Digital Change in Social Organizations

With “Learning. Understanding. Networking.” the Digitize Non-Profits Initiative presents their second study on the topic of „Digitization and Non-Profits“.

Hardly any other topic is currently as polarizing in the third sector as that of digitization. On the one hand, there is fear of the displacement of direct communication and the weakening of human relationships. On the other hand, there is hope that digital projects will finally provide the big lever for real impact and unlimited scalability. It's no surprise that digitization is taking up more and more space in debates in the social sector, where it is met with great response. The Digitize Non-Profit Initiative's first study on "Digitization in Non-Profit Organizations," launched in spring 2017, was a foundational step in analyzing and surveying the status quo.

The new, second study "Learning. Understand. Networking." builds on these findings. Dr. Peter Kreutter, Director of the WHU Foundation and one of the three authors, explains: "Our aim was to provide a more comprehensive insight into concrete practical examples and implementation experiences in digitization projects than in the first study. Furthermore, it was important for us to explore the question of how established organizations in particular can address and successfully manage digital transformation." The examples presented come from, among others, apeiros, Bundesverband Deutscher Stiftungen, Deutscher Caritasverband, DRK-Wohlfahrt, Landessportbund Niedersachsen, Stiftung Haus der kleinen Forscher and Teach First.

Dr. Andreas Stiehler (lead analyst and author of the study, fibonacci & friends) emphasizes that there is no script according to which digital transformation can be shaped. However, the experiences of the interview partners could be summarized in three guiding principles as an orientation aid for digital initiatives: "(I) Digitization is a learning process. (II) Understanding one's own organization is essential. (III) Togetherness is crucial: Digitization builds on networking!"

The PDF version of "Learning. Understand. Networking. Perspectives on Digital Transformation in Established Social Organizations" can be downloaded here. For further information and questions, please contact Dr. Peter Kreutter.