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Advancing the Strategic Landscape

Testing our assumptions from the global landscape by exploring local contextualization.

By Nicholas Kerastas, Business and Research Analyst, The Center for the Digital Nonprofit

For those that know NetHope, you know that our community occupies one of the most unique professional spaces on earth. As a network, we touch the lives of over 1.2 billion people, represent over $26 billion in annual aid expenditures, and are present in over 150 countries. For context, there are only 3 companies on earth that have that many users, and only 2 countries which have that many citizens. By effect, this means that the people, processes, and technology we represent are amongst the most influential social ecosystems on earth. As an organization, our ‘Why’, ‘What’, and ‘How’ at NetHope is to leverage those networks to contribute meaningful digital solutions in a traditionally resource starved environment facing continual crisis and upheaval.

Through our ‘born-digital’ roots, we were built from the outset to leverage the potential energy laden within this ecosystem, and to the benefit of people and planet alike. However, we now find that to properly manage this global village requires a concerted effort to understand the strategic landscape that is rests on. Therefore, NetHope launched the multi-phase 2030 Strategic Alignment Initiative.

Over the past year, we have been immersing ourselves into the digital enabling strategies of the global headquarters of our nonprofit Membership. This is an effort to understand how NetHope can align sector partners in philanthropy and corporate technology to support digital innovation and implementation more effectively across the sector. Focusing exclusively on the global level, rather than any specific geographic area or mission focus, NetHope was able to acquire documentation and feedback from over 90% of our nonprofit Membership. Qualitative analysis of this data set, combined with supplemental context from national ICT policies and corporate roadmaps, provides the foundational understanding of our community’s priorities as it relates to digital enablers and program technology. Specifically, this assessment reveals a ‘keystone ecosystem’ that is being used to guide impact investments for the sector. This interlinked investment highway includes the following digital pathways:

  • Getting and using information properly
  • Increasing digital skills and capacities
  • Applying more technology-based solutions
  • Achieving peak digital performance and program effectiveness

With these findings, NetHope has provided nonprofits, technology partners, and philanthropic donors this digital blueprint to fuel impact acceleration across the humanitarian sector. Just choose a theme, get in contact with the nearest NetHope ally, and you too can contribute meaningful sector gains.

And the best part? We are not done revealing shared sector value from this strategic work.

NetHope is now moving into phase 2 of the 2030 Strategic Alignment Initiative. This phase, scheduled to take place over the next 6-9 months, is crafted to test our assumptions from the global landscape, by exploring local contextualization. Essentially, we want to determine how the ‘Keystone Ecosystem’ emerges on the local level rather than just in the confines of the global north and the headquarters located there.

To do this, the research team identified the 2 regions with the highest Member activity: Eastern Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda) and North America (Canada, Mexico, and the United States). Combined these countries have over 300 NetHope affiliated organizations with even more affiliated individuals. Optimistically, we hope to get in reach with 150 organizations and interview a program team from each. At roughly 15-20 contacts per country, this will provide a one of kind data set that allows NetHope to understand how we can support the digital maturity of organizations in each country and do so in a way unique to our Members program implementers, local digital infrastructure, and regional technical abilities.

Through this interview process, NetHope will be analyzing how global trends and narratives (as it relates to the identified digital pathways) begin to operationalize on the local level. This will allow NetHope and our network of allies even greater opportunity to collaborate and invest time, resources, and expertise in finding solutions to long intransient problems.

Thus, the preeminent outcome from phase 2 is not just a summary whitepaper or landscape assessment. Rather, it is a definitive delivery of everything NetHope’s stands for. The totality of which demarcates our mission in this space: the effective networking of philanthropic and technology partners to unlock and then implement digital resources to achieve transformative global change.

If you or your organization is interested in learning more about NetHope’s Strategic Alignment Initiative, please view our published whitepaper on phase 1 of the project. Additionally, you can get in touch with the CDN by contacting us to setup a conversation with the strategy team within the CDN.

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