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Vikram Singh on how NFPs can be empowered through technology

3 min read

With Australia recovering from the multiple extreme events(drought, bushfires, pandemic, floods), demand for tech support in the NFP community has increased. Technology has a way of helping these organisations streamline their opportunities and help them reach a broader audience which is exactly what Vikram Singh believes in.

Third Sector News spoke with Vikram, Vice President and Country Head of TCS, to talk about how technology can provide solutions and empower the sector.

Tech transformations are generally out of reach for NFPs and other social enterprises because they are cost-prohibitive. With the Community Innovation Program, organisations have an opportunity to work pro-bono or at reduced costs with TCS.

TCS believes that communities face unique, complex challenges and their CSR strategy leverages the best of TCS’ expertise to create bespoke, contextual solutions which address the most pressing issues and meet the needs of the most vulnerable populations across the globe.

What can you say is the biggest advantage that NFPs can get when switching to digital practices?

Vikram Singh: Maintaining pace with digital transformations is an ongoing challenge for NFPs and social enterprises. Decades ago, academics, scientists, futurists, and government agencies made some bold predictions about what the world would look like in the year 2020. And while they saw technological advances that would have seemed nothing short of science fiction, they also saw a future of widening gaps in minimum social and economic equity, resource depletion and increasing global temperatures.

However, nobody could have predicted the speed with which digital transformation would be adopted as part of the Covid-19 pandemic, transforming the business and the socio-economic landscape forever.

According to the Digital Technology report 2018 – ANZ, 64% of NFPs were unsatisfied with their use of technology in creating an impact. These biggest challenges faced include lack of available resources, knowledge and skills.

To address this challenge, TCS developed the Community Innovation Program. Delivering pro-bono technology services including gamification, app & web development, technology optimisation valued collectively worth $1 million (AUD).

This program aims to create human-centered design, and drive purpose-driven growth for NFPs and social enterprises. TCS is well-positioned to provide advisory services to guide these organisations on where they need to go and offer technology & consulting services to take them to the next level.

Can you give us a sample of how your company has helped NFPs make the switch and how has it helped their growth?

Vikram Singh: TCS believes that technology has the potential to change the way the not-for-profit and social enterprise sector delivers services to the community and advocates for change. By empowering these organisations with world leading technology solutions, TCS can assist to build the sector’s organisational capability and capacity to create greater social and environmental impact.

The TCS Community Innovation Program has been operating in Australia for 7 years and this year launched in New Zealand. During this time, we have supported 18 NFPs access technology services to create social and environmental impact.

Through the Community Innovation Program, TCS developed an online Impact Reuse Calculator Tool for Charitable Recycling Australia, a collective network of 3,000 charities and social enterprise retailers which works to get re-useable household items from ending up in landfills. The simple online tool for individuals measures the carbon impacts of reuse that has helped Charitable Recycling Australia in reaching greater audiences both through their website, local networks and through their members. Read more –

Keeping the audience engaged is one of the most effective ways in staying relevant on online platforms, how can NFPs achieve that?

Vikram Singh: Reaching a broad audience is a common goal no matter what level of engagement an organisation is undertaking, and therefore successful projects use a combination of online and offline community engagement methods.

For a successful online engagement, it is imperative that an organisation aims to target a diverse audience – this way they are not just engaging with the vocal minority, but also with the silent majority.

For example, COVID-19 has exacerbated the issue of food security and access to fresh food especially in the remote communities. TCS is working alongside organisations such as Food Ladder, the world’s first not-for-profit organisation to use hydroponics and environmentally sustainable technologies to create food and economic security for communities. To help achieve the zero-hunger goal, TCS, via the Community Innovation Program, helped created a website provides free access to high-quality content and tools focusing on in-ground gardening, hydroponic greenhouse gardening and business development. As a result, Food Ladder can now continuously engage with the communities virtually than physically go to these remote locations.

In what way can an organisation ensure that its staff, fundraising activities, and online engagement are well equipped for a more digital environment?

Vikram Singh: In this digital age, NFPs and other social enterprises must have a digital presence to be sustainable. From sharing their mission, values, and initiatives to generating revenue and event management, technology plays a key role in their success and ability to run a lean operation.

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Lourdes Antenor is an experienced writer who specialises in the not-for-profit sector and its affiliations. She is the content producer for Third Sector News, an online knowledge-based platform for and about the Australian NFP sector.


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