This paper presents an analysis of Passerelles Numerique, a non-profit organization with headquarters in France. The role of Passerelles Numerique is to provide information technology (IT) training to talented young people who are not able to access higher education due to lack resources. The organization established its first training centre in Cambodia in 2005 and later expanded its services to Vietnam and Philippines. The organization has achieved great success in its mission since establishment. This paper analyzes the performance of Passerelles Numerique in four management areas. First, it evaluates how the organization’s human resource management (HRM) has performed in addressing the challenges of motivating workers and engaging volunteers. Secondly, it highlights and evaluates sources of funds for Passerelles Numerique. The effectiveness of the organization’s marketing and branding strategies is also evaluated. As well, the paper examines the success of the organization in developing partnerships and in adhering to corporate social responsibility (CSR) principles. Lastly, it examines the role of the organization in relation to the government. After evaluating the various management areas, the paper presents a SWOT analysis of the organization. As it will be noted, good performance of the organization in most management areas as well as other strengths have highly contributed to its success. However, the growth of the organization may be limited by lack of enough resources and overreliance on donations. Vulnerability to economic crisis and increase in government regulations are among the threats that affect the growth of the organization. Passerelles Numerique can achieve much more success further by improving the current marketing and funding strategies.
Table of Contents
- Overview of Passerelles Numerique
- HRM challenges: Motivating staff and Engaging with Volunteers
- Engaging Volunteers
- Financing and Fund Raising
- Marketing and the Brand
- Partnerships, Corporate Social Responsibility and Government Interface
- Government Interface
- SWOT Analysis
- Conclusion and Recommendations
Non-profit organizations play a great role in providing public goods and services that the private and the public sectors do not have inclination, information or enough time to provide. As Stavrou-Costea (2005) explains, non-profit organizations have played a great role in advocating for a variety of community, social, ethnic, environmental and political interests and concerns. They have been actively involved in community building and have contributed immensely to the cultural and social life of the society. However, non-profit organizations encounter several challenges in the course of their operations. To start with, human resources (HR) managers have to facilitate the performance of the workers, who are in most cases lowly paid in comparison with workers in profit-oriented organizations. As such, HR managers have to establish ways of motivating them. Secondly, the managers have to establish ways of engaging volunteers. Ineffective management of volunteers may lead to shoddy work or frustrations for the volunteers and the managers (Burke & Cooper, 2008).
Success in non-profit organizations can be enhanced through adopting effective marketing and branding strategies. The success of a non-profit organization can also be enhanced through establishing useful strategic partnerships, embracing CSR principles and establishing good relationships with governments (Burke & Cooper, 2008). This paper presents an analysis of Passerelles Numerique Organization, a French non-profit organization. The paper analyzes Passerelles Numerique in relation to four management areas, namely, HRM challenge in motivating workers and attracting volunteers; financing and fundraising; marketing and branding; and Partnerships, CSR and government interface. Lastly, a SWOT analysis of the organization is presented.
Overview of Passerelles Numerique
Passerelles Numerique opened the first training centre in 2005 in Phnom-Penh, Cambodia, which enrolled a batch of 25 students. However, it was licensed by the French government to carry out its operations in 2006 (Passerelles Numerique, 2013). The organization proceeded to open new training centers in Cambodia, Vietnam and Philippines. Subsequently, it was registered as an international non-governmental organization with the respective governments of the countries. In 2008, Passerelles Numerique was recognized by the government of France as a charity organization and subsequently, it started receiving funding in form of grants from French residents.
The key role of Passerelles Numerique is to provide IT training for young people who are unable to access higher education due to lack of funds or resources (Passerelles Numerique, 2013). In Cambodia, for instance, only 20,000 out of 300,000 children who are born each year study up to university level (Passerelles Numerique, 2013). Thus, Passerelles Numerique offers a chance for the children who are unable to access higher education to develop their talents through undertaking training courses that help to improve their IT skills. In doing so, Passerelles Numerique aims to support the children to step up into skilled employment.
