Innovation is child’s play
Playground Ideas is one of those innovative NFP’s with with an innovative business development plan incorporating tech to reach their audience and redefine their mission. Formed in 2007, Playground Ideas is a non-profit organisation that provides free, open-source resources to help anyone, anywhere build a playground.an innovative business development plan incorporating an innovative business development plan incorporating
But it started as a more hands-on venture, physically building the playgrounds themselves.
“We slogged it out building 40 playgrounds in Thailand in six months,” says founder Marcus Veerman.
“I got influenza Type B, dengue fever and [had] my appendix out. That was brutal. So it was just by pure force that I had to find a different way.
“I thought there was maybe 100 people a year looking for playgrounds. As it turned out, Playground Ideas supported over 1000 sites before the end of 2015. I never thought it would ramp up as
quickly as it did. And it’s all [from] internet sharing,” Veerman says.
Technology has allowed Playground Ideas to scale, and also changed them from a group who build playgrounds to an information and fundraising hub. In fact, Veerman characterises the company completely differently to when it was first established. “We’re an information provider,” he says. first
Reaching the people
While Playground Ideas used a number of strategies and technologies to reach their community and drive traffic.
- Google Ads
- A/B testing and tweaking
- Visual assets like infographics and photo galleries of projects that are shareable on social media
Moving with the times
However, harnessing technology isn’t necessarily easy. This can be a sticking point for NFP’s.
“We spent quite a bit of money building our first website and we’ve just rebuilt it two years later. That seems like an epic spend for an organisation,” says Veerman.
But the rise of smartphones in the developing world as well as the increased popularity of crowd-funding meant that an update was needed.
“It’s growing so fast that we had to have a mobile-responsive site and we put in crowd-funding because it’s a thing that everyone knows about now,” says Veerman.
And for Veerman, the investment is justified.
“If you’ve got a business making money offline, to think that you wouldn’t harness the things that help people to find you and communicate with you online, you’re out of your mind.”
Australian not-for-profits using tech
Spark* supports entrepreneurs working for social good around the world. Projects like Smokeless Homes, providing solar panels for Kenyan homes. Using a tech startup model, Spark* provides an accelerator program as well as offering tech consultancy.
Now a global force, Movember uses tech to reach its audience and builds programs like their Global Action Plan that connects specialists from all of the globe to drive better health outcomes for men.
- Thankyou Water
Australian brand Thankyou Water creates products like water, soap and household goods and gives a portion of profits to NGOs fighting poverty and disadvantage. On the tech front, they have an app that allows you to track the progress of the program you are supporting.
Find out how charities and not-for-profit organisations can benefit from the latest technologies.