Design Thinking: Australian NGOs adopting digital technology

Design thinking is providing multifarious solutions for organisations across all sectors, as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) prove that having limited funds does not also limit their digital communication strategies. Digital is certainly also enhancing engagement for NGOs, as they create seamless user experiences to increase donations. The not-for-profit sector is no longer reliant on traditional and outdated technology, but rather they’re embracing new and unique ways to represent their brands online.

Incorporating online technology into NGOs is booming across the globe. Australia stands fourth in the list of NGOs using online communication as the main medium of communicating to the public. Though great, it’s still important to drive digital transformation even further across these companies to achieve better conversion rates.

Design thinking to the rescue

Incorporating design thinking serves not-for-profits internally and externally. Good technology is streamlining employee collaboration and creating smoothly functioning organisations. By implementing this thinking business-wise NGOs are also facilitating the growth in donations and increasing the customer experience through clean landing pages and by making payment methods fast and easy.

Easy navigation through NGO websites is a vital element in influencing donations. Since a web page may be the first touchpoint the audience engages with, it must be packed with information about the organisation. Organised content, designed for a high-quality NGO website, allows for users to be uninterrupted in their navigation through web pages and will make all the difference in attracting donors.

Digital storytelling facilitates immediate action

Digital storytelling is a new strategy being used by NGOs that aims to make an immediate connection with potential donors using a strong call-to-action. By using digital channels to share notably emotional content and compelling stories really draws the audience’s undivided attention. Fundamentally, this shows the donor why they should invest in the cause.

Strategic storytelling involves creating strategic guidelines that keep in line with the audience’s motivation and interests. With measurable goals, a quality engagement plan can be designed to hook the targeted donors.

Measuring the impact of storytelling also requires you to set metrics around what success looks like for your content.

Better accessibility attracts new markets

Probono Australia an NGO example that’s making the best use of advances in technology by enhancing online user experiences for people living with disabilities. What was once inaccessible to people with disabilities, is now a fingertip away. By using digital in this way, Probono Australia is taking a massive step forward in making people feel included in society.

With each disability having unique requirements for accessibility, it’s important to take into consideration each of these while designing a web interface. Indefinite keyboard navigation, excessive graphic interface and in-differentiable contrasts in colouring on screen are some of the common barriers faced by people with disabilities. Some interfaces are hard to distinguish on screen, and some devices are difficult to maneuver with limited dexterity skills.

Optimising technology for a broader market boosts a company’s corporate citizenship and simultaneously acquires new donors.

Controlled testing for quality results

Testing products on people living with disabilities, rather than on the average population, is equally as important as the creation of a product. The results are more accurate and personalised with controlled testing.

Accessibility to a website must always be tested on people with disabilities, to ensure that it benefits their special needs. Creating more checkpoints to test the efficiency of the product or service, promises smooth functioning at all levels.

Internal and external organisational benefits

Vision Australia has launched an intranet project to help Australians with impaired vision better communicate in the workspace through cross-functional tools. The project replicated a social-media like approach that provided people a familiar way to create groups and share information in a business environment.

To combat social isolation of the visually impaired, the organisation provides thousands of audiobooks to download on the spot, through the intranet. These platforms are bridging the gap between people with disabilities and their society. By doing this they can be more involved in routine activities and engage with others in the community, allowing users to share information on their different lifestyles.

Reduce on-site staff to save costs

World Vision, an international NGO for children, designed a solution called Last Mile Mobile Solutions (LLMS) that registers aid beneficiaries to help distribute relief items in times of natural disaster. This innovative technology detects errors and minimises inventory losses. LLMS also acts as an ID card for community members, to ensure that the right amount of amenities go to the right people.

With directly accountable results, on-field staff are minimally required to monitor functions. Especially since the device works even in remote areas without internet or electricity, we can see that digital has come a long way in contributing to the success of emergency situations. The immediacy and reliability of digital technology reflects a positive NGO image.

Managing the digital landscape in NGOs

Having powerful digital technology that is capable of sharing uniquely designed customer experiences, calls for skilled product management. In many NGOs, people’s expectations of technology are lower than in bigger organisations, focussing mostly on potential complications digital tech might pose in the future. The true impact digital can make in elevating an organisation can be overlooked. Product management clearly balances internal factors like digital resources and finance with the audience’s expectations.

Due to the great work and examples mentioned above, there has been an influx in funding for NGOs, and as a result increased budgets, as digital technology use is standard within organisations now. Jobs in NGOs are also in demand, as departments need to increase headcount and rapidly expand. If there’s ever a good time to invest in good digital technology for NGOs, it’s now.