By 2012, 827 students had completed training at the first training centre that was established in 2005 in Cambodia. Out of this number, 92% stepped into skilled employment within two months after graduation. In Philippine, 63 students completed their studies between 2009 and 2012. According to Passerelles Numerique (2013), all of them found qualified jobs within two months after completing their studies. In Vietnam, 27 students out of the first batch comprising of 28 students graduated in October 2012. According to Passerelles Numerique (2013), 23 of the students found qualified jobs within two months after graduation. Generally, it is clear that Passerelles Numerique has achieved much success in realizing its set goals since establishment of the first training centre in 2005.
HRM challenges: Motivating staff and Engaging with Volunteers
There are numerous challenges that are faced by human resource managers for non-profit organizations in the course of undertaking their duties. One of the key challenges encountered is the need to establish ways of motivating workers. Another key challenge for HR managers is to establish an effective way of engaging volunteers.
Motivation of workers is one of the major aspects that influence the performance of non-profit organizations. Motivation generally refers to a force that energizes, directs and sustains an individual in action. In this context, motivation can be described as encompassing the drivers that compel workers to want to contribute more towards the achievement of team and organizational objectives. The term “motivation” may also refer to how an individual’s behavior and performance within an organization is energized and directed towards the attainment of organizational goals (Ankli & Palliam, 2012).
Passerelles Numerique motivates workers by giving them autonomy to carry out the assigned tasks and by encouraging and giving them freedom to come up with and promote new ideas. Any idea that is found to be beneficial is adopted by the organization. As Beswick (2007) explain, giving workers autonomy, authority, encouragement and trust to accomplish the assigned tasks helps to boost their morale and encourages them to work harder. Secondly, Passerelles Numerique motivates workers by thanking them and by providing rewards such as time off, bonuses and special assignments in recognition for excellent performance (Passerelles Numerique, 2013). As Garg and Rastogi (2006) explain, such rewards can highly motivate workers especially if they are distributed fairly without giving favors to some workers. As noted earlier, the Passerelles Numerique has achieved significant success since its establishment. AS Islam and Ismail (2008) explain, workers feel good when they deliver quality work within the scheduled time and when an organization succeeds in achieving the set goals. According to Islam and Ismail (2008), the good feelings enhance workers’ satisfaction and drive and propel them to work harder. Therefore, the success of Passerelles Numerique encourages workers by giving them intrinsic rewards.
HR managers for non-profit organizations usually deal with volunteers who can either be rewarding or frustrating. Thus, management of volunteers is a tricky task. Volunteers are individuals who perform work for a non-profit organization but are not paid. Despite this, they have to be managed and monitored like other workers, or they may end up doing shoddy job (Briggs, Peterson & Gregory, 2010; Gazley, 2009; Akingbola, 2006). Most non-profit organizations operate on limited budget and thus, volunteers usually make up the majority of those who carry out daily tasks. For a non-profit organization to be successful, HR department must establish way of enforcing the job that volunteers are supposed to do and at the same time, encourage and keep them happy (Briggs, Peterson & Gregory, 2010; Cuskelly et al, 2006).
HR manager in Passerelles Numerique approaches the challenge of volunteer management in various ways. Before a volunteer takes up a job, the manager establishes whether the volunteer has clear knowledge or idea of the task that he/she is supposed to undertake. If not, he provides the volunteer with a clear description of the job and objectives to be met (Passerelles Numerique, 2013). Secondly, he assesses whether the volunteer is able to do the job. If not, he finds another job that can be done by the volunteer. In addition, he makes a follow up to ensure that the volunteer is physically and mentally able to carry out the task. To avoid frustrating them, the manager ensures that the volunteers have all tools needed to undertake tasks. He motivates the volunteers by thanking them and where necessary, giving them rewards. Lastly, he tries to foster a conducive environment in which volunteers enjoy the experience. This is achieved, for instance, through avoiding dumping load of work or using of harsh words on volunteers (Passerelles Numerique, 2013). Generally, the HR manager in Passerelles Numerique enforces the volunteers to carry out tasks efficiently and at the same time, he motivates them and avoids discouraging them. The effective way of engaging the volunteers has contributed to the success of the organization.
