to make decisions eat at an organization’s resources far faster and continually than an initial investment in technology.
Beefing up your Technology
Once you begin to explore the options to revitalize your mission with technology, the options are only limited by your imagination and your purse. It is only necessary that you define your objectives and develop a plan to engage technology at a comfortable pace.
Websites and Web-Apps
For a beginning, review your current website. Is it doing anything for the organization other than providing a landing page for someone who typed in www.something? Most organizations have one or two charismatic leaders who can tell the story of your mission with passion. Your website needs to accomplish the same challenge, except with millions of viewers. Websites are not limited to time zones or geography. They can be delivering your message at multiple places on the planet at the same time. It is a great tool to replace newsletters sent by postal mail, challenge volunteer involvement, and solicit funding.
Web apps can also be modified to provide mobile services to your constituency, allowing them to sign up and schedule available services, eliminating the need to have someone handle telephones, 24/7. Some organizations use the same system to schedule volunteers.
Donor Management Systems
Effective Web-apps can increase donor contributions, use credit cards, deliver and receipt the funds, without the need to complete checks, make out envelopes and post in the mail. Donors who make pledges for monthly contributions can add it to their credit card, eliminating the need for reminders. Thank you notes can go out automatically.
Integrated with your accounting systems, these systems can produce necessary accounting reports and trend projections.
Off Site Reporting Systems
A major challenge for funding organizations is collecting and staying on top of status reports from distant offices. Critical to operations, organization leaders are frequently frustrated. A template listing necessary information on a mobile device can transmit the information immediately to servers for processing. Field Inspectors no longer need to return to the office to submit data for reports.