No matter which way you look, technology is revolutionizing the way people live, work, and play. So much so that it’s changing up the status quo for organizations across all industries and sectors – and nonprofits are no exception.
With billions of people now reachable with the click of a button, and a whole host of technological solutions at their disposal, opportunity is abundant for nonprofits to leverage technology to maximize their impact. However, this is not as simple as it may sound, especially when working with limited funds and resources.
Despite their honorable intentions, nonprofits also must compete with private sector organizations for consumer (donor) time, money, and attention – and they’re all aiming to do more with less. So, how can nonprofits make the most of technology in today’s day and age?
Firstly, if money is a factor holding back your nonprofit from utilizing the latest tech, there are a variety of grants for nonprofits available that can get you the funds you need to kickstart your digital journey. Once you have the resources, you can start using tech to transform your organization in the following ways:
Automation and Scalability
Manual processes are the bane of many small nonprofits. Having to deploy staff members to carry out routine tasks such as data entry, report generation, and customer service can take up valuable time that could otherwise be spent on more value-generating activities. This keeps your charity from scaling as quickly as it could.
By leveraging automation technology, you can free up your team’s time to focus on higher-level tasks and create a more efficient workflow. Automation also ensures that processes are consistently followed, resulting in improved accuracy and fewer errors. Some examples of automation solutions for nonprofits include:
- CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solutions
- Event management systems
- Data aggregation tools
- Accounting automation and financial reporting
- HRM (Human Resource Management) solutions
Data-Driven Decision Making
Data is the lifeblood of any organization, and its use has massive implications for nonprofits. Arming yourself with data-driven insights into how your nonprofit performs across a variety of critical functions can help you squeeze the most out of your resources and really turn your operations into a well-oiled machine.
Data analytics also allows you to track and measure progress against specific goals, such as fundraising targets or program objectives. Furthermore, by identifying patterns in donor behavior and preferences, nonprofits can better tailor their services for maximum impact. This type of insight is something that was previously unavailable to nonprofits prior to the rise of technology, but the rise of SaaS solutions has opened the floodgates for nonprofits of all sizes to gain access to these tools
Better Connections with Donors (Omnichannel Strategies)
Perhaps one of the most significant benefits of the digital age is the ability for nonprofits to better engage with supporters and potential donors. Previously, nonprofits had to rely on expensive outbound marketing initiatives, such as direct mail campaigns or print ads, in order to get their message out. It was either that or hope that their message would be picked up in the press, which was a major long shot.
Nowadays, things like social media, email, web chat and mobile apps are all viable channels for nonprofit organizations to reach their target audiences. By embracing an omnichannel strategy of communication, it’s possible for nonprofits to engage and interact with thousands of donors simultaneously. Not only does this help to nurture existing relationships, it also enables nonprofits to find new donors and spread their message more effectively.
Improve Payment Processing
Believe it or not, accepting and managing payments has long been one of the most challenging aspects of running a nonprofit. In the past, cash was the primary vehicle for donation collection, and this made it incredibly difficult to track funds and donations. Nowadays, only 11% of donors prefer cash, with credit and debit cards being the preferred payment option (54%). While credit and debit cards have been around for decades, they were rarely seen in the nonprofit world due to their associated fees and complexities.
With the advancements in modern technology, nonprofit organizations today have an easier time collecting donations from around the globe. Through payment processing solutions such as PayPal or Stripe, nonprofits can quickly and seamlessly receive payments from their supporters without any difficulty or the burden of fiddling with credit card credentials. Additionally, these platforms provide a central system for tracking all transactions to make sure that funds are properly allocated and accounted for.
Enhanced Collaboration and Resource Sharing with Online Tools
Collaboration is of utmost importance for any type of organization. In the past, nonprofits had to depend on in-person meetings and manual tracking systems to stay updated with one another, which gave rise to many issues that hindered their potential growth. But now, online collaboration tools have made it easier than ever before for all members to work together in real time, regardless of their physical location.
Additionally, cloud-based platforms, such as Google Drive or Dropbox, also allow nonprofits to easily store and share important documents within their organization so that everyone is up to date on the latest developments. This not only streamlines the internal workflow but also allows for better resource sharing with other nonprofit organizations.
The digital era has ushered in a new wave of opportunities for nonprofits to streamline their operations and make the most out of their limited budgets and resources. By being able to instantly connect with donors, volunteers, and other stakeholders in a cost-effective manner, nonprofits are now better equipped to pursue their goals and make an even bigger impact on the world.
That said, digital transformation is no easy task and requires a great deal of dedication and creativity. Nevertheless, if done correctly, these efforts can result in massive returns for nonprofit organizations far beyond the initial investment – making it well worth the effort.