Financing and Fund Raising
Non-profit organizations largely finance their day-to-day operations and programs using contributions from outside sources. The survival of most non-profit organizations is dependent on effective fundraising (Seaman & Young, 2010). Traditionally, non-profit organizations have highly been relying on funds raised from foundations, large granting institutions, individual donors, government sources, religious organizations and fundraising events (Kelly & Lewis, 2010; Smith, 2008; Kensinger & Crawford, 2010; Wolf, 2009). Non-profit organizations can also finance their programs and operations using income derived from own business ventures. During the recent global financial crises that peaked in 2008, sources of donation for non-profit organizations in most parts of the world dried up and became unreliable (Kensinger & Crawford, 2010). As a result, non-profit organizations realized the importance of developing earned income ventures that would provide income to support their programs and operations during tough times. Although such ventures may not provide significant contributions to most non-profit organizations, they can form a reliable source of income that can help to consistently sustain their operations (Kelly & Lewis, 2010).
Currently, the greatest proportion of Passerelles Numerique’s income (33%) comes from companies’ sponsorship. Other sources of funding for the organization include individual foundations (31%), public subsidies (12%), individual sponsorships (12%) and fund raising events carried out in Cambodia (9%) and Philippines (3%). The sources of funding for Passerelles Numerique are depicted in the figure below
Figure 1.0: Sources of funds for Passerelles Numerique
Source: Passerelles Numerique (2013)
As indicated in the data above, Passerelles Numerique does not have ventures that could help to supplement the income derived from donations and fundraising events. At the same time, the company relies more on income from institutional donors (companies and individual foundations). However, such sources of finances may dry up during periods of economic crises especially if the performance of the donors is affected (Kensinger & Crawford, 2010). In such situations, Passerelles Numerique may experience difficulties in funding its training programs. Therefore, there is need for Passerelles Numerique to establish more reliable sources of funding through development of income-earning ventures.
Marketing and the Brand
Marketing and branding are major factors that contribute to the success of non-profit organizations. Marketing strategies facilitate any organization to be recognized in a community and to become more visible. In turn, this helps to improve the ability of the organization to attract customers and to improve reputation, funds and other resources (Zhou, Chao & Huang, 2009). This shows the significance of developing effective marketing strategies in non-profit organizations. As Brace-Govan et al (2011) explain, non-profit organizations are in competition with the private sector. Most of the services offered by non-profit organizations are also provided by organizations in the private sector. However, the difference is that private sector organizations are profit-oriented while non-profit organizations do not work for a profit. As such, organizations in the private sector have an added advantage in that they have ability to pay for and come up with innovative marketing strategies (White & Simas, 2008).
For non-profit organizations to be recognized and become visible in a community, they have to develop and implement effective marketing strategies. The challenge of limited resources implies that such organizations need to adopt marketing strategies that are cost effective (Sivaramakrishnan et al, 2008). Fortunately, advancement in technology over the last one decade has lead to emergence in cost effective marketing strategies that can be used by organizations. Precisely, there are numerous social websites today such as Twitter, FaceBook and FunSpace which provide a platform for non-profit organizations to lure customers and volunteers. This is easily achieved through opening an account and feeding it with organization’s details. The details are displayed to a large section of users of the social websites. Only a very small cost is incurred in browsing pages in a social media (Sivaramakrishnan et al, 2008).
One of the key advantages of the social media is that an organization gets a chance to evaluate comments of viewers regarding its products and services in discussion forums (Seymour, Gilbert & Kolsaker, 2006). However, as Romero (2011) explains, non-profit organizations must limit the use of social media. Despite the merits of utilizing the social media for marketing, Passerelles Numerique has not been taking advantage of the social media. The company does not engage in marketing via the social media.
