Digital Nonprofit

The NGO Reference Model

  • March 22, 2018
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Having a common framework for how NGOs plan and operate is critical when NGOs have peer discussions, discuss their processes and conduct business with suppliers and supporters. A common language and understanding will enable NGOs to speak with “one voice” representing the International Development, Humanitarian Aid and Conservation sectors. Beneficial to internal and external stakeholders, it is instrumental as a foundation for strategic planning. If existing processes are not well understood, how can an NGO plan for the future? In a world with ever increasing reliance on technology, digital transformation is today’s IT buzzword and only an organization with a solid understanding of current internal processes would be able to maximize its benefit from such transformation.

A 3-part NetHope member only webinar series discussing the NGO Reference Model was organized as follows:

Webinar #1 Introducing the NGO Reference Model

Date: Thursday August 1st – 8AM PDT | 11:00AM EDT | 16:00 GMT | 17:00 CET
NetHope Solutions Center posting here.
Webinar title: Introducing the NGO Reference Model – 1st webinar in a series of 3
Speakers: Mike Smith, Greg Snow and Karin Stecher

This first in a series webinar will provide an overview of the NGO Reference Model. We will look at how some organizations are already using the model and take a deep-dive into a couple of process groups to build understanding of the model.  We’ll discuss a process for getting to know the model and finish with a task ready for Webinar #2.

This webinar will provide ample time for questions and discussion. We will also lay the groundwork for what we will learn in Webinar #2; Understanding the model in detail and Webinar #3 Benchmarking results and introduction to the NetHope Digital NGO initiative.

To maximize learning and benefit, attendees will be asked to use their organization’s mission to contextualize the top level reference model diagram and roughly map which of their applications support which parts of the model. These submissions together with any questions will be made in advance of webinar #2.

Webinar #2 The NGO Reference Model: Early experiences and practical implications

Date: Thursday September 14 – 8AM PDT | 11:00AM EDT | 16:00 GMT | 17:00 CET
NetHope Solutions Center posting here.
Webinar title: The NGO Reference Model: Early experiences and practical implications – 2nd webinar in a series of 3
Speakers: Greg Snow, Mike Smith, Karin Stecher

In this, the second of three webinars about the NGO Reference Model, we will review the Model and how it can add value to organizations. NetHope member organizations will discuss their review of the reference model, and questions from the first webinar will be addressed. Emerging themes from the feedback, and potential changes will also be debated.

The NGO Benchmarking Tool that is based on the reference model will be described and demonstrated. We expect participants to complete the benchmarking tool with their respective organization, and hold at least one verification workshop internally prior to the third and final webinar. These activities will provide content for the final webinar, and for future steps where we will tie the NGO Reference Model in with NetHope’s initiatives for the Digital NGO, and related activities going forward.

The NGO Reference Model core team has found that introducing the model via benchmarking helps organizations to understand what the model is about (this can be as lightweight or involved as they like), and adds value for organizations straight away (e.g. bringing IT closer to the organization).

Webinar #3: Benchmarking results and introduction to the NetHope Digital NGO initiative

Date: Tuesday October 17th – 8AM PDT | 11:00AM EDT | 16:00 GMT | 17:00 CET
NetHope Solutions Center posting here.
Webinar title: The NGO Reference Model: Early experiences and practical implications – 2nd webinar in a series of 3
Speakers: Greg Snow, Jean-Louis Ecochard

​We will ask attendees to fill out the NGO Reference Model benchmarking tool, described in Webinar #2, for their respective organizations. The results will be reported, implications relative to work ahead of the Center for the Digital Nonprofit will be discussed.