On December 29, 2015, Nonprofit Technology Network published an email interview with Birgit Pauli-Haack. NTEN’s content wrangler sent a set of questions. Read Birgit Pauli-Haack’s answer and the full interview here: Technology Failing Is Not Your Problem: A Case Study. Here we only want to highlight on question and invite you to comment below on your biggest tech challenge for 2016.
What has been your biggest tech challenge at your organization?
My soft answer: I generally subscribe to a theory that when technology seems to be failing, often times technology is not the problem. While it may be a good sector to blame because everyone can certainly relate, most often the underlying issue is resistance to change and the omission of leadership buy-in.
My direct answer: We need to keep our humanity when we design automated systems. The biggest challenge is to listen in order to build pathways for responses—not on an individual basis at a cocktail party, but at scale.
Example: As a data-driven organization, the biggest challenge for us has been to ask the right questions and find the answers within the vast amount of data that are already available within an organization. The data might be unstructured and unavailable in one single source, which makes the nerd in me shudder. It doesn’t mean, however, the data are not there. Based on what we know about that donor, supporter, or volunteer, we must find the right technology to tailor the content of our emails, on our website, and via the social webs toward the appropriate person. It’s not always a tech challenge, per se. Rather, building interpersonal relationships at scale is actually the biggest challenge we have.
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