Internet also provides a chance for developing an organizational website, in which all essential organizational information is displayed. The process of developing and maintaining an organization’s website is also inexpensive (Kara, Spillan & DeShields, 2005). Passerelles Numerique has established a website that displays all vital information regarding the organization. The website provides information about the organization’s mission, history, role functioning and contacts. In addition, the website is designed in a manner that allows user to send information to the organization to apply to be a volunteer or a partner (Passerelles Numerique, 2013). As well, it provides access to annual reports for the organization produced between 2008 and 2012. Users can also download brochures and information related to the organization’s board and staff. All information about how the organization has performed since its establishment is also presented in the website. Generally, the use of the website is one of the effective marketing strategies adopted by Passerelles Numerique.
Establishing a strong brand at all levels in which a non-profit organization works can highly contribute to its success. The brand can be an offer or the organization or both. As McDonald (2007) and Sargeant (2005) explain, the brand is a short-hand way of targeting members of a community to influence them to think about the non-profit organization. With time, effective branding makes the work of organization easier. Passerelles Numerique has developed a creative brand that has facilitated an increase in public awareness of the organization. It has achieved this by explaining what it stands for, the promise of the benefits it is going to deliver to the society and its operational values and integrity. Passerelles Numerique has been able to strengthen the brand using unique brand elements such as the logo, symbol, brand name, slogan, and character. Passerelles Numerique presents itself to the community as an organization that cares and provides support to unprivileged young persons in the society. It presents itself as an organization that can help talented children from poor families achieve their dreams (Passerelles Numerique, 2013). For such reasons, Passerelles Numerique has been warmly welcomed in societies where the percentage of young people who are unable to access higher education is high. Therefore, branding has been one of the factors that have supported the success of Passerelles Numerique.
Partnerships, Corporate Social Responsibility and Government Interface
Partnership with other non-profit organizations and with profit-oriented businesses can help to open up numerous invaluable opportunities for a non-profit organization. As Lefroy and Tsarenko (2013) note, partnerships improve the ability of a non-profit organization to access funding as well as knowledge-based resources that help to improve the effectiveness and relevance of programs and services. For non-profit organizations such as Passerelles Numerique which operate training and advancement of workers, access to knowledge-based resources can be critical. For such organizations, the ability to form partnerships with not just other non-profit oriented organizations but with potential employers can be a key determinant of their success (Runte, Basil & Deshpande, 2009). As Macedo and Pinho (2006) explain, employer/business partners can provide new program funding streams, vast job placement opportunities and also workplace service delivery options. Employer/business partners usually posses practical knowledge about anticipated skills shortages and projected areas of employment expansion. Partnerships with employers and businesses can improve the efficiency of non-profit organization by tapping into organization’s in-house management expertise and tools. Therefore, it is essential for non-profit organizations to effectively plan, initiate and expand strategic alliances with employers and business partners.
Passerelles Numerique has developed partnership with numerous profit and non-profit oriented organizations. Partners such as Agence Francaise Development, Steria, Osiastis, Econom, Venture Philanthropists Club, Aldetia and CA technologies have been providing financial support to Passerelles Numerique. Cambodia Airports has been offering scholarships for students being trained by Passerelles Numerique. Partners such as Altedia, Osiatis, stadia and Accenture have been supporting the company through corporate volunteering. Amanjaya Foundation has been working together with Passerelles Numerique to provide training to impoverished young persons in the targeted areas. Devoteam has been assisting Passerelles Numerique in developing knowledge management systems. Generally, Passerelles Numerique has developed a strong network of partners who have been quite supportive. This has contributed to the remarkable success of the organization in its mission.
