They train, consult, advice. Scattered all over Poland, they have been supporting NGOs for many years because they think it important. I mean the Sector 3.0 Mobile Advisors, a group of volunteers whose work these days is becoming more important than it has ever been. About new challenges, plans for the future and technological condition of Polish NGOs we are talking with Coordinator and co-initiator of Mobile Advisors’ Network Filip Jędruch.
- You are one of the first Sector 3.0 Mobile Advisors – the network that you set up in 2012. You know its work inside out. Tell me who the Sector 3.0 volunteers are and what they do.
Mobile Advisors care for civil organizations. They help them solve various technical and technological problems. The range of our specialists and their broad skills allow us to respond to many needs in such areas as marketing and promotion, work organization, organization of work in scattered teams, digital transformation and transfer of services to the Internet, editing of multimedia material, software selection and configuration, social media, or preparing a grant application.
If you want to adapt your activities to today’s pandemic conditions, edit an attractive video, create a strategy of your activities promotion on Facebook or obtain an application in a free version for NGOs we will offer you professional assistance and support at every stage of your action.
We work in the same network and we are guided by the same idea but each of us is different. We are scattered all over Poland and we have various experience. Some of us have always been working for NGOs, others for IT companies, electronic media, culture institutions, still others were teachers or even librarians. For many Mobile Advisors, Sector 3.0 volunteering is also a way of sharing their professional knowledge and experiences gained in their main occupations. Since among us there are expert in marketing, personal branding, graphic designers, IT specialists, journalists; the list of what we offer is really long.
We work with pleasure and are satisfied that we can see changes. We are glad when even the smallest change is achieved. It is worth emphasizing that all our 80 members are volunteers. We work without any remuneration. We have been offering help for years because we believe it is important what we do.
- Covid-19 pandemic has left a mark on many areas of life. What is its impact on everyday work of Mobile Advisors?
The pandemic has obviously restricted some of our activities offline but at the same time it has made us start efforts to improve certain skills of offering online assistance even more. It is also important that we don’t have to persuade people to use new technologies any more. We only have to show them how they should use them best to get the greatest benefit.
Since the coronavirus has locked us in our houses and restricted our mobility all our training and consulting services are offered online. We started with a series of webinars helping organizations and teachers get digital skills they can use for their work and especially for distance teaching. Next there were 3D printers which we would produce shield masks with under the #DrukarzeDlaSzpitali (Printers for Hospitals) campaign. Many Mobile Advisors started also educational activities in the network, creating ad hoc tutorial channels on YouTube, blogs and fan pages on Facebook where they posted numerous links to helpful network contents and resources.
We even managed to hold online our traditional congresses that were always organized in Warsaw and helped us improve our competences, activate and integrate. And most encouraging is that if there is energy and well-motivated team, you can do everything! Undoubtedly, the pandemic is a challenge but we are able to manage even in these conditions. I think that in current situation the Mobile Advisors network proves its usefulness especially well. People need that kind of support when they have to transform their activities and go online.
- What are your plans for the forthcoming months? How will you meet the needs of local organizations?
We have Mobile Advisors who specialize in consulting and those who specialize in training. Out of 80 volunteers this year we selected 20 and prepared dedicated training sessions for them so that they can follow the path of effective online meetings even better. First digital workshops for social organizations will start already in December. We are open to all needs indicated by people, so the range of training sessions is very broad.
Our 20 experts will assist to transfer online those activities that have been carried out offline. The remaining Mobile Advisors will consult online in all hardware, software and other issues. Such technical info-line is very needed in that specific time.
You mean you are learning how to teach online?
It is not an easy task to carry out an engaging workshop. That is why we are geared to building skills in sharing knowledge online and designing educational tools. To plan sensible engaging training session it is necessary to be prepared and have some experience Education and engagement are the two words especially important in the Mobile Advisors’ work these days.
- You are in touch with tens of organizations. Do they need knowledge on digital transformation now more than ever before?
We receive various signals. Some organizations that not long ago thought they didn’t need technological solutions for their work now start to believe they do. Others, smaller NGOs, think they won’t manage to use new technologies – and that is where we go in. There are also big organizations that have somewhat bigger needs. So we don’t look at those who contact us holistically. We always adjust help we offer to the needs of the individual foundation or association. And what is more important, we are always technologically neutral and thanks to that we try to select suitable tools that will help solve a given problem best.
- What shall we wish you in the forthcoming New Year?
My answer will be a bit perverse and paradoxical. I wish the Mobile Advisors that all organizations had such good knowledge and skills that the Mobile Advisors network could cease to exist (laughter).
And what else? You should wish us to have as much enthusiasm as we have had in our everyday work. Hundreds of people have used the network so far. Everybody knows who they can approach with individual problems. We made friends, we have memories and engagement that join us. Our enthusiasm cannot fade away. Without it we will not be able to work effectively.
- Thank you for your time, Filip! I wish you a lot of success in your work! And I would like to encourage all those who have read that interview and felt they need some training for themselves or their organization to send their question to the Mobile Advisors right now.
Filip Jędruch: the coordinator and initiator of Mobile Advisors Network, involved in it since its inception (that is since 2012). A radio journalist, at present a reporter of Radio Gdańsk. Music seeker who hosts DŹWIĘKBRZDĘK podcast. He has been active in Tczew Generations Foundation. He also gives instruction, consults and engages in NGOs at Pomerania. An enthusiast of pop culture. In his leisure time he reads and writes.