We hope you enjoyed our FALL NON-PROFIT BREAKFAST PANEL held on Friday, October 16, 2020. If you were unable to attend, below is a summary. We hope to see you at the next one! As the sponsor of this series, ITDATA is committed to continuing the discussion. Stay tuned for our next event!
Approximately 65 industry leaders attended the Zoom meeting titled: The Resilient Non-Profit: Moving Forward Through & Beyond a Pandemic
The panelists included:
• Loree D. Jones: Chief Executive Officer, Philabundance
• Nadya K. Shmavonian: Director Greater Philadelphia Nonprofit Repositioning Fund
• Cynthia F. Figueroa: Deputy Mayor Office of Children and Families (OCF) City of Philadelphia
4 Critical Ideas raised by the panel:
1. Flexibility is required for success in this pandemic environment: The needs of constituents has never been greater but the old ways of delivering services just won’t work anymore. This requires new operating models for increased efficiencies and new delivery systems that are adaptable in a crises like this one.
2. Partnerships are becoming the new model: Many non-profit organizations are seeking partnerships to improve the focus on the mission and join with others who might create efficiencies in some weaker areas of operation.
3. Board leadership is vital for success: Many of the successful partnerships required Board involvement and sponsorship from the beginning. Having a Board that can identify opportunities and understand the advantages of joining forces with another organization goes a long way to breaking down the barriers created by a typical philosophy of going it alone.
4. Non-Profits need a clear vision and purpose: Most non-profits have diversified to adopt to new funding sources (“Chasing the dollars”). Successful partnerships require a strong focus on organizational purpose which will permit activities outside of that purpose to be well suited to a partnership model for efficiency and growth.
ITDATA specializes in technology solutions for non-profits. We can help you plan, budget and implement solutions that drive efficiency, effectiveness and data-driven decision making for improved results.
Interested? Please contact Ali Fisher at afisher@ITData.com for more information.
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By: Bruce H. Golboro
This is the first in a series of articles produced by ITData covering the challenges of the Pandemic on our work environment and how we can use technology to alleviate some of those effects.
Many of us have moved to a work environment that is virtual. Collaboration that was normally fostered in a face-to-face environment has moved into the virtual realm. Some feel very comfortable working this way while others are more challenged. Leadership needs to take notice and make every effort to foster the teamwork necessary to reach the same level of success. Our experience supported by research indicates 3 major areas of focus for leadership to maximize its collaboration efforts:
The World Economic Forum produced its “Loneliness Chart” below from their State of Remote Report 2020. 40% struggle with collaboration or loneliness issues while another 12% are concerned with distractions. The stress in this new environment needs to be confirmed front-and-center with leadership. This will break down resistance and encourage users to embrace the benefits of the virtual environment.
Once these barriers are addressed, it is important to build trust amongst your participants. Open, honest dialogue only flows in a place where each person is acknowledged for their participation and feels comfortable communicating differences of opinion. We have found that bonding / team building exercises help build this trust. It takes a special leadership quality to foster this type of communication since constant challenging is difficult to manage. Special training is helpful when teams try to engage in difficult decision making while time constraints require quick responses. Some other suggestions to help include: limiting the size of teams and identifying team members with very specific skills to support fact findings to build a consensus. Erica Dhawan & Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic summed it up well in their Harvard Business Review article, How to Collaborate Efficiently if your Team is Remote:
“You can find your own unique way to create team spaces for social connection. How you do it is less important than whether you do it.”
Many companies jumped right into a platform for virtual communications like Skype, Zoom, Teams or Duo. As in any platform selection, the decision should be based on features and functionality requirements. These include:
- How interactive are your sessions? Do you need Q&A, breakout rooms or a classroom environment?
- Do you need screen sharing for presentations?
- Will you be working together on documentation or white boarding ideas?
- Will you be hosting large groups?
- Will participants be chatting during the sessions?
Each virtual platform contains different functionality to address the issues above. Depending on the need, some are easier to use than others.
The final challenge to building strong collaboration is around organization during virtual sessions. Research indicates that support grows as organization around these sessions improves. This requires the following items:
- An agenda delivered in advance
- Clear task assignments
- Ample time for discussion
- Documented follow up expectations
Addressing these 3 areas will go a long way to encouraging collaboration during these times of forced isolation allowing your team to bond, grow and succeed.
Bruce H. Golboro is the Chief Operating Officer of ITData Inc., a technology services firm. You can reach him at email@example.com
Philadelphia, PA, September 13, 2018 – A distinguished panel of Philadelphia nonprofit leaders discussed the challenges they face in using data intelligence to make better-informed decisions that improve their impact and increase their sustainability at an event hosted by ITData at The Union League of Philadelphia.
Panel members were Vik Dewan, President & CEO, Philadelphia Zoo; Dawn Holden-Wood, CEO, Turning Points for Children; and Sara McCullough, VP of Impact, United Way Philadelphia & Southern NJ. More than 130 nonprofit leaders listened and asked questions during the event, led by moderator Richard Binswanger.
