Collaborative digital transformation in non-profit organizations, your best bet

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Stepping out of the mindset of the organization and start thinking as a collective is key to start consolidating the digital transformation process.

Francesc Bassas i Bullich


Responsible for computer systems in third sector organisations.

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Launching and consolidating a digital transformation process in a non-profit organization and doing this successfully will depend, to a large extent, on overcoming the reticence people have to change and have well-defined leaderships and encourage and strengthen a new culture of work. Even if some of these factors may show greater difficulties in our sector, they are inherent to all processes of this nature.

However, the main challenge non-profit organizations face, especially when they are small or medium-sized, is ensuring that this change is sustainable in financial and also management terms. This is not the case for other sectors where the inclusion of the technology comes with more resources and structures or the viability is guaranteed by the financial gains that this change brings.

We must not lose sight, thought, that digital transformation makes sense not only when it allows us to fulfil our missions more diligently, hopefully without too much effort for the organization. One way of doing this is to design a digital strategy that bases is actions on one of our strengths: cooperation.

We are not a competitive sector, but we do have a strong cooperative culture. Embracing this cooperation in the field of digital transformation brings extra benefits: not only will we dive into this process in a co-responsible way and hence a more sustainable way, but it will also allow us to concentrate a high amount of resources into the final actions that are of great concern to our organizations.

So, how can we encourage this collaboration without wasting energy along the way? The key is to start this digital transformation openly and step away from a mindset focusing solely on the organization; let’s think collectively. In a similar way to open software, when we say we need to be open, it means that we must make our knowledge, learning, experiences, models, processes, solutions, doubts and difficulties available to whoever wants them.

Unfortunately, the digital sector often works against this model and tends to pull us into models that prioritize individual gains above the common good. This does not mean, however, that we shouldn’t demand that this sector adapts to our way of being and call for participation in this process that demands transparency and collaboration. We need professionals and suppliers in the field of ITCs at all managerial levels; suppliers who are committed to this perspective. In this regard, we have the “Municipal strategies for digital empowerment” a good example we should take note of.

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