Always On the Move: Helping Korean Nonprofits Stay Mobile

Day in and day out, social workers in Korea have to shuttle between multiple places, going from their administrative duties at the office to visiting clients in their homes or organisations. Although this is an integral part of the job, such a frequent travelling routine is time-consuming, and poorly utilises precious resources.

The solution? Mobile working.

“Social workers often have to travel out of their office, which can make completing administrative work difficult,” said SukWoo Ko, Social Workers’ Rights Manager of the Korean Association of Social Workers (KASW). “Even when at the office, I have to tend to visitors who drop by the centre. Therefore, making sure that my time is spent productively, even as I commute and travel, is essential.”

Thanks to rapid technological advances, mobile working is now a possibility for many social workers, although adopting these technologies might prove difficult to access for some nonprofits due to the expense. This is why Microsoft is working with TechSoup Asia to set up a new programme for Korea’s nonprofits: TechSoup Korea, which will help these organisations cope with the cost of implementing mobile working.

Through TechSoup Korea, nonprofits can receive software donations from Microsoft and Box to enhance their daily operations.

Introduced recently during Microsoft Korea’s NGO Cloud Day, TechSoup Korea and the software donation scheme were met with much excitement. The concept works by providing nonprofits with software donations from Microsoft and cloud storage provider, Box. Solutions such as the Microsoft Windows operating system, Microsoft Office Suite and even Windows servers are part of the programme. Additionally, nonprofits can apply for a special Microsoft Office365 subscription plan, which allows them to purchase the software at a lower price.

TechSoup Korea was introduced during NGO Cloud Day, an event aimed at empowering and fostering greater partnerships among nonprofits.

“We plan to work with Refurbish, a Korean hardware company, to supply nonprofits with refurbished computers and other devices as well,” said Jae Heung Lee, who is working in the NPO IT Support Center for TechSoup. “We realised that many nonprofits were originally deterred from implementing mobile working for their staff due to the high cost of the devices and hardware that is needed to run the software. With this move, nonprofits will be able to get the hardware they need at a highly discounted rate.”

SukWoo Ko is optimistic that the benefits of TechSoup Korea will be well-received. “On top of ensuring that I can work smoothly even when out of the office, the cloud services that TechSoup provides will keep sensitive information secure, by only providing the right people with access.”

Since its launch a few months ago, TechSoup Korea has gained traction with local nonprofits, and is now finalising plans to extend its reach. “We plan to organise some workshops in the future, so that nonprofits can use their Microsoft products even more effectively,” said Jae Heung Lee. To maintain training continuity, he also intends to send out regular newsletters tailored to the nonprofits. This will help expand on the topics that they’ve learnt from the workshops.


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