5 Critical Ideas Were Raised:
- Nonprofit organizations aspire to not only deliver services but also be catalysts for change in their communities, yet they realize achieving that larger goal will require building coalitions.
- Leaders in nonprofit organizations are inundated with data, but challenged to derive meaningful, actionable insights that result in improved outcomes.
- Rather than relying on the same funders year after year, nonprofits need to figure out how to tap previously untapped resources by addressing the factors that make Philadelphia 43rd among the 50 largest US cities in donor contributions, and the reasons that billions in Donor Advised Funds are not being deployed.
- To attract a new generation of donors focused on demonstrable outcomes, nonprofit organizational culture must change to embrace the risk inherent in launching new programs that require a multi-year donor commitment, while eliminating programs that no longer work.
- With Federal and State government dollars declining, nonprofits need to involve the business community in addressing Philadelphia’s 25% poverty rate, the highest among the 10 most populous US cities.
ITData has been a trusted technology advisor and service provider to Philadelphia area clients for over 20 years. The firm delivers high value, cost-effective services with a local face. ITData invests time in the face-to-face interactions that spark innovation and creative solutions.
Have you thought about whether your departmental systems are sharing well enough at your nonprofit?
What would you do if the various departments in your organization failed to communicate with one another? No matter how well a single department handles its own business functions, the organization is guaranteed to run into serious challenges if information isn’t effectively exchanged, especially for leadership who focus on “big picture” matters. Only when an organization is well-connected, can questions like the following be tackled:
- How does the organization demonstrate its values, social return, and success?
- How does the CEO, or the Executive Director, make proper financial, staffing, or other critical decisions without seeing how all the pieces fit together?
- How does the board accomplish its oversight role without utilizing the relationships that run through and across organizational territories?
- No good leader would tolerate such dysfunctional siloes in their organization, yet, many accept this lack of communication and integration in their departmental technology systems. Why?
- We found that no good solutions exist in the market that help companies create the bridges and tunnels that join the departmental systems together.
The 2018 Software Advice issue reviewed 145 NonProfit Applications which placed all of them into the following 8 Categories:
- Fundraising & Donor Management
- Membership Management
- Volunteer Management
- Marketing & Outreach
- Event Planning
- Grant Management
None of these categories tie these various systems together in a way that successfully inform decision making to help a non-profit achieve its mission and goals.Yet, increasingly, non-profits are seeing the need to tie these categories to various systems. The Non Profit Times (1/17) identified “Integration and the free flow of information and data between software solutions” as an important and crucial trend going forward. However, this is just a first step. The real utility comes when business intelligence is overlaid on to this, causing leadership to have a much stronger visibility into the things it deems important.So to fill the need, we are developing a solution that fits the following criterion:
- It’s inexpensive.
- It’s easy to use.
- It adapts and scales to the organization.
- It creates direct ties to the mission.
- It highlights areas deemed most important by the organization regardless of whether there are clear metrics yet created for these areas.
- It provides insight into the key questions, both expansive and contractive, that the organization wants to ask.
Are you getting excited? Even if you are just curious, we hope you will get in touch. We can give you a few good thoughts on how to move forward.
COO, ITDATA, Inc.
A Story About Understanding Our Data
Once upon a time there was a business. It was a good business, but for many reasons it was getting harder to predict how well or poorly they were doing based on the various measures they were accustomed to using. The market place was changing and so were the revenue sources. Little by little they were losing touch with what the real risks or opportunities were ahead.
This particular business had a board of directors and they were starting to ask different questions. They had an executive team who wanted to not only answer those questions, but they had their own questions that sounded different. They had staff, and they had customers, and other constituent groups with various interests. Why was this becoming such an issue? It never was before.
Regardless of why they were in this predicament, they were in it. They needed to pull together all of this information from many different places and make sense of it. “Well that’s easy”, they thought, “We’ll just ask our IT folks”. Now all of a sudden the IT people were asking questions. Geeze Louise, when was the merry go round ever going to end?
So they hired IT consultants. The questions kept coming, but they thought “hey the consultants at least will help us get through this maze, right”. Well, not exactly. After many hours, days, and months, the questions kept coming and the merry go round continued. They were exhausted.
Until one day they decided to take a different approach. Maybe chasing down all of this information was not the place to start. Maybe they needed to make better sense of the questions first. What were the right questions? What real problems was all this information going to solve?
Well, it was not easy, but they did it. They managed to find the right set of questions that aligned with their strategies – the questions that could help to solve the major issues. So, they went back to the drawing board with these questions in mind and somehow it started to come together. They were getting information to the right people, ahead of the curves, and making real time adjustments to their business.
The moral of the story, “ask the right questions and you might find the answers”. “Ask the wrong questions and enjoy the merry go round.
CEO, ITData, Inc.