Technology is everywhere: maximizing tech potential for a nonprofit is important and a valuable use of time and energy. Below is a list of ways technology use is evolving for nonprofits, and how you can keep up with, or pull ahead of, the crowd:
1. Collaboration on a Virtual Level: Technology lets you connect with other nonprofit entities to leverage resources, share ideas and “hacks”; see what other nonprofits are doing that works (avoid reinventing the wheel) and to generally increase ability without increasing costs. From sites such as TechSoup that exist solely to facilitate collaboration, to simply leveraging mobile platforms to engage with collaborators quickly and effectively, tech is moving collaboration between nonprofits forward.
2. Data Access and Action:
Data piles up in a nonprofit: donation amounts, actions taken toward your nonprofit’s goals, volunteer information, etc. Are you using it effectively? Could a customer relationship manager (CRM) help you encourage donors to continue giving by tracking their donation habits?
3. Fundraising on the Digital Frontier:
Digital payments on social media are on the rise, and while being connected to your donors in this way is a handy boost to funding sources, take care to learn the legal ins-and-outs of digital fundraising. Mobile platforms for fundraising are also on the rise, as mobile use is on the upswing, and targeting your fundraising efforts toward a mobile-friendly setup can be worth your while.
4. Social Media’s Lower (free) Influence:
Unless you have an advertising budget, your reach on social media is narrowing. Between saturation and the availability of ‘promoted’ posts for a price, social media is either going to become a less-effective way to engage your donors and volunteers, or a more-expensive way to engage your donors and volunteers. That said, email campaigns can be seen as old fashioned, so a balancing act must be performed to reach without getting drowned out.
5. Changes in Volunteer Recruitment:
Millennials give based on how their friends are giving, including time spent volunteering. They’re also more interested in matching their skills to your needs, rather than just filling a seat in your volunteer pool. Volunteer matching platforms are on the rise to help meet the changing face of volunteers, meaning your nonprofit can better connect with volunteers in a way that entices them.
6. Incentivize Volunteers by Using Technology:
Volunteers respond to incentives. Track hours and celebrate their successes! Target email communication so only the volunteers who need the email are on the list; this keeps you from being reduced to background noise. Track your volunteers’ skills and match them with work that interests them. Bringing volunteers to (and back to) the table requires you to give them a reason to show up, and tech platforms exist to make this much easier on you.
7. Cement Your Relationship with Donors and Volunteers:
Increased connectivity through mobile platforms and social media means more engaged donors and volunteers, who better understand your goals and achievements as a nonprofit. Telling your story on multiple platforms, grabbing positive attention, and cementing your vision and mission in the minds of your volunteer base and donor base can all be managed through savvy use of technology.
There you have it, folks. Technology can be a great friend to nonprofits, bringing donations, volunteers, and success in your mission together to give your nonprofit a real edge.