By Lance Pierce, NetHope CEO
The 2023 NetHope Global Summit last month was a platform for the NetHope community and the broader international development world to harness the power of information and data technologies to provide care, to enable healing, to help us work together to find peace and security, and to support the regeneration of the planet which we call home.
That is the “NetHope effect”, that sense that together we are greater than the sum of our parts, that together we can accomplish things that no one of us can alone—and which was on full display at the NetHope Global Summit.
At this year’s NetHope Global Summit, a diverse group of international practitioners and thought leaders shared insights that gave new perspective to the global operating context for all our Member NGOs. To kickstart the event, Raj Kumar, the President and Editor-in-Chief of Devex, raised the trend in the sector of ‘doing more with less’ when reviewing the landscape and horizon facing the sector today.
This particular trend comes and goes in the nonprofit world, depending on the ebb and flow of donor contributions. Today, however, this trend boomerangs back at a new crossroads. Emergency response situations around the world are increasing in number and severity. More countries are grappling with domestic or regional crises, or even both, simultaneously.
The costs associated with responding to these crises are increasing, and the long-term trends indicate a decline, or an anticipated decline, in the willingness of donors, whether government or philanthropic, to contribute funds or financial support. This nexus of what’s been called a time of “polycrisis” and declining resources will—whether we like it or not—force us to do more with less.
Some may find that formulation objectionable, noting that the very term, ‘more with less’ is either a naïve or a cynical way of meaning we have to do ‘less with less’—and of course, for some in many circumstances, that will be true. NetHope, of course, does not create the operating environment, but we do feel compelled to call it out and to identify it so that NetHope Members and the broader community that comes together through NetHope can develop more aligned ways to confront and collectively address the truth of the matter.
Because the truth is, the need for care and support is increasing, and while digital and data technologies are not substitutes for care, they can help extend and deliver care to vulnerable people and places in ways that practically answer and respond to the ‘more with less’ challenge.
As a Member-led, peer-learning platform committed to not only the individual Member organizations' capabilities but also to sharing the learning and experiences with the NetHope Community in a trusted space, we know that this community works to accelerate missions, and we have the data to prove it.
Our model, ingenuity, and deep collaboration enable us to accelerate the digital maturity of our sector, creating a multiplier effect – The NetHope Effect – that would not be possible if we or any one of our Members or partners were acting alone.
Through NetHope Working Groups and Regional Chapters around the world, Members work together to lift the capability of the sector as a whole through context-specific and cross-organizational problem-solving and collective action.
NetHope's mission has always been centered on serving a larger number of individuals across multiple locations while operating under real-world conditions. Our commitment to leveraging the power of digital technology helps us explore innovative approaches to accomplish this goal.
At this year’s Summit, NetHope launched a new strategic framework for the remainder of this decade, in collaboration with NetHope Members, partners, and supporters, that will shape NetHope’s work. It is intended to help all of those we work with be ready to operate effectively and responsibly in today and tomorrow’s world. The New Digital Divides in our strategic plan—skills and leadership, inclusion, protection, innovation, and resilience—come from the needs that the nonprofit sector has identified as critical in the digital and data spaces.
NetHope recognizes the immense potential of technology to empower, unite, and amplify the life-changing impact of nonprofit organizations. We look forward to working together with the entire NetHope community to bring this strategic plan to life.
Thank you to all those who made the NetHope Global Summit 2023 possible. I look forward to working with you in the year ahead and seeing you in Washington, DC, for our next Global Summit in 2024.