TechSoup New Zealand Conference 2017 — Sync: Tuning Communities with the Digital Age March 16-17, Auckland

Charitable organisations and prominent leaders from the community, voluntary and technology sectors across New Zealand came together for the the 2017 TechSoup New Zealand Conference, 'Sync: Tuning Communities with the Digital Age', to share new insights into the evolving digital landscape and to examine the critical role of technology in supporting communities.

The two-day event dedicated to connecting communities with the digital age, aimed to provide charitable organisations with new ideas and tools to strengthen its’ reach to communities and to highlight emerging technologies and digital practices, to help the charitable sector fulfil its’ mission in driving positive social change.

Starting with a series of full-day interactive masterclasses led by some of the best minds in technology, digital marketing and fundraising, attendees connected with sector peers to investigate new opportunities to improve organisational practices and to develop innovative solutions to address key sector challenges.

Presenting on Moving to the Cloud, Marcus Harvey, Consulting & IT Services Manager at Infoxchange, highlighted the importance of Cloud technology and provided technology decision makers with a strategic plan for implementation and best practice to help charitable organisations realise the key benefits of Cloud-based technologies. 

Ryan Jones, Principal Consultant at Refuel Digital & Marketing, brought attendees up to speed on current marketing trends during his immersive Digital Marketing Wizardry masterclass, demonstrating easy techniques to create captivating social media content through photo and video using just smartphones and available devices. 

Cathy Kirwan, Research Manager at Strategic Grants, provided organisations with the vital processes, tools and skills to effectively implement grant-seeking strategies or to build on existing fundraising efforts during the Grant-Seeking Strategy masterclass.  

The main conference was held the following day, with conference attendees treated to keynote and stream presentations from local and international speakers, covering crucial topics including social entrepreneurship, communications, community engagement, strategy, leadership and more. 

International keynote speaker, Kirk Drage of LeapSheep, who spent over a decade at Microsoft in various sales and senior marketing roles leading to his appointment as Head of Entrepreneurship & Innovation for Microsoft in Asia, discussed high impact social entrepreneurship to solve major social issues, guided by contemporary processes including Customer Experience Mapping and business model canvasing. 

Building on teachings from her Grant Seeking Strategy masterclass, Cathy Kirwan of Strategic Grants returned to advise attendees on best practice tips to effectively communicate and engage with grant-makers and major donors.  

Christi Moller, Managing Director of Xtreme Productivity and former Head of Technology at World Vision New Zealand, highlighted the importance of engaging staff in Cloud technology and shared his passion for connecting people and technology and the value it creates.

Neil Gong, Group IT Manager at Airedale Property Trust, and Strategic Consultant John Williams, partnered to deliver attendees a modern guide to deployment of cross-organisational IT projects, during the whimsically named presentation, Fantastic projects and where to find them: a guide to better IT project delivery in the digital age.

Samuelu Sefuiva, Chairperson of Generosity NZ and former Principal Advisor Race Relations to the New Zealand Human Rights Commission, discussed the benefits of an evolving and agile not-for-profit generosity ecosystem, and the growing prosperity of the Pacific region.

TechSoup New Zealand Marketing Coordinator, Mathan Allington, provided attendees practical insights and tips into effective e-mail marketing to deliver real results, and assessed future e-mail marketing practices.   

Closing keynote speaker, Ryan Jones of Refuel Digital & Marketing, guided attendees on cutting through the ‘digital noise’ to deliver real impact, and revealed emerging technologies to watch in 2017. 

Between presentations, attendees connected with conference sponsors and key technology service providers during networking opportunities and one-on-one mentoring sessions. Representatives from Microsoft New Zealand, Infoxchange, Reboot IT and Blackbaud met with attendees to discuss their technology needs and challenges and to explore solutions to their organisational requirements. 

Concluding the two-day event with a lively panel discussion, speakers and attendees reflected on the wealth of knowledge and new ideas shared, and evaluated solutions to current and future challenges faced by the charitable sector. 

The 2017 Conference allowed attendees to connect with sector peers and promoted new ways of thinking, encouraging organisations to adopt emerging cloud technologies and to explore new business models and marketing practices, ensuring communities continue to thrive in the digital age.