Charitable organisations and leaders from the community and technology sectors gathered to celebrate the very best in technology innovation and service excellence in the New Zealand charity sector at the inaugural New Zealand Charities Technology Awards Dinner on May 16 at the Waipuna Hotel and Conference Centre, Auckland.
Hosted by TechSoup New Zealand, the Awards Dinner was attended by over 90 guests including finalists and key supporters and sponsors of the inaugural awards – Microsoft, Google, Xtreme Productivity, Strategic Grants, Blackbaud and RebootIT. Special guest, the Honourable Minister Alfred Ngaro, Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, delivered an inspiring opening address, congratulating the finalists on their outstanding technology achievements and praising them on their unwavering commitment in supporting New Zealand communities and working to strengthen the charitable sector through technology.
Special guests also included members of the judging panel, Volunteering New Zealand Chief Executive, Scott Miller, Microsoft New Zealand Philanthropy Lead, Belinda Gorman, and New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services Executive Officer, Trevor McGlinchey.
A total of 6 award categories were presented on the night – Strategic Grants Technology Volunteer of the Year, Google Technology Service in the Charitable Sector - Lifetime Service Award, Xtreme Productivity Technology Innovator of the Year, Blackbaud Best Social Media Campaign of the Year, Microsoft Best Government Agency, and Reboot IT Best Small to Medium Enterprise.
Tim Wylie from Volunteering Auckland took home the Strategic Grants Technology Volunteer of the Year award, recognised for his work in developing an online platform enabling people to connect to their community through voluntary opportunities, with the number of people able to access voluntary opportunities across Auckland increasing from 1,600 to 4,500 since 2013.
Louise Lum of Community Comms Collective was acknowledged with a commendation award for her technology volunteering, creating a free website usability assessment tool for community organisations across New Zealand, with key beneficiaries including the likes of Youthline, Pregnancy Help, Parkinsons NZ, and Alzheimers New Zealand.
The Google Lifetime Service Award for Technology Service in the Charitable Sector was awarded to Dermatologist Dr. Amanda Oakley, Founder and Editor in Chief of DermNet New Zealand (dermnetnz.org), a website dedicated to skin conditions and their treatment. Maintained by Dermatologists and Health Professionals, and now accessed by over 2 million people around the world each month, all pages are written in ‘plain English’ with a translation app to enable reading in 100+ languages.
Figure.NZ were presented with the Xtreme Productivity Technology Innovator of the Year award for their innovative data solution ‘Creating a data democracy’ – taking New Zealand’s dispersed, disparate, non-personal data, and standardizing it into useful formats, all in one centralised location accessible to the public.
Recognised for their extensive efforts in assisting charities to comply with the new legislative requirements for financial reporting, Charities Services were crowned as the Microsoft Best Government Agency award – delivering road shows in 2013-2015 during the standards’ development to 9,000 individuals, and partnering with the External Reporting Board (XRB) in 2016 to deliver a webinar to over 2000 people.
SAFE, a national animal rights organisation actively involved in campaigns to protect the welfare of all animals, won the Blackbaud Social Media Campaign of the Year award for their integrated multi-media campaign to connect people with the realities of animal agriculture, challenging beliefs and encouraging people to stop animal cruelty. A single Facebook dairy video attracted over 17 million video views and achieving over 32 million ‘reach’.
Safeguarding Children Initiative claimed the final award on the night, Reboot IT Best Small to Medium Enterprise, for their Child Protection Elearning platform. The platform provides training for those who work with children and the community to help detect abuse and neglect, understand the impact of abuse and what to do if they are concerned – a first of its kind in New Zealand and free to all users.
The Whanganui Learning Centre Trust was acknowledged with a commendation award for their critical support to the lower socio-economic and multi-cultural needs of Whanganui through key technology programs. Partnering with Microsoft, the Trust was launched as the first ‘Technology Centre’ in New Zealand, delivering technology programming initiatives to the community since 1975, including ‘Stepping UP’ and ‘Computers in Homes’.
The inaugural New Zealand Charities Technology Awards showcased not only the outstanding technology achievements of New Zealand charitable organisations and individuals but also the critical importance of the charitable sector in solving key social challenges and working to protect and preserve New Zealand communities and their way of life.