CSR is essential in all non-profit organizations. CSR in this context can be described as away of integrating social, economic, and environmental concerns into culture, values, decision making, strategies and operations in an accountable manner and hence, establish better practices, create wealth and improve the wellbeing of the society as a whole (Smith, 2011). The principles embedded in CSR theory require individuals, organizations and governments to engage in activities that do not harm or that are beneficial to the natural environment. The theory entails that individuals, organizations and governments should perform their activities in a way that strikes a balance between the welfare of the society, natural environment and economic benefits (Montiel, 2008). The theory therefore suggests that for a society to achieve economic development in the long-term, equilibrium between the three should be sustained. CSR in a non-profit organization can be achieved through adopting activities that enhance economic sustainability, social sustainability and environmental sustainability.
Economic sustainability refers to the use of available strategies or innovation of new strategies that will enhance effective utilization of available resources in order to achieve economic benefits in the future (Wise & Ali, 2008). Passerelles Numerique embraces economic sustainability by attracting and hiring qualified and competent staff and managers who facilitate the success of the organization. By training individuals, the organization expects to benefit societies economically. It is very likely that those individuals who are trained are also going to become useful donors for the organization after they succeed in the future (Passerelles Numerique, 2013). Generally, almost all activities undertaken by Passerelles Numerique are associated with future economic benefits.
Environmental sustainability, on the other hand, refers to engagement in activities or practices which prevent harm or which are beneficial to the natural environment (Nijhof & Jeurissen, 2010). Activities carried out by Passerelles Numerique do not contribute significantly to environmental pollution. At the same time, Passerelles Numerique advocates for the use of renewable resources in place of non-renewable resources (Passerelles Numerique, 2013). Generally, Passerelles Numerique can be said to be an active promoter of environmental sustainability.
Lastly, social sustainability is a concept that contends that healthy social relationships within organizations or societies can only be achieved if ethical standards that guide social interactions are respected. Social sustainability requires individuals, organizations and governments to embrace practices and activities that are not socially harmful or that provide social benefits to all people. The theory of CSR also contends that the kind of policies that are adopted by organizations influence the drive towards embracing ethical behaviour. In other words, the policies influence how managers organize decisions and actions to ensure compliance with moral principles of conduct and established international norms. Orlitzky (2008) argues that values are vital in determining and in defining the way an organization conducts activities and thus, they are of utmost importance. The core values upheld by a non-profit organization influence the way the workers, volunteers and other stakeholders are treated. Working towards achieving environmental and economic sustainability is one way through which the company has attained social sustainability (Siegel & Vitaliano, 2007).
Passerelles Numerique embraces social responsibility in various ways. The principles and values upheld by the organization are described in the organization’s 2012 annual report. To start with, all members of the organization, including staff, managers, donors, partners and volunteers are expected to show respect to one another. As well, they are expected to show respect to students. Secondly, the relationship between the students and other member of the organization are based on mutual trust (Passerelles Numerique, 2013). In addition, the organization emphasizes on professionalism, quality and achievements among the staff and management. Integrity is also emphasized in all dealings within and between all groups within the organization. Other values that are upheld in the organization are responsibility and solidarity (Passerelles Numerique, 2013). Generally, key ethical standards of interaction are upheld in Passerelles Numerique.
The relationship between a non-profit organization and government usually influences its overall performance. As Feiock and Andrew (2006) explain, the relationship between a non-profit organization and the government can be complementary, supplementary or adversarial. In a complementary relationship, a non-profit organization collaborates with government agencies to deliver certain goods or services to the public. In supplementary mode, a non-profit organization supplies public goods or services to fulfill a demand that the government has not satisfied (Feiock & Andrew, 2006). On the other hand, adversarial relationship exists where a nonprofit organization pushes the government to change or establish certain policies related to the supply of public goods or/and services. However, as Van Slyke (2006) explains, the relationship between non-profit organizations and government is much more complex and thus, the aforementioned three typologies do not capture the full complexity and scope of the relationships.
