Technology and digital transformation often feel out of reach for small to mid-size nonprofits, but holistic solutions that are easy to deploy and use can change the game for how these organizations build relationships and support their causes long-term.
Marketing technology, in the form of relationship management tools, holds immense potential to unlock new opportunities for nonprofit organizations (NPOs) to engage a diverse donor base and create sustainable impact. Technology has already revolutionized the way nonprofits operate as charities turn to software for donor management, online fundraising, communications, and collaboration for more efficient operations. Still, while most NPOs recognize the importance of technology to meet their goals, many have trouble implementing it to its full potential.
When it comes to addressing the long-standing challenges NPOs face, relationship management technology is a game changer, especially in terms of leveling the playing field for smaller nonprofits. But the key for adoption in this sector is technology needs to be elegantly simple, easy-to-use, and singular in deployment–meaning one platform can virtually do it all without a nonprofit needing to invest in a complex tech stack. Comprehensive technology (designed with NPOs in mind) that addresses challenges, enhances donor engagement, and unlocks new opportunities to create sustainable impact is what ultimately fosters success.
Resolving Longstanding Challenges While Addressing New Ones
Nonprofits face inflationary pressures causing some to scale back or rule out service expansion even when the demand is there. In fact, staffing capacity, communication issues, and strained budgets are among the biggest internal factors that hinder nonprofit fundraising performance. Fundraiser burnout is also common as the nonprofit sector experiences a persistent gap between demand for services and insufficient resources. From the deaths of aging donors who aren’t being replaced by younger generations to low (even non-existent) board member engagement, nonprofits are up against a myriad of external and internal factors affecting fundraising outcomes.
Automation and data analytics can help fundraisers develop better messaging and engagement with key stakeholders and donors, as well as bolster fundraising potential by enabling NPO staff to focus their energy on fundraising work rather than figuring out how to use cumbersome tech. A predictable and consistent use of a digital engagement solution can help narrow the gap in the sector’s low donor retention rates since organizations can strengthen the relationship building work that is needed for successful fundraising.
Too often, though, NPOs either outright avoid or never really find the solution that can meet their needs. Those that are in pursuit of the best solution to complete their digital transformation, often face higher costs and more complexity – from integration to training. Ideally, tech for nonprofits should help create a seamless experience for staff and alleviate capacity restraints. This is where tech can do a better job.
Nonprofit technology should be used as a means not as a goal, which sometimes means not upgrading your tech stack if that will introduce unnecessary complexity.Adopting a holistic solution can reduce overall friction across business operations by expanding employee capacity, centralizing operations, and boosting decision-making efficiency with AI-backed priority recommendations.
Engaging Across Demographics for a More Diverse Donor Base
With the right technology, nonprofits can engage more with the giving communities, turning donors into volunteers and volunteers into donors. Looking back at the last few years, it’s been a rocky road for the nonprofit sector which had to reassess its donor relationships and adapt new donor-cultivation strategies. Even with a reapproach, NPOs are still feeling the impacts of aging and dying donors, especially in the wake of younger demographics responding to and donating differently.
To effectively engage donors, NPOs will need to develop strategies based on the donor’s life stage. Particularly for younger donor demographics, these organizations need mobile-friendly websites, online giving portals, and personalized messaging.
As nonprofits assess fundraising performance, the growing prevalence of AI-powered solutions in our day-to-day life points to the need for new strategies around re-engagement based on meeting donors where they are. By leveraging insights into donor behavior and preferences, nonprofits can personalize their outreach without increasing cost or compromising quality. Data analytics gives insight into donor behavior and preferences that help NPOs meet donors where they’re at to build stronger relationships and develop strategies and messages that will resonate.
RISE to the Challenge and Create Sustainable, Lasting Impact
In this increasingly digital world, it has become negligent to disregard or discount the power and potential of tech to create long-term and life-changing impact. It is because of this that organizations across sectors have begun to recognize a social responsibility to offer training and resources to be inclusive of all people in the workforce – including those who have been impacted by the criminal legal system, such as RISE, the largest nonprofit organization in Nebraska focused solely on habilitative programming in prisons and reentry support.
When it comes to incarceration to community reentry, “formerly incarcerated individuals are generally pigeonholed to survival jobs,” said McKenzie Ring, Director of Marketing at RISE, who uses the Bloomerang platform to help run operations more automatically and easily communicate with donors and volunteers via multi-channels to fuel the support cycle. “There’s opportunity everywhere but access is not there for so many people,” Ring said.
It takes scale to make more of an impact. Sustainable impact for NPOs in today’s world begins with tapping into the new opportunities created by the support comprehensive CRM technologies provide. From frictionless interactions and accessibility to increased collaboration, an easy-to-use solution alleviates some of the everyday pressures and supports mission-critical goals like increasing individual donor engagement for greater fundraising potential. Such an investment optimizes operations as automation tools help streamline repeatable, administrative tasks while increasing transparency, efficiency, and impact for these organizations. An investment in the best tech for an NPO can mean role transformation for current staff and create a life-changing transformation for future staff.
Looking to the Future
Today’s most successful nonprofits are digital-first – they embed technology into their planning and strategy. Nonprofits should look at leveraging technology as an opportunity to diversify their donor demographics and increase their fundraising potential. Nonprofit technology is evolving rapidly, unlocking new opportunities, and addressing both traditional and evolving challenges faced by nonprofits. As the future of nonprofit technology continues to unfold, it is essential for organizations to continuously assess their needs, without assuming a technology investment is out of reach. With the right holistic solution for an organization’s needs, nonprofits can engage a diverse donor base, improve efficiency, and create sustainable impact – all to ensure they can continuously stay on mission and further their cause.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ann Fellman, Chief Marketing Officer of Bloomerang
As the CMO for Bloomerang, Ann is responsible for the company’s marketing and thought leadership programs to strengthen relationships with the nonprofit community. Ann brings more than 25 years of technology marketing experience, including time at the Minnesota High Tech Association. Prior to Bloomerang, Ann was an independent marketing consultant for B2B SaaS businesses, served as Senior Vice President of Marketing at Code42, and was named one of the “Top Women Leaders in SaaS of 2018.”