How to Adapt to the Digital Future for the Not-For-Profit Sector

Not-For-Profit organisations are under increasing pressure to innovate to generate better outcomes for their customers, clients and the communities they support. Not-For-Profits need to find new and more efficient ways of sourcing and utilising the funding available. Operating in an ever-changing market requires constant vigilance, but at the same time, Not-For-Profits need to stay true to the vision and values organisations. 

The Not-For-Profit sector operates on tight budgets, so the cost of the latest technologies can be prohibitive. However, effective use of technology can ignite innovation, improve efficiency and deliver better outcomes for the mission of Not-For-Profit organisations.

Create a Platform for Growth

Going beyond back office functionality, a strong operational platform goes hand in hand with integration. An integrated platform that allows the whole Not-For-Profit organisation to view operations as a single version of the truth.

In NetChange’s survey of technology use by Not-For-profits, only 11% view their organisations’ approaches to digital as highly effective. If done correctly, technology adoption isn’t just chasing the latest on-trend software. It is strategically selecting digital tools that empower staff and stakeholders to deliver on the mission of their organisation.

Not-For-Profit organisations are not often associated with competition, and they don’t think they have the potential to fall behind. However, Not-For-Profits are continually competing for funding, for volunteers, and passionate staff. By using innovative technology (from a Netsuite partner for example), to create a platform for growth, a Not-For-Profit organisation can become a strong competitor.

Establish Efficient Volunteer Management

Having an efficient volunteer management plan in place can help Not-For-profit organisations speed up the progress of their operations, achieve objectives, and attract the most talented volunteers. Volunteer management is the process of creating systems for volunteer recruitment, training, engagement and coordination. Due to the diversity of how Not-For-Profit organisations are managed, volunteer management strategies can vary between organisations.

A volunteer management process that relies heavily on spreadsheets can be counterproductive to Not-For-Profits. Manual processes are prone to error and will waste the valuable time of your volunteers and employees. Valuable time that is better spent improving relationships internally and externally that support the objectives of the Not-For-Profit.

Not-For-Profit organisations need to invest in solutions that will streamline the recruitment, communication, and data collection and analysis to reduce the manual management of volunteers. Investing in technology can save precious time by removing manual volunteer management processes, time that can go towards achieving the vision of the organisation. 

It’s Time to Get Out of Survival Mode

When Not-For-Profit organisations get stuck with an old way of operating, they become unwilling or unable to seek out innovation and positive change. Not-For-Profit organisations with a ‘survival mode’ culture focused on purely getting donations in the door often lack the capacity to invest in sustainable growth and innovation. Lack of growth and innovation in an organisation can lead to complacency with inefficient or outdated technology, overworked volunteers and low digital education amongst employees.

Not-For-Profit need to place the donor at the centre of every business decision, who they are and how they prefer to donate. To create the best donor experience, Not-For-Profits should foster digital talent and education, set aside resources for digital planning and strategy, and understand their audience and how to reach them.

Adopting digital into a Not-For-Profits culture will allow them to continually optimise their fundraising activities. With easy access to information on donors, the types of donations people are making, and the effectiveness of programs, Not-For-Profits can deliver value for the communities they support.

Digital Transformation Through Innovative Technology

Not-For-Profit organisations need digital transformation to have better business functions that allow them to become more efficient and profitable. Banks are a great example where digital transformation has resulted in an improvement in customer service and productivity. However, digital transformation can be confusing, as there is no defined path. Not-For-Profits need to adopt innovative technology to challenge their traditional way of operating.

There are a number of benefits for Not-For-Profit who undertake a digital transformation of their organisation:

  • A framework for improved engagement to better understand where the position of their supporters on specific issues
  • the right collaboration tools are available for internal teams and departments, removing information silos
  • volunteers and employees are able to more freely and effectively work with one another to achieve the vision and values of the organisation

For many organisations, the biggest barrier to digital transformation is the budget. Therefore, it is vital for Not-For-Profits to seek outside expertise on what areas of their organisation they should focus on first. Technology can be an amazing tool, transforming the way an organisation achieves its mission and creates a lasting impact in their community.   

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