As mentioned, the role of Passerelles Numerique is to provide IT training to a large number of youths in the targeted regions, who are unable to access higher education due to lack of resources. Education is a key priority for the governments of Cambodia, Vietnam and Philippines. However, due to lack of resources, the governments have limited the enrolment for higher education in public institutions to a small percentage comprising of children who get high marks in previous levels of education. Children with parents or guardians who are well up financially are able to access higher education in private institutions established locally and in foreign countries. However, majority of children from poor families may not access higher education and employment. Thus, Passerelles Numerique tries to supplement the demand for higher education to children from poor families, that has not been satisfied by the efforts of governments in countries where it operates (Passerelles Numerique, 2013).
The following is a summary of Passerelles Numerique’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
· Passerelles Numerique is tax exempt
· Has attracted numerous corporate and non-corporate volunteers
· Highly motivated and hardworking workforce
· Has strong volunteer engagement strategies
· Has well trained, experienced and competent board of directors and staff
· High levels of public awareness that has made it much easier for the organization to attract donor funding
· Good reputation that emanates from its effectiveness in adhering to CSR principles
· Strong organizational beliefs and values which support constant innovation and development
· Well established organizational website and brand name
· Passerelles Numerique relies solely on donations and grants to finance its programs and operations. Such sources are not very reliable and may dry up when donors experience financial difficulties.
· The budget problem sometimes extends to limited ability to pay competitive salaries to the organization’s workers, making it difficult to attract some the most trained and experienced personnel
· The organization has limited funds, which affects ability to pay for some effective marketing strategies.
· Advancement in the information technology and emergence of social media sites provides an opportunity for Passerelles Numerique to enhance its public awareness by utilizing the sites
· Passerelles Numerique also earn income from cause marketing by allowing events and corporations to leverage their logo and name in marketing campaigns in return for a profit share or contribution agreement(Kelly & Lewis, 2010).
· Presence of government regulations that sometimes undermine effective performance of non-profit organizations
· Heavy reliance on donations makes Passerelles Numerique to be quite vulnerable to economic crisis. If an economic crisis sets in, most or donors may be adversely affected and they cut back on charitable giving
The SWOT analysis shows that Passerelles Numerique has more strengths than weaknesses. This shows that the internal environment of the organization is favourable. This has highly contributed to the success of the company. Despite this, the organization is exposed several serious external threats. The analysis shows that the organization can make up by establishing strategies to deal with some of the threats and by utilizing the few available opportunities.
Conclusion and Recommendations
In conclusion, the project established by Passerelles Numerique to provide training to children from poor families has achieved great success. This success has been facilitated by a number of factors. As noted, the organization’s HR manager has adopted an effective way of motivating workers by empowering and giving them rewards. Secondly, the HR manager has been successful in engaging volunteers by adopting strategies that help to ensure that they carry out the assigned jobs well and at same time, without frustrating or discouraging them. The success of Passerelles Numerique has also been facilitated by availability of plenty of funds sourced from institutional donors (companies and individual foundations), government agencies, individual donors and fundraising events carried out in Cambodia and Philippine. Further, the success of Passerelles Numerique has partly been facilitated by effective marketing and branding strategies. Ability of Passerelles Numerique to attract useful partners has highly contributed to the success of the organization. The organization has been active in adhering to corporate social responsibility principles. This has contributed in building a good reputation for the organization. In turn, this has improved the ability of the organization to access donations. Finally, the organization has attracted public support since it has been providing a public good that the governments of the countries in which it operates have not been able to satisfy. The SWOT analysis shows that the favorable internal environment of Passerelles Numerique has highly contributed to its success. However, the organization can improve by establishing strategies to address some of the weaknesses and threats and by utilizing the available opportunities. To start with, Passerelles Numerique needs to develop ventures that can provide supplementary income to the donations. This will also ensure that the organization does not encounter difficulties in funding its programs and operations when donor funds dry up. As well, the organization needs to take advantage of development in IT by utilizing social media sites to as marketing tools. Lastly, Passerelles Numerique can consider engaging in cause marketing in order to earn extra income.
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