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10 tips for donors (from someone working on the ground)

I work at the bottom of the development food chain, on the ground where people benefit from the money that donors give. Some days I feel sorry for the donors because I see their money being wasted, stolen or misused. On other days I am frustrated by donor policies which make it very difficult to run ... Read More »

5 questions to ask before starting an innovation project

Light bulb on paper

There has been a proliferation of innovation-specific development funds in recent years, a trend that seems to have spread from the business world to the development / aid sector. Innovation has an important place in development, and in my experience the most effective innovation projects are the ones that make ... Read More »

5 reasons your local NGO needs a website

Wireframe

Investing time and money into a website is a simple decision for a lot of organisations around the world, including NGOs based in high income economies (e.g. USA, UK, Australia, etc.). The benefits are less clear for organisations in low income countries, such as Malawi, where the costs of Internet ... Read More »

How to improve processes with swim lane diagrams

Sticky notes on wall

Swim lane diagrams (also called ‘Rummler-Brache Diagrams’ and ‘Cross-Functional Flowcharts’) are a great way to break-down a process and visualise its steps. You can use this method to explore inefficiencies in a process and make improvements. The diagrams are also useful for communicating a process in chart-form to other people ... Read More »

Design new products or services using the Human-Centered Design Toolkit

Update: IDEO and +Acumen are partnering to offer a free online course on Human-Centered Design for Social Innovation Last year I did a free design course from the University of Pennsylvania. The course wasn’t specifically for international development – most of the practical exercises were on designing a new type of ice-cream scoop. ... Read More »

Collecting data on smartphones and tablets with Device Magic

Checking phone

Your organisation probably uses forms, a whole bunch of them. Forms for leave requests, forms for acquisition requests, forms for inventory stocktake, baseline survey forms, satisfaction surveys, etc. Basically… a whole lot of forms and surveys and the majority of them are likely to be paper-based. A number of these ... Read More »

Sending Email Newsletters with MailChimp

Computer showing email

Say you want to send out a regular email newsletter or some ad hoc email updates to a bunch of people. It could be emails to people that have made individual donations to your project. It could be an email campaign promoting family planning services in a target country. It ... Read More »

How to make a simple GPS map of your project

Making a map of your project has many benefits. It can help people in other countries (like donors) understand exactly where your project is located. It can help you make better decisions on logistics, and you can use it display the project results for different target areas. These days, making ... Read More »

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