MissionBox - Online Connectivity in the Charity Sector

29 August 2017 | By Cause4 staff

2017 saw the launch of a new website, MissionBox, which aims to connect people and organisations working in the charity sector.

The website highlights the adventurous steps that are being made to bring charitable work further into the online world. Given its launch in March this year, I wanted to learn more about MissionBox, online connectivity in the charity sector and what its future may look like.

Is MissionBox helpful?

MissionBox offers the opportunity for those in the charity sector to:

  • Connect: building allies, organisational networks and business community networks within the non-profit sector.
  • Learn: providing quality research and articles.
  • Share: engaging individuals and organisations in the sector, allowing them to share original stories of success.
  • Shine: spotlighting and showcasing outstanding people and organisations.

This structure encourages charities to bring a network of people and knowledge together to achieve their mission, which targets the website’s aim of preventing charities from working in isolation. This collaborative approach is often the most effective, especially ‘when it can lead to significant growth for an organisation in terms of people helped, or income, and when it deepens the positive impact that an organisation makes on its clients.’[1]

MissionBox encourages users to share their successes, giving others more broad ideas for charitable projects. On more personal and competitive topics, such as fundraising, MissionBox takes the lead and shares articles and tips for success, rather than expecting individuals in the charity sector to come forward and indicate how they were able to raise funds themselves – an unlikely reality in a sector where charities are applying to the same, limited, pots of money.

Do online connections add value?

Value in the charity sector can sometimes be hard to delineate; most would consider the impact of charitable projects to be the greatest measure of a project – but impact means different things to different people, and organisations will disagree about their prioritisation of hard or soft outcomes.[2]

MissionBox’s strength lies in the fact that it has combined benefits, reflecting the variety of outcomes that a charitable project may have – such as the number of people reached, or a significant change in the provision of a service. Online connections that companies such as MissionBox are helping to foster have the potential to change the scope and impact of charitable projects, as the content that is shared helps charitable work to become more transparent, efficient and effective.

Connecting people in the charity sector goes beyond an organisational level

MissionBox is forming a part of an expanding online community which is reaching beyond just those that are working in the charity sector. Online platforms such as Speed Volunteering and Cause Corps are making it easier for people to commit to volunteering.

Apps are also bringing out our charitable spirit, with the Be My Eyes app gaining over 500,000 sighted users, to support its partially sighted users via a video link. This is an important indication of the extraordinary power for good in the online world, something that is, and should be increasingly appreciated.

In summary, online connections are valuable, and do appear to be growing in their impact and scale. I am positive about the future that charities can experience using online connections. On an individual level, I think that we should be proactive, using technology to help us bring about the change we want to see in the charity world.

Cause4 would love to know your thoughts about Missionbox. Do you think it is important or valuable? Please comment below or tweet us with your thoughts!

 

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/voluntary-sector-network/2013/jan/23/collaboration-important-charities

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/voluntary-sector-network/2011/mar/17/measuring-impact-work

Further reading:

https://www.theguardian.com/voluntary-sector-network/2015/mar/11/apps-encouraging-volunteers-charity

https://www.theguardian.com/voluntary-sector-network/2014/jun/13/quick-guide-to-speed-volunteering

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