Technology for Non Profit Organisations


Technology and Social Innovation Week – Day 2: Technology for Non Profit Organisations

The 3rd consecutive day of the Technology and Social Innovation was a workshop dedicated to non-profits, in order to provide them with technological tools to help them perform better.


PRESENTATION #1:Marketing tools for NGOs, by Melissa Faucher

The workshop started with a presentation by Melissa Faucher from the marketing & communication agency Grosse Tête. Grosse tête realized that there was a need for talents in communication among NGOs. The agency’s mission is thus to provide marketing communication tools to NGOs. The initiative started in July 2014 and includes 2 students working full-time and 1 project director. The company also helps students land their first working experience in the field of communication and business development.

Marketing solutions under constraints

Melissa explained that to cope with their clients’ budget constraints, they often have to come up with innovative practices in order to fill their assignment. This requires to:

  • Understand the context of the organization
  • Consider the specialized human resources needs
  • Run a market analysis to identify competitors and potential clients
  • Run a SWOT analysis (Stengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats)
  • Make a SWOT analysis (Stengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats)
  • Establish quantifiable marketing objectives and things to improve

One has to think about how communication can help reach those objectives. For example, how can the company become more known? How can we increase foster the sense of ownership within the company and towards customers?  How can we maximize the impact on the target audience? What angle should we take to ensure a maximum reach? To solve all the issues, a holistic plan of action has to be made to ensure consistency in the company’s message.

Affordable communication tools for NGOs

Melissa suggested several free or affordable tools of communication that can yield measurable results. It’s important to target the efforts to the most appropriate platform, strategy and timing.

Social media YouTube,Facebook


Event planning Eventbrite
Market analysis Surveymonkey
Advertisement Google adword
Research Wikipedia
Other NGO-specific tools

Inspiration can come from different sources:

  • Imagination for people
  • Google images
  • Pinterest
  • netTendance
  • Generation INC
  • Infopresse

Example of ideas born out of inspiration and meshing of ideas:

  • Crowdfunding (internet+ fundraising)
  • Giving Tuesday (inspired by Black Friday and Cyber Monday + charity fundraising)
  • DAM “eat cheese to save jobs in culture” ( cheese + cuts in workforce = fundraising)

Case study 1 : Université du Troisieme Age

The next section of the workshop was a marketing exercise with the audience.UTA (Universite du Troisieme Age) is a place to lean and socialize for people 50 years and older. In Montreal it consists of 70% women and 30% men. Age average is of 70 years old.The aim of the exercise is to have more people in the 55-64 years old age range.  What could we do?

–       Start a YouTube channel

–       Online quizzes

–       Make them feel young

–       Reach them through the grandkids

PRESENTATION #2:How to attract supporters using search engines and social media, by Franck Nlemba

This section of the workshop was presented by Frank Nlemba. The objective was to to share tips about search engine and social media that would help companies reach their marketing objectives.

 How to bring the product to the target market?

Franck started by mentioning important trends, like the fact that

  • Canadians spend a lot of time on the Internet,
  • Online shopping is developing,
  • Communities of sellers and buyers are being created through sites like Kijiji
  • Social media
  • Videos
  • Crowd Funding

 Case study 2: Increase the reach and online presence of an NGO

The second exercise consisted in helping a company that fights domestic violence to establish a presence online, inform users about the cause and to be the number one source of information on the subject.

The following steps were laid out:

  1. Establish objectives
  2. Understand the sector of activity
  3. Identify the needs
  4. Identify target
  5. Position the offer
  6. Act efficiently

Steps to take when doing research:

  • Use Google as a tool and consult the suggested searches to see what people are searching for.
  • Look at what kind of information appears on the first page of Google.
  • Identify competition
  • Look at other searching engines (DuckDuckGo, Bing etc..).
  • Narrow the topic and understand what people are looking for.
  • Use social media to get a better idea of what kind of people are interested in the subject.
  • Identify influencers in the subject matter.
  • Analyze and learn from the competitor’s strategies. Ex: What kind of images are on their sites, what are the highlights, etc.

After this first research, there are other tools to have more detailed information. For example Google Adwords or Google trends to have quantifiable data that can be very useful for further analysis.

After the appropriate research is done, it is easier to come up with an effective plan of action to present to the client. Identifying a niche target clientele can be key to getting good rankings on Google. Also, this research can be used to better profile the target audience.

 PRESENTATION #3:Technology, financing and social initiatives: Learning from Mur Mitoyen and Manivelle, By Simon Emmanuel Roux


This presentation by Simon Emmanuel Roux was the next session of the day. Simon explained that Espace-temps has three main projects: Mur Mitoyen, Caligram, Manivelle.

Mur Citoyen

Mur Mitoyen syndicates all the events in one place.  Anyone can post an event on it for free. There are themed calendars, territorial calendars and organizational calendars. Their business model relies on selling to big companies, the same service offered to the public for free: to have their own personalized calendar. Ex: UQAM events calendar. Each personalized calendar helps the growth of the platform. It uses funds from big companies to finance the free service for citizens.

Simon explained that the challenge is to recruit good talent to cope with the fast growth of the platform, while staying true to the company’s values. To solve this issue, they developed a new platform (Caligram) that automates some of the tasks previously done by hand and that mobilizes capital and partners.


Maville’s objective is to create the first public digital display platform. There are many problems with today’s public digital display platforms and Manivelle aims to solve this problem by creating a public platform that could be used for free by anyone. The platform would be public, interactive and content-focused. Having a human and public utility, stay accessible and be non-invasive to the public are also priorities.

PRESENTATION #4:Data and Web Tools, by Jean-Francois Belisle

The last presentation of the day was given by Jean-Francois Belisle, on data. He explained that Big Data analysis is trendy but not very used yet because it’s still a costly way to get information and requires a lot of specialized knowledge.  Smart Data and smart tools are what most companies make use of.

In Quebec, the strategy is more focused on following the best existing tools and adapting it to one’s own product and market.

Here are 13 main tools to use to analyze data:

  1. Web analytics tools
  2. Emailing tools (having a good quality list is key)
  3. SEM platforms
  4. Social media platforms (Use Klout to measure engagement on social media platforms)
  5. Marketing automation tools
  6. Voice of customer tools
  7. Customer experience management: This helps to spot inefficiencies on websites and see how customers experience your site.
  8. Google Webmaster tools: Connect with other Google tools for a more complete picture.
  9. Customer Relationship management
  10.  Tools of A/B testing (Split testing for better results) 
  11. Competitive analysis tools
  12. Social Media Monitoring tools
  13. Social Media Management tools

The key is to use all those tools intelligently to get the most out of them. Every tool provides a specific type of information and the goal of a company is to identify the most relevant tools and to use them in a smart way.