Australian Not-For-Profit Technology Awards 2017

Not for Profits Leading in Technology Innovation - Pro Bono Australia »

The annual Australian Not-For-Profit Technology Awards were held at the historic Hawthorn Arts Centre on the evening of May 4th to celebrate and highlight the technology achievements of the not-for-profit sector.

Connecting Up CEO Anne Gawen said that the opportunity for Connecting Up to host the awards was a pleasure and and that the stories shared on the night were an inspiration to everyone in the room. The Awards highlight the significant contributions made by individuals and organisations through innovate technologies and is Connecting Up’s way of supporting the sector. Finalists and winners across six categories were celebrated on the night.

Social Media Campaign of the Year. This award recognised the most effective and innovative use of social media by a not-for-profit organisation to promote its’ products and/or services while having a positive impact on the sector. The winner was Melanoma Patients Australia. Melanoma Patients Australia developed a unique digital advertising campaign, ‘Melanoma Likes Me’. An online persona was created for Melanoma, making it possible for the skin cancer Instagram account and Twitter account to like, follow and comment on the social media activity of young Australians spending time in the sun. A unique algorithm found and responded to popular hashtags and geo-located images – sending millions of tailored messages to young Australians about melanoma prevention and treatment.

Asylum Seeker Resource Centre received a commendation award in this category. In 2016 the ASRC piloted a neo-telethon on World Refugee Day (20 June) – the first telethon for people seeking asylum held in Australia, and the first “Telethon” to conduct itself utilising social media platforms, with a committed Live Stream across all major social media platforms. The campaign was an overwhelming success, raising over $225,000.

Using Technology to Connect to the Community Award - Best Government Agency. This award recognised excellence in use of technology by a local, state or federal government agency to positively connect with local communities. The winner in this category was the National Disability Insurance Agency. Through their website, the NDIA provide critical information about the NDIS for people with disability, families and carers, participants, providers, and communities. The website also contains videos, stories, factsheets and publications to support people during the rollout of the scheme.

Not-For-Profit Technology Innovator of the Year. This award recognised the not-for-profit organisation which best showcased innovation through the use of technology (i.e. technology planning, effective website, apps, projects, devices) to effectively deliver programs and/or services that positively impact the community. The winner in this category was Holyoake. Holyoake is a well acknowledged not for profit organisation that provides a wide range of counselling and support services. Holyoake developed the social enterprise DRUMBEAT® - Discovering Relationships Using Music - Beliefs, Emotions, Attitudes & Thoughts. Furthermore, Holyoake created DRUMBEAT Quest® - the world’s first video game for social and emotional learning incorporating the latest neuroscience on emotional regulation and rhythm.

Using Technology to Connect to the Community Award - Best Small/Medium Enterprise (SME). This award recognised the small to medium enterprise that has made the most highly-valued contribution and best supported not-for-profit organisations through the use of technology. Two high-achieving finalists were celebrated on the night. Evolve IT Australia provide IT service support to businesses and not-for-profit organisations across Australia. Among many great initiatives, Evolve IT have a private cloud product and service that specialises in Aboriginal ICT support. Also celebrated on the night was Vollie. Vollie connect skilled Australians with not-for-profit organisations for the purpose of online skills-based volunteering with a particular focus on engaging young skilled professionals aged 25 - 34 in skilled volunteering projects.

Not-For-Profit Technology Lifetime Service Award. This award recognised and celebrates the outstanding commitment and service by an individual working in a technology-related role in the not-for-profit sector over a significant period of time. The winner was Nan Bosler from The Australian Seniors Computer Clubs Association. Mrs. Nan Bosler OAM is the volunteer President and founder of the Australian Seniors Computer Clubs Association (ASCCA). Nan was elected President upon incorporation in August 1998 and by 2001 the association was acknowledged as the national peak body for seniors and technology. Today there are around 130 ASCCA affiliated clubs, located in every state and territory throughout Australia. 

Technology Volunteer of the Year. This award recognised a volunteer who, through the use of technology, has made an exemplary voluntary contribution to the not-for-profit sector and has positively impacted the lives of others through their volunteering activities. The winner was Damian Marken, Volunteer at The Compassionate Friends Victoria. Compassionate Friends Victoria is a not-for-profit that supports parents and siblings following the death of a child. With a dated website and social media channels unable to meet the needs of both the organisation and grieving parents, Damian undertook a complete website and social media overhaul. The new website now creates a sense of calm and provides information in a simple, easy to digest manner that no longer overwhelms parents who have suffered the agony of losing a child.

Guests also heard from several key speakers on the night, provided another perspective on the role of technology in the sector. Mel Yates, Reporting and Red Tape Reduction Director for the ACNC delivered the official opening address while Mark Kulinski, Chief Executive of Community Living Australia talked about the importance of technology for people with disability.