Surya Kannoth ( )
Technology is critical for every non-profit organisation (NPO), from driving strategy to sustaining entire campaigns. However, many NPOs struggle with collecting and managing data in a structured manner, often resulting in underutilisation of data and missed opportunities for growth. Additionally, NPOs often face challenges related to funding cycles, with periods of little to no funding, making it difficult to invest in expensive information systems. This is where cloud technology can be a game-changer for NPOs.
The Tech4Good Community (T4GC), in collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Intel, recently organised an event that brought together 11 Indian non-profits to discuss the potential of cloud adoption and how it can help advance non-profit (NPO) mission goals. The event focused on how cloud technology can be used to improve operational efficiencies, optimise costs, and enhance NPOs’ mission-specific interventions.
T4GC is a women-led social change initiative that aims to demystify and institutionalise technology for non-profit organisations. The organisation has worked in collaboration with the AWS India NPO team, which is dedicated to enabling NPOs on the cloud. AWS is committed to helping non-profits of all sizes access technologies relevant to their missions.
AWS and Tech4Good Community teams led live sessions on how digitalisation can scale social change initiatives and how innovating over cloud can accelerate impact.
AWS and Intel have been helping public service organisations like educational institutes, edtechs, non-profits, government institutions, and startups to not only migrate to cloud ecosystems, but to also manage legacy technologies on cloud, along with privacy, security, and data sovereignty across sectors.
Their recent initiative, the Bharat Innovator Series, aims to create a dialogue between founders, innovators, policymakers, and thought leaders on a common platform to discuss technology opportunities, identify challenges, and find synergies for the future. The series features webinars, podcasts, and events that highlight the work of Indian innovators across various fields.
Achieving scale and reaching goals
The event was initiated by Pranjali Khare, BD Manager – NPO (Public sector – India), AWS, who talked about how the tech giant is making cloud technology relevant for NPOs.
AWS is committed to helping nonprofits of all sizes to access technologies that are relevant to their missions, functioning not just as their tech backbone but scaling along with them to reach their vision goals faster and more effectively.
Taking the session forward, Sujai J, Solution Architect – NPOs, AWS spoke about the myths around cloud, how cloud technology can deliver more value, and elaborated on AWS engagements with NPOs in wildlife conservation, women empowerment, livelihood development, and more.
He addressed apprehensions around cloud for NPOs that were typically about losing control on data over the cloud and organisations needing large IT teams to manage workloads over the cloud. Sujai talked about how everyone is on the cloud one way or another – emails, sheets, calendars, making the point that being on the cloud is inevitable in today’s time and age.
Moreover, storing data on the cloud (depending on the provider) can mean more security, citing an example of losing data in floods.
Sujai also talked about how teams have traditionally taken pride in complicated systems. Cloud,meanwhile, doesn’t require coding or programming knowledge, with everything available on the console. This shows that organisations would not need complicated or large IT teams to manage workloads.
The event then progressed to the one-on-one Tech Clinics with NPOs in attendance. These clinics were driven by AWS and the T4GC team jointly, to be followed up with touchpoints from the T4GC team. These clinics are an innovation by T4GC to make cloud relevant to NPO missions and increase adaptability.
Keeping data safe and secure
NPOs often struggle with irregular funding cycles, which means traditional information systems can often remain underutilised.
Cloud technology allows NPOs to sign up on a subscription basis. Many NPOs that collect data manually and in an unstructured manner cannot build the right insights over it to scale. Further, they risk losing it to disasters or calamities.
Data is critical for every NPO – from driving strategy to sustaining entire campaigns. Data underpins every process and engagement. It becomes crucial for organisations to not only gather data responsibly but also have a way to access, share, and draw insights from the data securely. Cloud enables this for NPOs.
Keeping this in context, AWS showcased two powerful cloud-based solutions for nonprofits – Amazon Data Lake and LightSail. These solutions manage everything, from web hosting and running applications to storing and running analytics on large databases. Amazon Data Lake also provides a powerful backup and recovery system, ensuring that non-profits never lose their valuable data.
Guruprakash Sekar and Chandru M from the T4GC team gave technical insights for NPOs on leveraging cloud capabilities for their interventions and day-to-day reporting.
The T4GC team is working with AWS to build on this engagement and deliver cloud value proposition to NPOs. NPOs address pressing global challenges, and cloud is a journey that accelerates innovation and enhances impact for them.
Debunking myths and embracing the benefits of cloud computing for non-profits
Non-profits face unique challenges in managing and utilising data effectively. With irregular funding cycles and a need to constantly collaborate with remote teams, traditional information systems can often remain underutilised or be lost to disasters or calamities.
Cloud computing offers a solution to these problems, but there are still many misconceptions about its use. One common myth is that storing data on the cloud is less secure and offers less control.
Sujai debunked this myth by pointing out that most organisations are already using cloud services in some way, and storing data on the cloud can actually provide more security, especially in the case of disasters.
Another myth is that the cloud is only useful for applications that an organisation already uses. However, there are numerous software providers who host cloud services like Amazon Web Services, and having a centralised cloud can be more cost-effective than having numerous copies of data.
Non-profits may also believe that they need a large IT team to utilise cloud services, but the opposite is true. Cloud services require zero coding or programming knowledge and everything is managed through a console, making it accessible to everyone on the team.
Cloud computing also offers many benefits to non-profits, such as easy access to information through a central web-based interface and automatic synchronisation of files, allowing for easy collaboration among remote teams. Additionally, cloud services can be subscribed to on a monthly basis, which is ideal for organisations with irregular funding cycles. By debunking common myths and embracing the power of cloud services, non-profits can more effectively manage their data and achieve their mission goals.