A different nonprofit

With limited resources (time and money), can you do more for your beneficiaries? Yes, you can! Let me help you to get the most out of digital tools for nonprofit.

Answer this survey and join the first NetSquared event in Greece “Everything you always wanted to know about tech and nonprofit* (But were afraid to ask)” 

“Have you ever felt swamped at work?” If you are a nonprofit professional, this will be for you a sort of rhetorical question that will be met with understandable anger:

“Of course we are swamped! We are trying to change the world, have you seen what the world looks like today?”

2020 didn’t start so well, I agree. The risk of a new war in the Middle East, the outbreak of Corona Virus, a possible new refugee crisis in Europe, and the evergreen climate change are some of the major issues that come to the top of my mind when I think about the few months that marked the start of this new decade.

In a world where needs are growing, nonprofits feel compelled to stretch and squeeze to try to do as much as possible. Making overwork the norm. 

However, in most cases, overwork doesn’t produce any sort of positive outcome. It can actually limit your effectiveness and derail your good initiatives.

“So what should we do?” – you may ask.

In the last 5 years, I’ve had the chance and privilege to collaborate with dozens of small and medium nonprofit organizations across Europe. And every time, I was facing the same issue. Executive directors wearing dozens of hats, staff members juggling between different tasks and urging deadlines, volunteers either left alone or taking considerable staff time. 

The obvious result: a sub-optimal impact. 

And all of this while still logging more than 40 full hours of work per week.

It shouldn’t be like this. 

We shouldn’t accept overwork to be the norm, because:
a) Nonprofit’s work is vital to the lives of millions of humans, species, cultures, and environments. It means that if we are not able to be impactful as an organization, the very same causes we live by are going to be harmed;
b) People can only take so much before exploding. Putting more hours won’t make you more effective and burn-out is just around the corner. 

If we want to be true to our mission to make the world a better place we still need to be able to do more. But not by killing ourselves. 

We need a different nonprofit. 

A sector that will take full advantage of the opportunities available.

So my suggestion was always the same: “look what’s out there”. 

“Out there” is the internet. At no other time in our history, we had such an easy access to knowledge. Do you remember how it was before? 

Let’s say, going out to watch a movie. Think about how you got to know what was the schedule, or the programme. Now it’s just a matter of writing “cinema near me”, quite a big time saver. 

Out there are all sorts of things. And, as a quite nerdy nonprofit professional, I can assure you that there are loads of resources – most of them free – that can support your organization’s mission. I have actually learnt most of what I know about nonprofit in this way. 

I already feel your question here: “How is this going to help me?”

And I understand it. It seems counterintuitive. But to be as good as you can you need to constantly review and learn and change. It’s 2020, the world is very different from the past. Society is very different. And work is very different too. Nonprofits need to adapt or they risk becoming at best ineffective, at worst irrelevant. As we are already seeing the trend of for-profit organizations focusing on social good, this space is becoming more and more crowded and competitive. 

With limited time available, it’s easy to get caught up in the fog. You go to work, get things done day after day without really reviewing how you do your work, but sometimes just investing an hour or two to step back and think about a challenge can help you find ways to address that challenge and free up a lot of valuable time.

And speaking of time savers and opportunities, by and large, one of the biggest untapped opportunities for the nonprofit sector comes from the effective use of technology.

Technology, in its simplest form, is the application of tools and knowledge to meet humans’ needs. Its purpose: to make our life easier. Unfortunately, digital skills in the sector are still – let’s say – basic. And, by looking at the bright side, it means that there is plenty of room for improvement, as to be effective with technology today you don’t need to get a degree in computer science or learn how to code, being effective starts with realizing what’s out there. 

That’s why I decided to join NetSquared and organize free capacity building workshops on technology for local nonprofits here in Athens.

NetSquared’s free events offer a welcoming community, hands-on learning, and expert advice on crucial tech topics ranging from budgeting for tech, to digital marketing, to moving files to the cloud. The meetups are open to everyone who is interested in using technology for social change, especially nonprofits and activists, tech leaders, and funders.

Let me show you what’s out there 🙂 

On the 26th of March at HIGGS we wanted to host the first of such events – Everything you always wanted to know about tech and nonprofit* (*But were afraid to ask) – where I wanted to introduce you to some of the latest trends in tech and nonprofits, discuss your needs and build together the content for the next training. However, the current situation doesn’t allow for in-person events. 

So we are working to move everything in the virtual realm. We will keep you posted about the next steps so if you want to join please register here – There are only a few spots available, don’t miss this opportunity!

It would be really great if you could take some time and answer this survey, so I can understand better what are the topics that could be more relevant and useful to you.  

Matteo Sisto

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