On the Agenda

Online Services: Quality Resources for Service Providers 



Historically, throughout Australia, the NGO community services and health sectors have attempted to access resources to develop materials and processes for supporting the management and governance of organisations within the sector, with varying degrees of success.

Despite the numbers of NGOs, and the scope and complexity of their work, industry development programs have often been ad hoc, with relatively little expenditure and consistency by government on developing and supporting the organisational infrastructure of the sector.

Historically, industry development programs have been in hard copy. These resources have been the most accessible and affordable forms of management and governance support, but not necessarily the most effective. Face-to-face assistance has generally been preferred by many organisations, but presents cost and accessibility problems, particularly for rural and remote organisations.

Our take

With the internet and developing technology, it has become possible to develop accessible and useful online services that have both the capacity to complement face-to-face assistance and provide affordable and accessible assistance where assistance may not be otherwise available.

Online services can also provide some unique advantages in terms of their capacity to provide:
  • information and ideas exchange between large numbers of people; and
  • cost-effective ways of producing, distributing and updating materials and resources.
Online services are emerging as well-rounded and integrated platforms that offer organisations a more tailored, responsive and interactive experience than traditional web-based software and content sites. What's more, they tend to step beyond static information and actually build an ongoing relationship with users.

A good online service is like a virtual consultant, where the professional advice is as important as providing quality information, tools and guides. This is especially important for the community services and health sectors, which include such a diverse range of organisations and service providers, many with specific needs.

Here are some of the things an online service should do for your organisation:
  • Build capacities among users.
  • Create efficiencies, save time and operational resources.
  • Develop the organisation's sustainability and self-reliance.
  • Be responsive to your particular needs.
  • Gives you access to a real person as well as a website.
The hallmark of a good online service is access to quality resources that practical, relevant and responsive to user needs. Having someone to talk to and seek advice from, not just in a troubleshooting capacity but on the content itself, makes a huge difference.

Online technology is at a stage where we can go beyond static information libraries and software applications, and offer a service built on an ongoing relationship much like a consultant or mentor. This is what inspired us to develop BNG NGO Services Online.


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