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If you want to accelerate your mission and have more impact, you are in the right place.

From initial discovery to pre-journey logistics, this step-by-step guide tells you everything you need to do to begin solving your challenge through a NetHope IDEA Journey.  

You can take your first step today. Once you’ve completed step three, you will be guided through the rest of your journey by your IDEA Journey partner.

Have questions, use our contact form to get in touch

1. Discover

The journey to solving your challenge and making your great idea an organization-transforming strategy starts with focusing on your current reality. In order to start your organization's IDEA Journey, you need to complete the IDEA Journey Discovery form and NetHope’s Digital Nonprofit Ability (DNA) assessment. This information has been essential for other organizations on their journeys, so you can complete these forms in the knowledge that the information you provide will be key to your success.

Should you do your IDEA Journey with other nonprofits?

Some challenges have sector-wide relevance and can lead to a working coalition of nonprofits. This may reduce the costs of your organization’s investment and attract donors, but it requires significant coordination and time. Check out the Coalition Decision Framework to explore this option further.

2. Opportunity Accepted

Not all challenges are the right fit for a NetHope IDEA Journey. Once we have your Discovery form and DNA results, we will assess your application and let you know if your challenge has been accepted. If it has, you can move straight on to step three.

The potential cost of your IDEA Journey

Imagine workshop phase cost: estimated $30k-$40k (USD). With varying levels of sponsorship, resulting in minimal cost to the nonprofit
Design phase cost varies based on results from Imagine workshop: observed range $70k-$150k (USD). This will be commensurate to the scope and could be much higher.
Execute phase cost varies based on scope/geography from Design phase.
Assess phase cost varies based on chosen measures, time frame, and geography.

NetHope’s Center for the Digital Nonprofit has had great success finding donors to fund the Imagine and Design phases of the IDEA Journey. Please contact us collaborate on fundraising for your IDEA Journey.

3. Choose your Idea Journey Partner

The NetHope IDEA Journey partners bring a huge level of experience and expertise to the process. All of our IDEA Journey partners have proven track records guiding NGOs through the IDEA Journey process. Find out more about the NetHope-certified partners using the links below.






Once you have selected your partner, they will set up a meeting with you to start scoping your IDEA Journey. Read this comprehensive guide to the partner introductory meeting in preparation.

4. Scope your solution

our IDEA Journey has been accepted, you have secured funding and buy-in from senior leadership, and you have selected your IDEA Journey partner. Now it is time to delve deeper.

Please fill in this scoping form to share more about your organization’s background, your use of technology and data, and your project idea. Download Scoping Form

At this point, you will also start pulling together a Logframe to share how you plan to achieve your goals and measure success. Download logframe

5. Approve statement of work and sign contract

Your organization will need to sign a contract or memorandum of understanding with your IDEA Journey partner. The following resources will help you speed up that process.

Download Sample Consulting Partner Contract Sections and Contract

Download NetHope Master Data Sharing Agreement

6. Finalize Logframe

Before you begin your Imagine workshop, you will need to work with your IDEA Journey partner and colleagues to finalize your logframe.

7. Organize logistics

You should allow three to six months to organize your Imagine workshop. Making sure key stakeholders can all be in the same room at the same time (even if that is virtually) takes some impressive logistics. You also need to ensure you include a broad cross section of your organization in the workshop – including HQ and field staff. It may be helpful to have peer organizations, partners and sub-contractors participate too.

8. Partner preparation

our IDEA Journey partner will use the information you have provided to prepare your Imagine workshop. In order to refine your scenario, your partner will conduct interviews with key stakeholders (e.g.: program delivery team, in-country staff, program participants). These interviews will help the Imagine workshop participants empathize with those involved in the Dream scenario. The outputs from these interviews will be the following artifacts, to be used in the workshop.

  • Introduction to digital transformation
  • Persona development
  • Initial journey map
  • Other workshop documentation (e.g.: agenda, attendee list

9. Begin your journey

You are now ready to embark on your IDEA Journey, imagining and designing a solution to your challenge, with the support of your IDEA Journey partner!

Explore the Idea Journey

Your NetHope IDEA Journey will have four phases
  • 1. Imagine

    • Collaborate with key stakeholders
    • Define your current state
    • Imagine your future state
    • Ideate innovative solutions
  • 2. Design

    • Bring your solution to life
    • Test and develop a MVP
    • Plan M&E
    • Collaborate with your wider team
  • 3. Execute

    • Deploy the solution in the field
    • Work for wider adoption
    • Adjust solution
    • Report
  • 4. Assess

    • Measure impact
    • Evaluate social performance
    • Ensure good collection and management of data
    • Share impact report with nonprofit sector

Helpful resources

Getting to a single challenge

Introducing the IDEA Journey to your organization and arriving at a single challenge can be a lot of work. The person in your organization tasked with leading digital transformation efforts will need to provide guidance during the single challenge selection process and is often called upon to build internal support for this work. Here, we provide a selection of proven tools, resources, and boilerplate emails from successful Imagine workshop efforts that can support your work.

Guide to Social Sector Design Thinking (based on human-centered design thinking)
download pdf
The 2018 Summit workshop on Design Thinking with Accenture at the Dock in Dublin
download pdf
NetHope Imagine Workshop: Ideating good challenges
download pdf
NetHope Imagine Workshop: Lessons learned to better prepare
download pdf
NetHope Imagine Scenario Template (contributed by Mercy Corps)
download pdf
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