How Technology Supports Resilient Philanthropy

Of all the things learned over the past year, resilience has bubbled to the top. It’s a concept embodied by individuals, organizations, and whole communities. As a software company, it’s only natural we step back and evaluate solutions that can support resilience in an organization. After all, our mission is to “maximize the impact of the philanthropic community.”

Reviewing the past enables us to look to and plan for the future. There will always be unavoidable major events and by being equipped to navigate them, you’re more likely to lessen the impact. We took a deeper look into several characteristics that drive a resilient organization, and identified where effective technology bubbles to the top. 

Integration

Siloed teams struggle to work and communicate effectively. Add a sudden disaster into the mix and often the left hand isn’t working well enough with the right, leaving everyone scrambling. Being prepared before a catastrophic event enables you to better address the situation.

So how does technology help integrate your team?

  • Systems with permissions and appropriate access to all stakeholders allow information to flow smoothly between roles. 
  • This flow of information forms a connection between former siloes (over time, breaking them down all together) and allows for quicker decision making, faster response time, and more effective support resources flowing to where they’re needed most.
  • The resulting impact (e.g., enabling the community to respond to and rebuild faster after the next earthquake) builds cross-functional trust. 
  • When a group of stakeholders can tangibly see their impact, the result goes beyond minimum thresholds of working for the same organization and moves your teams into working toward a common mission.

Simple or free solutions (e.g., spreadsheets) may work in the near term, but technology built for your team (and outside stakeholders) to work together is ultimately what will help you respond quickly and build resilience into your recovery work.

Adaptability

Another key component is the ability to adapt quickly. In fact, agile philanthropy has also been a hot topic this year, and rightfully so. If you have a larger organization, can your team jump in and effectively support others? How about making changes on the fly? 

  • Online applications on a hosted server let you quickly spin up new applications or adapt existing ones on the fly.
  • Respond to new and changing funding needs or implement changes that will allow recovery to go smoother down the road.
  • Change processes and make updates quickly within your own team. 
  • Stay in the present and respond to the most pressing needs in real time.

Philanthropy Stories | North Valley Community Foundation

One example of this was the Camp Fire in California (featured to the right).

The fire came on quickly and the need was dire. With a reliable system in place, they were able to receive an overwhelming amount of donations. As the  aftermath unfolded, they were able to put together a disaster relief grantmaking committee and manage all funding through an online grants management system far more efficiently than using an email account.

 

Support

Resilience is not achieved in a vacuum - it requires a support network. Whether it’s your fellow team members within the organization, or members of your community, working together is a strong component of success. And this includes working with a software vendor who has your back through a crisis and the day-to-day. Spreadsheets and paper won’t collaborate with you to adapt your system quickly, or talk you through strategies based on other experiences. You should be able to rely on everyone involved to support you in a time of need. 

Being resilient in a crisis is built on preparedness. With the right systems in place and team alignment, your organization can be ready for whatever happens.

About the Author

Foundant Technologies

For more than a decade, Foundant Technologies has specialized exclusively in making philanthropy easier and more impactful through intuitive technology solutions. All of our cloud-based solutions focus on grantmaker, grantseeker, scholarship provider and community foundation needs with the goal to make day-to-day tasks streamlined and help maximize the impact of the philanthropic community.

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