2016 Connecting Up Conference Wrap Up

The much anticipated 2016 Connecting Up Conference recently saw delegates from across the NFP sector, converge on the Hawthorn Arts centre in Melbourne. With the themes of Connect, Innovate and Change, the conference paid tribute to the industry with the presentation of the Australian NFP Technology Awards.

Come Together

The three day event began with a series of masterclasses aimed at empowering organisations to tackle the many challenges presently being faced by the sector. Calxa’s Mick Devine shared centre stage with Chris McCormack from MYOB – the collaborative approach delivered a presentation on how to achieve financial sustainability. Ryan Jones representing hosts, Connecting Up, also added to the conversation discussing digital marketing in the modern NFP environment. Whilst the third masterclass gave participants the resources to prepare an inclusive technology plan looking into the future.

Day two kicked off with a series of speakers and workshops aimed at developing an awareness of technologies within the sector and fostering the concept of stepping beyond traditionally held beliefs. Concentrating on utilising a technological approach to improving client experiences, speakers Laura Simpson from Rural Housing Networks and Matt Walton from Infoxchange, both spoke on the importance of ensuring focus concentrated on the concept of client awareness and service. The challenges being faced in terms of funding cuts now requiring a greater need for ICT planning and expenditure to ensure customer satisfaction.

Other topics for the day centred on building systems that support the NFP ideal such as dealing with retention of volunteers and implementing IT solutions that negotiate the often tricky legal situations as funding moves towards a more end user focus.

A Time to Shine

After a packed day of presentations and workshops, the Arts Centre was transformed as the Connecting Up team hosted the Australian NFP Technology Awards.

With 8 awards given away, it had to be said that the sector itself came away the big winner, with all finalists in the respective categories sharing the industry limelight together. Shining brightly amongst this group, Calxa picked up the Microsoft “Using Technology to Connect to the Community Award”.

NFP Award Winners from CalxaCalxa’s CEO Mick Devine and NDIS Specialist Kristian Schader with the award.

Speaking after the awards, Calxa CEO Mick Devine acknowledged pride in being recognised by Microsoft and credited the whole Calxa team for the effort. Amongst the winners on the night were Barnardos Australia, Motor Neuron Disease Australia, Manjimup Community Centre, Good 360 Australia and Daniel Billing from the Indigenous Reading project.

Let there be Light….

As the final day dawned, one highlighted aspect of the conference focused around the generational differences throughout the sector and how this affected “digital literacy”. With the big move towards social media marketing and the use of the digital medium, traditional perspectives are being challenged and organisations are actively seeking to be part of the new wave as the industry transitions into the digital age.

After 3 days of intense discussion and conceptual innovation, the Conference started to wind down – the lively turnout of delegates, a fitting tribute to the magnificent effort of the Connecting Up crew. No doubt achieving the idea of Connect, Innovate and Change.