COVID-19: Technology Tips for NGOs

24 Apr 2020 | Articles

COVID-19: Technology Tips for NGOs

During the COVID-19 alert levels your website, your email contacts and chat meetings with web apps like Zoom, Skype or Google Chat are becoming an important way to stay connected, stay engaged, and stay productive. We have compiled some tips that you may find useful as you navigate this new world.

Consider the following:

  • Your website’s home page is the front entrance to your organisation in this online world. During this time you should take a look at your current online presence and make sure it’s up-to-date and reflects what you want to project about your organisation. This might be a great time to update and improve your website.
  • If you don’t have a website, this is a good time to get one. Website design has never been easier!
  • Your online presence is not just through websites anymore. We now have many ways to communicate and share including email and many social media sites (such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) that can be used to share information about your organisation, so keep your social media presence up to date and relevant.

Social media support and simple website development are great voluntary opportunities for NGO community organisations. Register these voluntary opportunities with Volunteering Auckland.

A few things to keep in mind:
Safety – research your web-providers, tools and apps carefully. Free is usually not free. Online security is just as important as physical security of your organisation. Check with the New Zealand National Cyber Security Centre and CERT NZ for advice on cyber security and working from home or your office.

Privacy – when things go online, they become more public. Make sure you consider privacy of the people in your organisation, the people you serve and the people who volunteer for your organisation. If you are in doubt, don’t put it online. The NZ Privacy Act regulates privacy in New Zealand. See here for more information.

Keep up-to-date – the online world is changing constantly. Some applications like ZOOM meetings for example can pose serious risks when older outdated versions are being used. Make sure you are using the latest versions of your online apps. Check this weekly! If you already have the Zoom desktop client installed, you can check for updates: Sign in to Zoom desktop client. Click your profile picture then click Check for Updates. If there is a newer version, Zoom will download and install it.

Creating a great Volunteer engagement website
There is a world of information at your fingertips via the internet, including this article from VolunteerPro. Here you can find information for managing, communicating, and organising volunteers during these difficult times. Making time for a good google search and reading relevant articles might be an excellent investment to make during the lock-down period.

Many global technology companies are fighting the COVID-19 crisis with additional resources for business and Not for Profits. Google, for example, is offering Advanced Hangouts access for free through July. Microsoft is offering free TEAMS access to Not for Profits. Linkedin is offering free video courses for business learning in response to COVID-19. See here for more information on technology resources available to not for profits during this pandemic.

Commuication is key to ensuring the continued support for your cause. Volunteers, both your current ones and potential future ones, need to be kept informed about this fast moving world we are currently navigating. He waka eke noa. We are all in this together. Kia kaha!

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