This is part of a series of articles where nonprofit IT professionals share with us how technology has enhanced operations where they work.
Despite only having 33 full-time employees, the Korean Association of Social Workers (KASW) serves 630,000 social workers in South Korea. With the aim of improving the quality of the social work profession, KASW works to influence government legislation that protects the rights of social workers. It also provides social workers with resources to carry out their work more effectively and to deepen their expertise. Such support includes providing updates on policy changes and issues via weekly updates and a monthly magazine, and offering specialised training, such as social work in military settings and in caring for North Korean defectors.
KASW IT manager Yong Deuk Park wears many hats. Besides taking on the role of deputy manager of the personnel licensing division, he also contributes articles on IT in social work to the organisation’s monthly magazine. Last year, he developed an operational model for a shared platform where social workers can promote online tools for collaborative work.
Even outside of the job, Yong Deuk remains highly active in promoting IT to enhance nonprofit work through his involvement in several groups pursuing this subject and serving as Secretary General of the Association of Correctional Social Workers.
What is your role at KASW?
I manage KASW’s computing assets, our multiple websites and the organisation’s computing system that includes our database of social welfare workers. I also manage our personnel licensing system, issuing social welfare worker licenses and managing registration for their on-the-job training.
How is Microsoft involved in your organisation?
We’ve been working with Microsoft Korea to bring the latest information on new IT trends and skills training to our members. Knowing how to get the most out of the software you use daily can help you get more things done more easily, so we’ve been holding training sessions on Microsoft software, especially Word, PowerPoint and Excel.
What has technology done for your organisation or for your service delivery to beneficiaries?
Cloud services have helped improve our operations and efficiency. We use OneDrive to keep records and documents, and Office 365 to work anywhere, any time. Now, we have faster and easier access to documents that require multiple authors. Collaboration with other colleagues—even if we are in different locations—has become more convenient.
Since we work with relatively small budgets, using these services helps us save on IT infrastructure costs since we don’t need our own servers in the office. So now, we can focus our finances on our core mission: improving the social work profession to benefit social workers and their clients.
Can you describe some of the more memorable collaborations KASW has had with Microsoft Korea?
NGO Cloud Day is definitely one of them. We hold this event two to three times each year. So far, we’ve discussed how cloud computing can improve work in nonprofits and how nonprofits can maximise Microsoft’s software donation programme. Each event includes training sessions for using programs such as OneDrive and OneNote.
Tell us about the NGO Cloud Computing Group.
It is a collection of around a dozen social workers from nonprofits who want to share ideas on how IT can change the way the sector works. This group holds regular meetings at Microsoft Korea’s offices. Not only can members share their own experiences in utilising IT in their work and network with each other, but they can also get advice and gain insights from the Microsoft experts in attendance. As advocates of NGO Cloud Day, and as part of the online NGO/NPO community, the NGO Cloud Computing Group encourages other organisations to migrate to Microsoft Cloud services.
Due to his commitment to the nonprofit sector and sharing his IT expertise, it is easy to see why Yong Deuk was recognised for his dedication and innovative use of IT at work by the Ministry of Health and Welfare. In 2012, Yong Deuk was presented with an award for being the most outstanding social worker of the year.
Congratulations—and keep up the great work!