M: You Can’t Manage What You Don’t Measure

There is no better advice than this. Organisations need to be driven by their own data. And this data should be used to assess not only your impact (through something like Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning), but also your organisational efficiency, and your strategy implementation (for example your funding KPIs). And these learnings need to be […]

L: Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems: Thinking About Exchange

Linked to some of the discussions about how to collaborate under Tip G, an often under-utilised strategy for civic technology organisations is thinking about exchange and other forms of non monetary donation (no doubt because your most significant costs tend to be human resources). Thinking about how the financial burden on your core costs can […]

K: Clients and Users are not the Same Thing

Civic technology which seeks to create social impact in the traditional funding landscape experiences unique forms of complexity in the design process. One such form of complexity is that frequently the clients for a civic technology project are often not the same as the users. This must obviously be considered in user-centred design, and when […]

J: What’s Your Secret Sauce?

Always keep in mind what your organisation’s particular value-add is. When thinking about defining this, don’t focus only on what you do, but on how you do it. Let this guide your communications, but also your decision-making on revenue activities. Being very conscious of your own value, often makes it easier to negotiate in collaborations […]

I: Diversify…Somewhat

Many civic technology organisations will have heard the call to diversify income streams. As seen in the various considerations of risk, this is a really important strategy for ensuring that you are less reliant on single entities whose priorities or strategies may change, and also less politically vulnerable – creating abetter balance of power between […]

H: The Open-Source Conundrum: How to derive value from non-proprietary assets

Many civic technology organisations are embedded in the open movement, though this is not necessarily an innate feature of such entities. An interesting consideration in this regard is how a civic technology entity can create business models around non-proprietary data or even non-proprietary code. Each organisation will have to decide whether to what extent they […]

G: Pay it Forward: Manifesting Equality in Grant Funding

As some of the excellent work on the non-profit industrial complex highlights, civil society organisations require collaboration between organisations that break down silos, and this need not be money-based. There are many ways collaboration between organisations can allow for cross-subsidisation of activities,making them more cost-efficient, and less donor reliant. Collaborations between civil society organisations through […]

F: Budget for the Future

Sustainability needs to be in your budget line items. Particularly given the challenges to the types of funds available and limitations to the use of those funds, you should specifically allocate line items that can foster your sustainability. For-profit entities do this through the accumulation of profit, and non-profits should do this through the accumulation […]

E: Tech is Sexy…For Now

Across funder types, many are still very excited about the potential for technology – both for investment and impact. However, this opportunity may not be a permanent window. As technology becomes mainstream and embedded within individual institutions, the required skills are becoming more normalised. This means leveraging the opportunity while you still can, but also […]

D: Unpacking the Risk of Path Deviation

You can look at path deviation as an area of risk which combines reputational and impact risk. Pretty much all funding partnerships present the risk of deviating an organisation from its own strategic path,as it focuses on the outputs for a project that may not strictly align with your own strategy. As noted, “Business goals […]