Ellis Jones at Connecting Up Conference 2013.

 As we prepare for the National Broadband Network roll-out, technology is the hot topic on everyone’s agenda. (Hopefully), in the not too distant future, the introduction of the NBN will change the way Australians interact with each other and with the companies and organisations they associate with.

The Connecting Up Conference was held from 15th – 17th May in Surfer’s Paradise. With the theme of ‘Navigating not-for-profits in the new world’, the 2013 conference aimed to guide not-for-profits through new tools and concepts in the world of technology, social media and digital marketing to help them continue to innovate.

Ellis Jones’ Principal, Rhod, was invited to co-present a break-out session with COTA Queensland’s Mark Tucker-Evans. Their presentation was entitled ‘Challenging stereotypes through online engagement’ and discussed (mis)perceptions of older people and the notion that they aren’t interested in or using the internet to stay connected to family, friends and the outside world.

The talk relates to the topic of NFPs in the new world by providing insights into the challenges faced by organisations.

Some of today’s challenges are:

  • Costs are higher
  • Budgets are smaller
  • The communications channels that need to be managed and used to talk to members, politicians, customers, has exponentially grown and become more complex than ever
  • Many orgs are using social media and web technologies such as apps for iPad or iPhone, but digital communication or creation of digital technologies is often not a dedicated resource within non-profits.

To help provide a solution to some of these challenges, Rhod cites other cases where social media use has been a highly effective platform for engagement, enabling participation in activities and affecting changes in behaviour for the positive.

The rate of adoption of new technologies is rapidly increasing, new social media platforms arise and quickly gather large active user bases made up of NFPs stakeholders.

Online behaviour can change immensely in just 12 months:

  • Since last year, Facebook’s 800 million user base has hit the 1 billion mark.
  • Australians have the second-highest per capita uptake of smartphones in the world.
  • 1 in 5 older Australians used a tablet device in 2012 compared with 1 in 50 just a year earlier.

Rhod then used the example of how older people are now online, taking the opportunity to back this up with slides from a 2011 research collaboration project conducted between COTA Victoria and Ellis Jones entitled ‘Older Victorians Online’.

Take a look at the entire presentation below.